Our good dog and best friend, Maggie, was put to sleep yesterday after her fourth bout with pancreatitis. We hoped she would rally like she had in the past. And for a while she did. And then she did not.
The house feels empty. We see reminders of her everywhere. The pill sheet. The box of toys. The piles of blankets we stacked everywhere on every floor, and all the water bowls, so she could sleep and drink wherever she chose. The kid-gate we bought just last week to prevent her from climbing the stairs unaccompanied.
Maggie’s pill reminder sheet. We stopped trying to give her pills Sunday night. Five days later we put an end to her suffering.
With Wifeberg in NYC last weekend, through Monday morning, Maggie and I visited friends in South Jersey. Maggie was healthy. Happy to walk, just … slowly. On one of her last walks she nabbed some random food or poop thing. Could that have been what got her sick? It doesn’t matter.
A big Maggie fan, who wanted to be part of every walk.
And we had a nice long walk Sunday morning. I’m not giving details, but we had a scary incident which only later did we realize was an early warning sign.
Later that night things took their turn for the worse.
Monday through Thursday were the same: visits to the vet, hydration, carrying her outside, offering her food, and looking for signs of improvement. Wifeberg closed in the living room with the plastic gate, and someone was with her all the time. Someone slept downstairs with her every night, some nights both of us, up every two hours to carry her outside to make her peeps.
This was Thursday. I thought that was the day we were going to do it, so I asked Wifeberg to take this photo. The vet suggested we try one more day. Friday we rushed to the vet and neither of us had our phones. Not that I wanted more photos.
Wednesday night started to see some bad signs: she threw up water all night. (She had long passed wanting to eat.) The vet suggested one more round of treatment, along with a nausea suppression. We expected some improvement by Friday.
The improvement didn’t come.
On Friday morning we knew it was time. At 9AM Wifeberg dropped me at the front door to the vet’s office. I carried Maggie inside while she parked the car. We sat by her side the whole time, giving her pets, telling her stories, and saying thank you. By 9:45 she was gone.
“Are you a hugger,” I asked the vet? “Because I’m a hugger.” I learned my vet’s office has a lot of huggers.
Many of you understand the kind of love we shared. We were a family of best friends.
It’s sad. We’re sad. But we know how lucky we were. How lucky we are.
I don’t have a graceful ending here. And I’m tired of editing this post. And if you’re sad, please don’t be. Because we had the greatest dog there ever was. And they were the best 11 years of my life.
“It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them.
And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart.
If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.” (source)