Our sweet pooch has lived the life. 18 years of the good life.
Lance did the math, that's equivalent to 126 human years, so they say.
She was, first, my sisters dog. Picked from a liter of golden graham colored pups.
She lived with Anne for 5 years.
Then, she lived with me and my oldest, Lance for nearly 5 years.
We cared for her and she cared for us, protecting our home and greeting us each day.
Lance and I took her on many walks through parks and trails of the James. She loved a good squirrel hunt and never feared the river rocks or a quick dip.
When we moved to Hawaii with Lucas it became my parents turn to care for her.
(little did we know, Lucas' orders would bring us right back just a year later)
There she played endless hours with their dog and wore her path into their backyard.
Literally, Poochie Girl wore out a path, a straight line, in whoever's yard, she lived. She may have suffered from an array, that can't be diagnosed or explained in her latter years, but one things for sure, she was OCD. She's always had "her path" and she stuck to it, no stray.
Until Sunday. She strayed and didn't come back. We found her at the animal control center.
Someone had found her "sunbathing" in their backyard, worried she was hurt or failing, they called for help.
Lance and I drove to the center excited and overjoyed to bring Pooch back home.
We spoke with the county workers and asked them the question my family has discussed endlessly...
"How do you know when it's time to let your dog go?" The workers confidently said, "you just know."
We walked on, to the car, and lifted Pooch into the backseat.
To my surprise, she didn't have the strength to sit in my backseat against the force of my driving.
We made it hardly 20 yards and on the second roll into the floorboard, called my parents, owners of a Tahoe, to come for help. It was sad. Very sad.
Lance and I sat with Pooch in the grass.
We bundled her in a blanket and talked with her telling her everything was ok.
She had been through so much in this day and simply couldn't do for herself anymore. In the time that we waited for my parents, it became a peaceful decision, that it's now the time for her to pass on.
Pooch is like a great grandmother, if you will.
She's touched the lives of mine, my sister and my brothers and has been prominent in my oldest sons life. We've watched a playful dog become old and tired but she never stopped showing her joy in living. She's become old and a bit delirious but she knows her loves. And she loves to love. We let her come and go in her sweet, slow pace always staring in awe of the miracle that she's still ticking through another year.
In her 18 years she has never been as helpless as today. She's worn her self out.
I explained to Lance that sometimes God hands us the decisions to make.
I feel at peace with this decision. It's come as a great help to my parents who have gone in circles with their thoughts and worried for us children.
Pooch has lived a good life.
She's taught many puppies "the rounds". And taught my oldest son a very strong lesson.
The passing of something you love is a difficult time, even a family pet can cause deep grief.
For a tween to process through this is difficult. Our circumstances of choosing a day makes this even harder for him.
Being a pet owner is a tremendous commitment.
If and when you find yourself in the position of deciding if your pet needs to be put to sleep you may find comfort in talking with as many people and doctors as possible. My entire family and I have been doing this for a year now. We've watched Pooch fade over the last few years and know beyond a shadow of doubt that we are doing her no favor by allowing another day of discomfort.
It's a heartbreaking decision but if not tended to, the dogs happiness is at stake, solely by the owners selfishness. The woman was right when she said "when it's time, you know".
Much of Pooch's story has been left out of this post but if you worry or doubt for any reason, please don't hesitate to ask or comment.
We've made this decision as a family after much time and prayer, now finally at peace with moving forward, memories in tact.