Yesterday was a tough day as Rachel and I had to make a very difficult decision. Lucy, our 9-year old Rottweiler has been rapidly declining in health over the past few months. She had tumors all over her body, her skin was literally rotting away, she would bleed from the irritation on a daily basis, her joints were in very bad shape, she could barely get up from a lying down position on her own any more, and she couldn’t hold her bladder. So Rachel and I decided that it was time to put her down.
We took her in to Doc Freeman (our vet in Perryville) and asked him to put her to sleep. Rachel and I were there with her when he injected her; stroking her ears and petting her fur. She didn’t feel any pain and it was certainly much more difficult on us than it was on her (in fact I’m choking up right now as I type this). She just went to sleep. And then Rachel’s grandpa was kind enough to bury her for us on his property.
The truth is Lucy was as much a family member as she was the family dog. In fact, Rachel and I joked at times that we thought she might be part human. She was so smart and so sweet and so wiling to please. She fetched the paper for us daily (even in her final days . . . that was her job and she never missed it), and most importantly, Lucy filled a very empty hole in our lives while we were going through our infertility problems. Rachel said, “She filled a baby shaped hole in my heart for many years. Had we lost her 2 years ago, it would have been much more devastating”.
We struggled with this decision for a long time (weeks really). We both knew it was coming and by prolonging her life another day, we were really doing an injustice to her. There’s no way she would live another year on her own (probably not another month), so had we not put her down, we would only have been delaying the inevitable; allowing a very pain filled dog to suffer in her final days with a very poor quality of life. The thought of her slipping on the ice in December or falling down our stairs, or worse yet, snapping at Zane (who loves to climb on her) because she was old and cranky and in pain was really too much to bear.
I asked Rachel on Friday night (when we made the final decision) to count how many reasons she could think of that we shouldn’t put her down. We could come up with none other than the fact that it was going to be hard on us. Then when we listed the reasons why we should, the list was too long to post here in full. The real confirmation came when Rachel mentioned her childhood dog, Snoball. Snoball should have been put down long before he died a natural death on the back porch. I guess hindsight is 20/20 and we weren’t about to make that same mistake with Lucy.
We both know it was the right decision. But we’ll certainly miss her. Last night was very lonely as I slept at home alone (Rachel stayed in Perryville with my sister and my parents). There was no Lucy waking me up to go outside and potty or get the morning paper. Then when I left for church, I drove over the paper lying in the driveway that Lucy normally delivers right to our kitchen. I imagine we’ll cancel our subscription now – Lucy’s about the only reason we kept paying for the Southeast Missourian.
Anyway, I really do mean it when I say she was the best dog a person could ask for. I put a lot of work into training her as a puppy, but she gave us so much back in return. Below are a few of our favorite pictures of Lucy through the years.