Oh, my aching heartYears ago, when a friend’s dog began having accidents and losing cognitive ability, I told my husband we couldn’t let that happen to our Daisy.
By: Angela Langworthy, Staff columnist, Rosemount Town Pages
Years ago, when a friend’s dog began having accidents and losing cognitive ability, I told my husband we couldn’t let that happen to our Daisy. When it did, I put off the inevitable, saying, “She’ll get better.” But her last few weeks felt like an avalanche as our 13 and a half year old Lhasa Apso began to fail even more. She woke us at 3:30 every morning, unable to wait any longer to go outside. One night, we heard her whimper; she’d fallen down the basement stairs. More than once, a trail of puddles had her hiding her head in shame. One morning, walking at a tilt, she ran into me.
“She can’t see,” my husband said as he carried her outside and down the steps so she could do her duty. The veterinary ophthalmologist agreed. Years ago, a bacterial infection in her eye led to a cornea graft. Ever since, that eye required constant care: drops, salves, and special treatment at the groomer so the hair dryer didn’t irritate her eye. There was scar tissue, too, that could require surgery. We feared she wasn’t strong enough.
My husband says Daisy’s in a better place now. I’m not sure. She had a good place right here. She drank bottled water, ate food that didn’t trigger her allergies. Her pills were ground into organic applesauce and she loved her treats, frozen organic peas. Every room in the house had a fluffed up bed sheet on the floor so Daisy would have a comfy place to curl up when she got tired. Saturday nights, we laid a king-size blanket over our bed and lifted her “up-up-up” so she could snuggle with us and watch Saturday Night Live.
When we made the appointment with the veterinarian, we told ourselves it was just to talk; to find out our options. But we knew. The vet left us alone to make our decision. Right away, my husband walked over to the jar of doggie treats on a shelf. We’d never let our dog have one before because we didn’t know the ingredients. “Why not?” my spouse asked as she gobbled it up. The “cookie” as the technician called it, put a smile on Daisy’s face. By the time the tech had her prepped, Daisy was on her sixth cookie, her eyes pleading for more, and her tail wagging like a 2-year-old’s. “This is more pep than she’s had in a long time,” my husband said. A sugar high, we agreed. The staff left so we could say good-bye. We took turns holding her face in our hands. Told her we love her. Thanked her for being such a good, sweet girl. We asked her to understand. And gave her more cookies. When the doctor returned, she wondered if we needed more time. Years more, I thought, but said we were ready. She stuck the needle in the tube. Daisy laid her head on her front paws, closed her eyes, and passed on with the same dignity with which she lived.
When I told my son that Daisy was gone, I asked what he’d tell his children. He said he’d tell them Andrew, his best friend who passed away, needed a dog and Daisy went to be with him. Later, he told me his youngsters were sure that when the time comes for Grandpa and me to go, Andrew will share Daisy with us. That must be why it’s called “a better place.”