Monday was the summer solstice, the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. It was also the day we lost our best friend, Daisy. I’m sorry if you are tired of reading about this event. If you are, there are lots of blogs full of hot stories. I need to say a few more things. Back to business tomorrow. I promise.
If you aren’t a dog person, you probably can’t understand why losing our pet hits us more profoundly than when our parents died. Mrs. Lion suggested it was because Daisy didn’t want us to know what she was feeling. Her single goal was to be with us as long as she could. Dogs have no concept of the future. They have good memories, but they don’t understand tomorrow. Even if she could have visualized a way for the pain to end, I’m sure she wouldn’t have chosen it.
That’s what makes it so sad. All she wanted was to be with us. Even when she hurt so much that she couldn’t eat or drink, she made sure to find a way to get next to me for ear scratches and pets. At the worst of it, she forced herself to lie down next to me and rest her head on my hand. I knew she was suffering. We had trusted a local vet to help her. They didn’t even deal with the most obvious issues that we could see. I gave them a one-star Yelp review to try to help others avoid them.
We couldn’t get her help on Saturday. The emergency vets were booked solid. The same was true on Sunday. We got more insistent and got her into the best one in this part of the country. They made her comfortable and did lots of tests. I know she was sad. They sent us a picture of her on Monday morning. She looked sad and uncomfortable.
On Monday afternoon, they had finished tests and specialist consults. Daisy’s hips were inoperable. Blood work showed her to be healthy otherwise. Then the worst news. Her pupils were unequal. This is the sign of a stroke or other brain injury. I was still willing to bring her home if she could get pain relief. Sadly, there could only be partial relief. It would be very hard for her to live anything like a normal life.
There was no other choice. I don’t feel bad about deciding she needed to be put down. I feel horrible that she suffered so long. Our little dog was willing to endure the worst pain just for some ear scratches and pets. We spent her last moments with her. She came into a room at the hospital on her own paws. It was obvious it hurt horribly. She did her best to stay still for kisses and pets. She couldn’t. She paced. That was what she did at the worst of her pain.
We kissed her goodbye. Both of us were crying. Daisy wasn’t too aware of us. I’m sure she knew we were there. The vet gave her a sedative. She laid down on a blanket on the floor and went to sleep. The vet gave a drug to stop her heart. I saw the life disappear from her eyes. She never closed them. I never felt worse in my life. I would have gladly traded places with her.
We got Daisy as an 8-week-old puppy. She came into our lives just two weeks after our 16-year-old golden retriever Lilly passed away. We comforted ourselves by imagining that Lily’s spirit was still with us. When Daisy got herself in trouble, Mrs. Lion would ask Lily to help her. To our surprise, Daisy stopped that behavior.
Just before Daisy died, Mrs. Lion said, “Daisy, look for Lily. She’ll help you find your way.” That is the saddest thing I ever heard. Tears are running down my face now. I really hope that Daisy found Lily. One day, I hope I will find them both.