I was wandering through old daylogs written by a few folks and ran into one of mine right below the one I was reading at August 6, 2001. It's weird to see some of these old posts, but this one hit me as particularly weird because I called my dog a moron.
Pwcca died a couple of months ago (March 13, 2014). He lived a good life, and we got to enjoy his company for about as long as nature allows us to. My wife tells me that he was fourteen, but that number just doesn't strike me as correct. It seems both too short and too long, but here I'm reading a node talking about something he had done thirteen years ago, so it's probably the right age. She's better about these things than I am.
I do miss my shadow, he would follow me everywhere. I work from home, and everyone else leaves the house for various activities, so we spent a lot of time together.
He had gone deaf and perhaps a little senile, and so he wasn't as good about being unobtrusive as he followed you, but he was such a good dog for all of his life that you would kind of smile as he got confused and stopped in front of you, to look up to see if you were still there.
He had so many problems, though. His teeth were bothering him, he was starting to go weak in his legs and have difficulty in walking on the linoleum, or going up the step from the back yard into the house. What finally made us realize that he was suffering badly, though, was in the middle of the night before his last, he had a horrible looking seizure. After he stopped, he was confused by seemed mostly ok, so after a few hugs we tried to sleep through what was left of the night. But, in the morning, he had another, so we took him to the vet where they explained he had huge growths in his mouth, that were pushing his teeth in, and probably putting pressure on his brain. He had other problems too, and the chance of him surviving the surgery was low.
When we were poor, we paid dearly for surgery that enabled him to walk again. We did not have the money, and originally they wanted THOUSANDS for this complicated surgery. We must have looked desperate or something, because the vet explained that since he was so young, they could do a less optimal surgery and he had a good chance, because he was strong and healthy. I think we still probably paid a couple thousand, but we borrowed from my father-in-law and we scrimped, and managed to it... and he was fine, apart from having occasional difficulty with his back legs.
Now we're not nearly as poor, and he just didn't look like it would be enough. They explained how we could put him through various types of surgery, but what sort of life would he have left? He was still our beautiful buddy, with just a little grey on his muzzle. He was still happy, and still very obviously being brave to be a good pack mate. The right answer didn't seem to keep him alive through these seizures, and possibly worse.
My daughter (who is an adult of 20 now) wasn't able to come with us to the vet, and I think she is over it now, but she was very upset about it at the time. We called her to tell her that I don't think the vet would be able to stay open long enough for us to go get her, bring her back, and so on. We had gotten there later than they normally were open on that day, so they were being patient with us as it was. So, we told her what happened and explained that she probably was better remembering him without seeing him die.
When Pwcca received the injection, he was very calm and lovable. The vet was wonderful, since she got on the floor to inspect him, and care for him, despite being in a leg cast. He was too upset about going up on the table, and I felt too bad to lift him despite that.
When he received the injection that put him to sleep, though, he was calm and licked the vet tech's face. He died being pet by three people, and I hope that he knew... well, whatever, something. I hope he did.
I still miss my shadow.