Our little bitty doggie Lily, died, last night. As I have done in the past, I’m going to use my blog to deal with my feelings and write a tribute to her:
We first saw Lily a couple of years ago in the waiting room of a vet’s office, (not our usual vet, but a bird specialist that we had taken my cockatiel, Penny, to).
She was literally skin and bones. She was a stray or abandoned and a couple had found her and brought her in for medical treatment. After that, they were going to try to find her a home as they already had a houseful of dogs.
My hubby had been wanting a little bitty dog to add to our family, and I had agreed that when we saw one who needed us that we would take it home. We immediately looked at each other and knew that this pitiful little doggie was going home with us. On the way home, we stopped at Petsmart to get her a leash. I was afraid we were going to get arrested for not feeding her, she was literally that skinny.
Lily came home with us, and gradually gained weight, and we found out more about her. It didn’t take us long to find out that she was totally deaf. Then, we realized she was practically blind. Our regular vet told us that she was probably at least 13 years old. My hubby and I realized that God picked us to take care of this little doggie and let her live out her old age years in a loving home.
Lily was a Rottweiler trapped in a little doggie’s body. She was only a foot and a half long, but in her mind she was ferocious. She never let her size get in the way of her attitude. But, she had a wide range of emotions. For some reason, this little doggie loved to get trapped, and let her daddy (my hubby) rescue her.
Here she is stuck totally inside all four legs of a stool, waiting for her rescue. Lily loved getting in positions for her Daddy to rescue her. She would (intentionally) get herself stuck in the funniest places. One time, she crawled into my crochet basket and got stuck. She was so cute, and it was just her size, that my crochet basket became her little bed.
Each time she got stuck, my hubby would “rescue” her, pick her up and baby her, saying: oh, did the poor baby get stuck? Well, of course, the "poor baby" learned to get herself stuck more and more often so she could get my hubby to cuddle her on cue. My hubby was wrapped around her little paw. She loved being babied by my hubby, and my hubby was the right man for the job. Lily was my hubby’s baby.
At first, she was a happy little doggie. First thing in the morning, when she felt the best, she would run outside with our other dogs. We called her our bucking bronco. Her front end and back end were so far away from each other that she looked like a see saw, alternate ends going up and down, bucking like a wild horse. She would make us laugh out loud.
Then, one day, she couldn’t get up. All of a sudden, her back end did not work. We took her to the vet and got steroids to hopefully allow her to walk again. But, in the meanwhile, we had to loop her leash under her back end, to hold it up, while she walked with her front legs.
She gradually regained the ability to walk, but she was never the same after that. She never was our little bucking bronco again. Once in a while, we would see one or two bucks when she would try to run, but it was not like it used to be.
Then, recently, Lily started going downhill fast. My hubby and I agonized over what what the right thing to do. In addition to being blind and deaf, she was also now incontinent and confused. She would walk in circles constantly, plus her hair was falling out. I called our vet’s office a couple of weeks ago, and asked about what was right for her, wondering if she was having a happy life. I was told to think about her point of view: What would we want if we were in the same situation?
So, my hubby and I talked about it some more and decided that we would just try to keep her as comfortable as possible and wait for the inevitable.
As she got more and more confused, her circles got smaller and smaller, and more erratic – rather that walk around the whole room, her circles were down to three feet across. It was hard not to trip on her, and the other dogs were frustrated that she did not understand the rules of dog society as she would walk right into them, or across their bed while they were sleeping. They would growl at her, to warn her, but being deaf, it did not help. The situation was difficult.
A few weeks ago, we had to decide to just keep her leash tied next to a doggie bed, for her safety and ours. As she always loved naps, this worked out pretty good. Between walks outside to try to get her to go potty, and breakfast and dinner, Lily was usually on her bed, asleep. At night, she slept in her basket, within reach of my hubby, and during the day, she slept on a doggie bed in the living room, where most of the action is during the day while my hubby is at work.
My hubby and I still didn’t like that she had to be tied up. Sometimes, we would let her have the laundry room all to herself, so she wouldn’t have to be on a leash, but she would just walk in circles until she fell asleep. It was not much of a life for Lily. Still, we worried whether we were doing the right thing. When we take in a pet who needs us, we let it live the rest of its life with us.
I did not feel right about artificially cutting that life short unnaturally. I have had two dogs put to sleep, one who had cancer, and one who became allergic to her own blood. They were both suffering, but I never got over it, and I didn’t want to do it again unless I had to. Lily was confused and confined, but she wasn’t suffering, I reasoned.
But, all in all, we knew she was dying. We prayed that when death came, it would come all at once, so she wouldn’t have to suffer.
So, last night, my hubby put Lily outside to go potty before bed. When he went back out to get her, she looked lifeless. My hubby cried “Please help me” and I ran to see what was happening. We both tried mouth to mouth resuscitation, but she was gone. (When I had my dog, Bo, put to sleep when she had immune mediated hemolytic anemia, I had seen the “light go out” in her eyes. I saw the same thing in Lily. I knew she was gone….)
My hubby and I both get very attached to our pets, some pets more than others. I knew that Lily was my hubby’s baby, so I had to be strong for him. I did not let myself feel any feelings last night. I had to take care of my hubby. I had to be the strong one as we went out in the rain and buried Lily….
Goodbye Lily, we will miss you very much.
Pictures of our short time with Lily:
|Lily in her pink winter jacket checking out the snow in our backyard.|
|Lily enjoying a ride around the yard in the wheel barrow courtesy of my hubby.|
|Lily in the sunshine|
Lily, the bucking bronco, with her ears flying, trying to catch up with the bigger dogs. Belty, black dog, and Nicki with the pointy ears are twice as big as Lily. With Lily in the air, in mid stride, the picture makes her look like one of the big dogs. She’d like that…
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Will Rogers
(edited to add: I looked up when we first met Lily. It was April 28, 2006, so we shared our life with Lily for just under three years. Here’s the blog I wrote when we first met Lily)