Preparing to Say Goodbye to a Good Friend

Sometimes when were sitting on the couch and our three cats are happily snoozing on our laps and our dog is contently stretched out across her dog bed, we’ll comment on how amazing it is that people choose to invite animals into their house”¦and how much we love them in spite of the snags and spots in the carpet.

So it’s a sad day for us when it becomes apparent that one of them is coming to the end of its life.

On the way home from our walk on Saturday, our 11-year-old German shepherd, Xena,  tweaked her hips as she turned to greet another dog. Her right back leg gave out from under her and she couldn’t regain any strength in it. Taking a few steps at a time, she was able to wobble slowly back home.

We were lucky to be able to get an appointment with the vet later that morning and as the vet explained it, there is inflammation surround some nerves so basically, she doesn’t have feeling in her legs and that’s why she can’t get them underneath her. Also, as is common in shepherds, she has always had bad joints and there is degeneration because of her age. We left with some anti-inflammatory medication that might or might not improve her condition.

We are thankful that for now, her appetite is good and she doesn’t seem to be a pain. It’s just painful for us to watch her move with such extreme difficulty.

We’ve never been through this process with a pet who has been such an important part of our family. Tears were shed when my daughter’s two pet rats died, but we didn’t feel much of a loss when the numerous fish and fire-belly toad came to the end of their lives; I find it a lot harder to feel a connection with a creature that doesn’t have fur to stroke.

We want to do the right thing for Xena so I’ll be calling the vet tomorrow to get some advice. In the meantime, all we can do is look into her brown eyes and tell her the truth, “You’re a good dog.”

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