Saturday, March 29, 2008

Unconditional Love

I was looking for something in my room a little bit ago and I came across these pictures. These are pictures of my Ellie dog. Patrick brought her home about eleven years ago. He named her Cinder because at the time that was the color of her hair (I think). I called her Cinderellie, Ellie for short. She was the cutest little puppy, part chow, part shepherd, part ?. For some reason, she bonded with me. I think it might have been after her first haircut! You see, her hair never really grew back right after that first haircut. The vet did all kinds of tests to see what might be wrong and there was absolutely nothing that could be found. So often times when the hair would start to grow back in patches, she wasn't the most beautiful dog in the world, except to me. Everyone made fun of her beauty! Through the years, Ellie was always here when I came home from a long, tiring, and tough day at school. She followed me everywhere I went in the house and always sat at my feet. At night, she slept at the foot of my bed. She was never quite put together right and had several surgeries through the years, always coming through with flying colors. She took arthritis medicine regularly. Last summer, she started having trouble getting up on my bed. She completely stopped and would lay down next to the bed. I took her to the vet in September and found that her arthritis had gotten progressively worse. He tried several different treatments and nothing helped. Sometimes when she got up to greet me, she would yelp. It broke my heart! Finally, at Thanksgiving, I knew it was time. It was such a hard decision, but one I knew had to be made. Patrick, Cameron, and I went to take her to the vet. I was able to stay with her until she went to sleep and that is all I could do. Cameron and I left and Patrick stayed. I have her ashes which is something I never thought I would do. I never understood why anyone would pay for that and I did exactly that!!

Our vet has written something very touching on his website about having to make this decision. I am adding it to this blog.

In the beginning we have a puppy or kitten. The giggles, laughing and playing that is done at this stage is awesome. We can shout let’s go and our puppy runs to the car. Here kitty, kitty brings a purring bundle of fur running for a daily treat. At night they may snuggle in, sharing the warmth of their body with you. Life is good.

During the middle years our pet may become more sedate. They like lying down at our feet or in our lap, content to be with us. They have no remote control issues, they just want to share our space and feel our warmth. They are still excited to go bye-bye. They may love to play. They definitely enjoy their treats. We may have changed their diet due to weight gain because we love feeding them treats. Our pet may start to get up slower, walk slower, and have less interest in what they used to enjoy.

At 11 for dogs and 14 for cats our pet has lived approximately 60-70 human years. They begin to experience the full aging process. We may notice they really hate being outside in the heat, struggle to stay warm, seem to sleep all the time, their hair coat may not be as bright and shiny and their appetite may not be as good. Our pet may not see or hear as well as they used to. They may not remember how we potty trained them and make mistakes. We may get frustrated because there is extra care and cost of care involved. We may find ourselves thinking “When will I know it is time to say good-bye?” Contrary to what people think, very few pets die from old age. As pets age they are more prone to illness. Just as in humans, if these diseases are not prevented or treated your pet may suffer. The unconditional love a pet displays everyday is enormous. They can be in pain and suffering and will still attempt to wag their tail when they recognize your voice. When it is time, it is hard for us to say good-bye. Remember, your pet is living in the moment with no specific event such as weddings, birthdays, or anniversaries affecting their need to live a longer life. Their moment is you. That moment is on a daily basis with no future plans that drive them to hang on for just one more day. Allowing our pets to suffer because of age, disease, or lack of care is inhumane. Unfortunately this is not uncommon because we may be afraid to experience the loss of our pet. Many times we delay making decisions because of our own discomfort and loss. When we start to question whether it is time, we already may know the answer.

5 remarks:

velvet brick said...

Simply said, Ellie was the best.
Thank you for posting her picture. I miss her.

Cheela said...

Thank you, Carol!

Susie of Arabia said...

What an adorably sweet looking dog! I know you loved her and miss her very much. The vet's essay is so right. I think we are more humane to our pets by relieving them of their pain and suffering and allowing them to die with dignity. You did the right thing, Cheela.

shello63 said...

I have loved reading the blog of your trip, Sheila. I finally thought I would log in just to comment and let you know how much.

The story of Ellie made me cry. She was a sweet dog, and I remember how much you loved one another. I guess I didn't know she had to leave you in November. I am sorry.

Keep blogging. Your writings are well written and fun to read.

Love ya!
Shelly said...

What a heart wrenching decision - I'm so sorry to hear about this...months later - ugh.