My doggie died

I know it’s not really news that interests anyone but me, but our 15-year-old puppy Gretchen passed away last week and I’m really bummed about it.

She was a gorgeous black-and-tan German shepherd mix (mixed with a terrier, I think, or some other digging dog, based on the number of ankle-snapper divots she put in the back yard). We had one big health issue with her six years ago which ended when a surgeon removed a mass the size of a softball from her liver. She was fine after that (besides some arthritis) until about two months ago when she decided to stop eating. We changed foods, which helped for a while, but two weeks ago she had gone so obviously downhill that we took her to the vet. That’s where we learned she was suffering from severe kidney failure.

We tried a few things still, in hopes it would perk her back up. The vet gave her an infusion which didn’t really do much except make her pee uncontrollably. She continued to decline to the point where she wouldn’t stand up on her own accord. Donna in particular saw that Gretchen was miserable, and tired, and probably in pain. So we talked with the vet and decided it was time to put her to sleep.

Neither Donna nor I ever had to make that decision before. It’s something I’ve been dreading since Donna brought this little black puppy with too-big paws home from school 15 years ago. I’ve had dogs before, much earlier in my life, and when they died it hurt so much I semi-convinced myself that I wouldn’t put myself through all that again. But here she was, and she was too cute to say no. I fell in love right then and it only grew over the subsequent years. Oh sure, she barked under the bedroom window until 5 a.m. a few times, and dug up Donna’s garden, and broke a few things, and chewed up a few more things, and had a tendency to jump all over people (especially with muddy paws). But we loved her, and we loved her so much that in the end we let her go rather than let her continue downhill in pain and confusion and malaise.

It hurts. I can’t lie. I know some day it’ll be better, but right now it’s a spike through my mind.

Good night, pup. Good girl.

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