We had Lily for over 11 years. Our daughter brought her home from the Animal Shelter where we found our last dog, Mickey. Mickey made it with us for 18 years. The last two was our "hospice" work, taking care of a very sick animal that had no quality of life. And it came full circle again with Lily.
She had been sick and we feared she had Cushing Disease. It was confirmed by the doctor and they prescribed medication for her. Well, the script was written vaguely: "Twice two times daily" which would mean four a day, correct? Well, after three days on this stuff, she couldn't walk. She was peeing all over the place and couldn't eat. Back to the doctor we go. They kept her for four days, correcting what the meds messed up in her already-fragile system. We had her home for a day and returned her for blood work. Still messed up! Now she was anemic!
While sitting at the Vets office, we met this nice lady with red eyes in the waiting room, Mrs. Angelo. She was euthanizing her little 13 year old dog that morning. We saw how sick her animal was and what her fate would be that morning. Consulting with the vet, we asked if there was any way Lily could have returned to a healthy lifestyle. He said the life expectancy of a lab mix was 9-12 years. At that point, we made the decision to send her to her heavenly rewards, the Rainbow Bridge, they call it.
It was no easy decision. We cried and cried, holding her beautiful lab head, murmuring to her how much we loved her and thanking her for her years with us. We called our daughter before the "act" and she couldn't be there. I was sad for that but if we had another moment, it wouldn't have happened! We watched her go and held her for a few minutes longer. She looked quite peaceful--the best we had seen her in a while.
I know she loved us as much as we loved her. She was a great, great dog. She loved to run in the park, go for car rides and just be by our sides. She used to sleep on a chair next to my bed and her face was the first I saw every morning and the last before I went to sleep.
The last night she was home, I slept downstairs with her. She couldn't make it up the stairs to our bedroom. I slept on the couch with her bed next to me. Neither one of us slept much. At one point, the cat, Marvin, must have seen me dosing off because he jumped on top of my leg and took a huge bite out of it, scaring the heck out of me! Marvin loved Lily even though she didn't want too much to do with him.
We will have a little memorial service for our Lilydog when the family is gathered at Christmas. Till then, I have her bed, her collar and a picture of her as a pup in our living room. We will never forget her and know her spirit is still there, looking for scraps on the floor, watching for the squirrels outside and waiting for one of us to say "Car, Lily?"