Even when you think you’re ready, you know a fur-member of your herd is getting old, you’re still not ready for him to slide down that long slope to the rainbow bridge. Not. At. All.
Bruce, our cocker spaniel, is almost eleven years old. In the last month, I’ve watched him go from a constant-barking, jumping on everything, kind of a pain in the butt dog to a dog who almost never barks, doesn’t sit in the front window seat anymore, doesn’t jump on the bed, whose rear legs go out from under him on a regular basis, seems to be losing his hearing and vision. His back legs shake when he lays down on his side. His face looks a little lopsided to me, and he has old-dog skin tags all over his body. He smells like old dog. He still eats, still drinks his normal amount of water, still wags his tail like that’s his sole purpose in life. But I know we’re on that long road home. And it’s breaking my heart.
He had a small seizure at 3:30 this morning. Spouse was awake and getting ready to leave for work when it happened. It was fast – maybe a minute long. Bruce maintained consciousness, and came out of it quickly, still wagging his tail, and wanting his morning treat. I’ve been watching him all morning, and he’s his normal self. But I know this is the first big chink in his armor. I’ll call the vet when the office opens this morning. We just want to make sure he isn’t in any pain, and make him comfortable for however long he has left. We won’t go all crazy with medications, just keep him happy. And as we’ve done with all our other pets nearing the end, we will wait until he lets us know he’s done.
We’ve had him for ten years. Big Man had just started kindergarten when Bruce became part of our herd. He’s been around for a big chunk of the kids’ lives. It almost feels like Bruce knows the household is going to change in a big way in a few years. I feel like he’s going to usher in the new way of things, bring a dividing line between this phase of life, and the next phase of life.
Keep us in your thoughts the next few days/weeks/months. The kids don’t really remember the last time we lost a pet. And goodness knows, goodbyes suck.