Moving on: Saying goodbye is hard to do

Back in 1998, around November, we found Star, our mixed Blue Heeler, at the Humane Society.  We estimate that she was about 6 months old at the time.Friendly and loving from the start, we decided to adopt her.  At the time my children were still in school and living at home. 

Star wasn’t the brightest dog.  We think she may have been injured or abused in the first 6 months of her life.  She did learn to respond to simple commands like “sit” and “stay” and “lay down”.  Her very deep bark was a great security measure for our house.  In the last year, though, her bark had become hoarse and rasp, and sometimes barely audible.  In her early years, she loved going camping and scampering about in the desert.

Star’s favorite thing was being loved and petted (besides eating used tissue!).  As soon as you would start scratching behind her ears, she became jello-like and would flop to the floor while being petted.

Over the past year Star began really showing her age.  She always did have a weird gait to her walk and it became worse more recently.  The past few months especially found it hard for her to get up.  Her hind legs were really affected.  Once she got up and going, she seemed alright.  Until a little over a week ago.

I had slept in a little on a Saturday because of having to stay up late the night before to take one of my children to the ER.  So I was exhausted.  When I got up, Tom informed me that Star was not able to get up to go to her food and when he forced her to get up, she would collapse on the way to her water and food.

It was time to take her to the vet.

We prepared ourselves for this being “the time”, yet somehow there was still a little bit of hope that a shot would fix her right up.  Her appetite was fine.  She was happy.  She never complained.  Ever.

The vet took one look at her get up and attempt to walk and we could tell by the look on his face.  He immediately said it looked like she had neurological problems causing her hind legs to be malfunctioning.  Of course he gave us options, but when we considered the good life she had had, the fact that she was still happy and not in any visible pain, Tom and I looked at each other, and we knew.  The decision to put her down was not an easy one, but the quality of life she was facing was not a happy picture.

As we waited for the preparation, we got to spend a final 20 or so minutes with Star.  She was happy.  We loved her and petted her, told her how much we had enjoyed her in our lives.  Then the nurse came in to take her – we had opted not to be with her when they gave her the shot.  She was able to move with assistance (a towel was needed to hold up her hind legs so she could walk with her front legs while the human carried her hind legs).  And just like that, she was gone.

Not from our hearts.  Star you gave us so many years of joy and happiness.  Rest in peace.


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