Selasa, 10 Mei 2011

Goodbye, Annie

We were forced to put down our little female Chihuahua, Annie, yesterday. I don’t have to tell animal lovers what a sad and painful day it was. After my wife and I had to put down our male Chihuahua, Elvis, four years ago, I swore I could never witness euthanasia again. The death of Elvis left me saddened for many months. The poor little fellow was racked with epilepsy and could hardly walk, but watching him pass broke my heart even though, as responsible pet owners, we knew his quality of life was painful and dismal.

Annie, on the other hand, was not crippled physically, in fact quite the opposite. She paced incessantly around the house, barking at shadows and sometimes sitting and staring at what we could only guess were ghosts. During walks, Annie was afraid of everything from diesel trucks to dust blowing in the wind. Annie was our Prozac dog, which was prescribed for her after repeated and sometimes violent attacks on our Pomeranian. Mittsy is 14 years old and hardly prepared to fight back with few teeth, poor eyesight and loss of hearing. Annie got along well with our male dogs, and if she wasn’t licking them she was licking our bed covers. The drug was effective in curtailing the attacks and Annie would sleep through the night oblivious to the world unless there was wind, rain or thunder. During these times we would have to give her extra Prozac just to keep her from climbing the walls. Annie was also a very finicky eater and during bad weather she would not eat at all.

About two months ago, Annie’s behavior became more bizarre. She started eating any food put in front of her with abandon, but she was also losing weight at an alarming rate. She started pacing the house twenty-four/seven and could not settle down or sleep and began having bowel movements and urinating in the house. When we took her to the vet yesterday she had lost over two pounds in two months and her hip bones were showing like she was being starved. Annie was never a lap dog, but now if you even came close to her, she would yelp like she was being stepped on.

During our visit with the vet yesterday, it became apparent that Annie was no longer living a normal dog life and that there was some kind of mental disorder going on. Putting her to sleep was the only option left. Drugging her with Prozac and Valium into oblivion was not an option. After the vet administered a sedative to Annie, she was handed to me and instead of resisting as usual, she cuddled in my arms and fell into the most peaceful repose. It was the first time since Annie came into our lives that she allowed anyone to hold and cuddle her. The vet said it would take perhaps ten minutes or so for her to sleep, but instead, she fell asleep the minute she reached my arms. During the time she fell asleep and the vet returned to administer the final injection, I held Annie while my wife and I cried wishing there were a magic pill that would save our precious Annie’s life.

After our little dog passed, we left the building and sat on a bench outside grieving with the intensity you would think would be reserved for human loved ones. That, of course, is the real issue; our pets become family, our children to be precise, and we love them unconditionally and unabashedly. Oh, if only they could live as long as we do. We would only have to grieve once, instead of every 14 years or so….

Write on,


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