There's a huge Husky-shaped hole in my heart. On Wednesday morning, I had to say goodbye to my Sasha girl.
Last year on November 23rd, my vet told me that I had a year until Sasha's hip fell apart--there wasn't anything that could be done to save it. And on Wednesday, exactly one year to the date, that prophecy came true.
Tuesday night, I took Sasha for her walk around 11:00 and she was pulling me like a sled in the Iditarod, as usual. We got back home and she was her normal happy-go-lucky self--pawing me for attention, begging for treats, and smiling her big wolf-puppy smile. I let her out around 1:00 am, then gave her a Rimadyl, Glycoflex III, Prilosec, and chicken jerky treat when she came in a few minutes later. Finally satisfied, she laid down on the tile floor next to the wine cooler, her usual late evening cool-down spot, and took a nice long nap.
Around 3:30 am, I called her to come to bed. She didn't come--nothing new, as she had a definite mule-like stubborn streak. I called several more times and still nothing. Then I heard her cry and my heart dropped.
Instantly, I just knew. And while I spent a few minutes trying to convince myself that maybe she was just a bit sore, deep down I knew it was time. She tried several more times to get up, and after the second time she was screaming in pain. I've never heard a dog scream before and I hope it's something I'll never hear again. I pulled some clothes on, grabbed her hip X-rays, and somehow managed to pick her up and carry her to the car.
I'm thankful that I had those X-rays, as it meant Sasha wasn't subjected to a long, drawn-out physical examination, consultation with the vet, etc. I just wanted to take her pain away as fast as possible. Luckily, the vet on call was very understanding; in fact, although they usually don't allow owners to stay while the IV is being put in, he asked me to stay with Sasha and comfort her. For that, I'm extremely grateful--I stayed by my girl's side every second until the very end. I looked into those gorgeous blue eyes and rubbed her ears and told her that everything was going to be okay, and she peacefully slipped away.
It kills me that I couldn't fix her. It kills me that she was a young, healthy dog brimming with life, and yet her body fell apart because her previous owners didn't do right by her. It kills me that I only got a year and 8 months with her.
And yet, as hard as it was to lose her, I would do it all over in a heartbeat. That year and 8 months were perfect--Sasha was a special dog and I'm lucky for every second that I had with her. She was a sweetheart, brimming with personality. Literally everyone who walked into my house fell head-over-heels in love with her--probably because that girl was all heart. In fact, on Wednesday morning the vet asked me why I had brought her in then, what was different. I said, "She couldn't get up." He seemed confused and asked, "But hasn't she not been able to walk the whole time you've had her?" Based on her X-rays, he said he would not expect her to be able to walk. And yet, that dog would tear around the yard like a bat out of hell, wrestle with other dogs, and play like a puppy. She could jump up on my bed, crawl onto the couch and armchairs (usually to get into someone's lap), and hop in and out of the car. And she did all that without a whimper or cry or limp, and always with a smile on her face.
I know that letting her go was the kindest thing I could do for her. But that certainly doesn't make it any easier. I miss her big, goofy, happy self nudging me to get out of bed, greeting me at the door like she hadn't seen me in a year, lying next to the treat cabinet giving me the "I'm starving" look, and pawing me for belly rubs. I miss her annoying-yet-endearing car ride antics of hopping in the front seat and then constantly changing the radio station, unclipping my seat belt, putting the car in neutral, and completely blocking the rear view mirror with her giant wolf head. I miss waking up in the morning and looking over my bed to see her lying upside-down with her eyes rolled back in her head and her tongue lolling out of her mouth. I miss every single white and grey and black hair on her body and those piercing blue eyes.
Sweet dreams, little love. You will be sorely missed, but I'm sure we'll meet again.
*Everyone, please hug your puppies today.*