“Oh Daisy-Girl, it’s OK,” I croon. Her eyes squint with worry. She has squirmed herself off her towel-covered bed, off her rubber mats, into the middle of the polished pine floor where she lies like a beached whale in a pool of urine, her legs and belly soaked.
“Ok, Daisy-Girl, I’ll help you,” I singsong in the voice she loves. Her tail does not wag. I put my arms around her waist as I often do and lift. She squeals. I try another position. She whimpers and cringes. I can’t leave her in the middle of the hard floor, so I slide a towel under her and pull her toward her rubber mats hoping she can get footing. She moans as I inch her 60 lb body across the floor and onto her foam bed.
I’ve been keeping this sweet old girl going for over a year now even though she has no bowel control and can barely walk. Daisy was my live-in friend through Vic’s illness and death, walking with me, staying close, easing my grief with her companionship. Until today, Daisy enjoyed her crunchies, got excited about visitors, and enjoyed sniffing around the front yard on warm days. Until yesterday, she got out the door with my help, but we’ve crossed the divide.
Thirteen years ago, my husband Vic and I drove a hundred miles to get a chocolate Labrador puppy. When we got to the home of the backyard breeder, the chocolate Lab mother was emaciated from nursing her seven pups. A robust yellow Lab mother nursed her own creamy litter of eight along with the seven chocolate pups. When the yellow mama pushed a stick into my hand and begged me to throw it in the pond, I knew we wanted a pup whose mother had that kind of vitality.
That day, I sat on the floor next to a pile of fourteen snoozing puppies in their milky haze. One yellow pup sat apart from the others and watched me. When she yipped and nibbled my toes, Vic and I said yes to Daisy, our sturdy strong wildflower.
After dragging my old girl back to her bed, I understand that she is not getting up again, no matter what I do to help. I’ve been saying not yet for over a year, but now it’s time. I call the vet
“I can euthanize her at your place tomorrow morning,” my vet tells me. I’m relieved. Daisy and I will share one last night.
For more about bereavement, please go to the bereavement section of my website.