Final Act of Love – Part 1

On Tuesday, December 18th, I said goodbye to the best friend I’ve ever known or expect to know. Dudley had been failing and I knew the end was approaching when he couldn’t go down the steps from the deck into the backyard several days earlier. That Monday, I made an appointment for Dr. Susan Kinsey of Pet House Calls to come by the house on Tuesday to take a look at Dudley. She always brings liver treats, so Dudley was happy to see her.

The first thing she had said to me was Dudley wasn’t the same dog she saw several months earlier, he looked like an old dog. She talked about Dudley’s “quality of life.” He was “mobile”, but only in the strictest sense of the word. Each day he was having more trouble walking and it was only a matter of time before he wouldn’t be able to go down the front steps. His “appetite” was okay, not great, but he was eating. The only changes in his ability to “breathe” was he snored more than he used to, so that part of his life was good. Then there is the “pain” aspect in quality of life and I knew Dudley was in pain, but we talked about the possibility of acupuncture.

My favorite picture of Dudley, he was about a year old here.

My favorite picture of Dudley, he was about a year old here.

She also talked about Dudley keeping his dignity and although it might seem funny to think about dignity in a dog, Dudley was a very proud creature. The previous Saturday night a friend stopped by and Dudley was having trouble getting up from the tile floor in the kitchen and I told her we had to go into another room because he wasn’t going to struggle in front of us. I also remembered he growled when we tried to help him — that was an indicator of pain, because Dudley never growled at anyone in our home and Jeneane was an old friend. A happier image of proud Dudley is how he would preen after he would get his summer hair cut, although that was probably more vanity than pride. Dogs, as well as people, deserve to keep whatever dignity they can when they die.

Even at that point of our conversation, I hadn’t made any definite decision as to “when” but Dudley again struggled to get up off the tile floor in the kitchen. We put pieces of a rug pad under his paws and went into the other room and a minute later he came in and plopped down on the rug. Dr. Kinsey wanted to feel his belly and as we went to put Dudley in a different position, he snapped at me. Dr. Kinsey said that changed everything, he had to be in extreme pain and snapping like that was his way of protecting himself. I asked about her schedule and we discussed waiting until Thursday, but now that I knew how severe his pain was, I asked if we could do it then. She asked me if I was prepared to let Dudley go and I told her I sort of was ready. As ready as I could ever be.

Dudley and Zoe, together again.

Dudley and Zoe, together again.

The night before, I had snuggled with him on the floor and combed him for about 45 minutes while he slept. We spooned and he seemed really relaxed and I just cried. I was pretty sure at that point he wouldn’t make it to Christmas. So I told Dr. Kinsey I was ready then. We went back into the kitchen and I told Dudley how much I loved him and what a great friend he had been. He ate a handful of liver treats while Dr. Kinsey gave him a sedative, he remained conscious for about a minute then went to sleep. After 10 minutes or so, he received the second injection. It was all very peaceful, he never moved or gasped for breath. He spent his last minutes relaxed at home and not stressed out in a vet’s office.

My handsome, sweet boy went out with his dignity. He could still walk and eat, and aside from the incontinence a couple of months back, he wasn’t having “accidents” in the house. I miss him terribly, but I know his pain would have only gotten worse. Looking at previous blog posts, I think that up until the last week or maybe 10 days, he was still feeling pretty good for a dog that was close to 100 in human years. Rest in peace my most faithful friend.

Dogs’ lives are too short.  Their only fault, really.  ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Click here for Part 2

About Shoeful of Drool

I lived with a golden retriever/German shepherd mix named Dudley. Dudley was a rescue from Hurricane Floyd and he lived with me from October 1999 until he passed away in December 2012. In January 2001, Zoe a black & tan hound mix came to live with us until she died in June 2011. I truly believe having dogs has made me a better person. Every single day these dogs still give me something to laugh about and I hope by sharing these stories you can laugh, too.
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20 Responses to Final Act of Love – Part 1

  1. Nancy says:

    I am so glad you had a cuddle session before Dudley passed. I will miss his handsome, smiling face. My deepest sympathies to you, Mandi. At the same time, thank you for allowing me to learn so much from your baby, the Jam Master D and the Z-Girl. hugs…..

  2. I am so sorry, Mandi. Words can’t even begin to express ….

  3. Rose says:

    Though it is so sad when they leave us, the joy they bring to our homes and our lives, lives on. Your wonderful stories show that so Thank You for sharing your life with Dudley and Zoey with us. You know how I love my dogs! My heart goes out to you -a big hug from us.

  4. judy says:

    Oh Mandi, I just saw this and am in tears for you. I have one going on 17 and that day is so close and it just breaks my heart. I know Dudley had a great life with you and am sure he brought so much joy to your life. Rest in peace sweet Dudley.

  5. James Mogey says:

    I had to part with my Sophie in June and I still cry when I think of it. In some ways its worse than losing a family member. A dog’s affection is so pure and its loyalty so steadfast. My heart goes out to you. I know what its like.

    • Thanks James. I had to bring his ashes into the bedroom and put them on the dresser the first couple of nights because he had always slept wherever I was. Our dogs are family members, we are part of their pack and they our pack. A dog certainly doesn’t lie to us. As difficult as the loss is, I wouldn’t trade one second of how lousy I feel today to have never known the love and affection of my dogs.

  6. Marcela says:

    I am deeply sorry for your loss. It is never easy to lose a dog specialy one that is so close to one’s heart, but I am glad that you are a wonderful pet parent and put Dudley’s well-being before yours. Dudley was very lucky to have you in his life for you allowed him to go with dignity, yes, just like you, I do believe that dogs also deserve and have dignity.

  7. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. My human mommy and I are so sorry that we are just now learning what fantastic friends Dudley and Zoe were to you. We look forward to going back through your posts. Dogs manage to find a place in their humans’ hearts that few others ever can.

  8. Thanks for reaching out. I’m so very sorry for your loss. When I looked at your favorite photo of Dudley before I read that he had passed, I had already decided that he is the kind of dog pet sitters love…what you see is what you get. Just a lovable dog with an amazing capacity to bring happiness. Sounds cliche, but looks like you both rescued each other.

    On a lighter topic, poo is the window into a dogs health. I have long since passed the point of being embarrassed about anything scatological.

    I am following your post.

    With Warm Aloha,
    Pam

    • Thanks Pam! Dudley never denied anything he did that was wrong, he’d look at me like he wanted to say, “yup, I did it, what are you going to do, stop loving me?” Zoe would go into “invisible mode” where she would look up, down, right, left, everywhere except look at me. Sort of along the lines of “I am not looking at you, therefore you don’t see me.” They both were such a hoot! I’m so glad you are following my blog. If I ever make it to Oahu, I’ll be sure to let you know I’m coming. Oh, I have some Gene Simmons in Kackalackey pictures of my own! Thanks again.

      Mandi

  9. i am so saddened . you spoke so lovely of your sweet boy. i dread the day as my boxer is 13.5
    you can see the love you gave dudley much unconditional true love!

  10. Bosun Dawg says:

    I’m so sorry that you have had to let your friend go. You are right to celebrate his life. Hugs.

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