Two years ago, I put down my best friend too, my 14 year old border collie, who was my constant companion and friend. I sobbed miserably as did this woman and was depressed for weeks, looking to see my friend where she should have been and was no longer. I was terribly sad and did not want a new pet, only to have to go through the loss again in a dozen or so years. The grief seems unbearable at the time. We do heal and if we can give thanks for the moments we shared with the pet and remember the love we once had, then it finally seems doable again.
Little Sofi, my daughter's dog, is ill. She has a cancerous growth on her throat, which is now interfering with her swallowing and eating. She has lost over ten pounds and she is a tiny dog to begin with. The vet has no real hope for her, since the growth cannot be safely removed and treatment may not be effective at all. There are medications for pain and to make her more comfortable, but she did not and has not appeared to be in pain or uncomfortable, except recently while eating. She is still robust, loves to fetch a stick and barks at the snow falling from the sky as she catches the flakes. The vet and I had a long, long, over two hours long, discussion about her symptoms and treatment and the course for the next stages. Basically, as she is in my care, I need to ensure she eats frequently, and that the food is soft and palatable, so she can at least maintain her weight if not gain back a few pounds. The esophagus is being pushed into a convoluted arch which suspends her food and makes it difficult for the peristalsis to move it down to the stomach.
She also has some cancer beginning on her lungs, now. Of course, no one knows how long she has to still have a quality life. So far, she is happy, wags her tail, barks at stupid things and is generally as annoying as she has always been, so she seems just fine. But a day will come, perhaps soon, perhaps in a year or two, when she is no longer enjoying that quality of life and it will be time to say goodbye to her. I know my daughter's heart will be broken and the tears will come. She is her first dog of her own, bought with hard earned money when she was just young and she has been her only child for the past 9 years. I hope when the time comes, Brianna has a friend who can put his or her arms around her and just hold her and allow the grief to flow. It won't be easy. It never is.
But, for now, Sofi and I and the other 7 dogs of the Fat Ewe Farm will just go on going on as usual. That is the best we can do, isn't it?