I made an appointment today, with the vet.
Friday, July 18.
She's coming at 9AM to remove some sutures from one of the shepherds that had surgery over the weekend. That's another long story, and something for a different post.
While she is here, we will sit in the back yard and say goodbye to my old man. I've had a lot of time to think about it, and being home these last few weeks, I've had a lot of time to spend with him. I'll take him for one last hike on Rabbit Mountain next week - a little hill just his size. But I've gotten to see what life is really like for him. Being mostly blind, very deaf, and losing control of his bladder. He doesn't wag his tail anymore, and his eyes - they are like translucent opals, bottomless, with no focus, just swirls. Sometimes he can't even see me, and stares at my knees, sniffing me, until he realizes it is me and tries to look up. He sleeps calmly and peacefully most of the day - rarely hearing the ruckus of all the animals around him - only waking up when someone brushes against him, or I reach down and pet him.
I could wait longer -wait until he is truly suffering. Wait for his bladder to get blocked and he be slowly poisoned inside. I could wait until he starts to have seizures, or loses the ability to move. Right now, he's already stiff with arthritis. I could wait until he is miserable.
But my friend Carrie told me that letting him go is the greatest gift we can give to man's best friend. I don't want to wait until he is in pain. He has already lost so much. He's currently laying on the floor dreaming of chasing squirrels - back in his younger days - when he could actually catch them. In his dreams, I am sure he can see them and hear them, and today he can't hear much at all, except for loud thunder cracks during storms. He doesn't run anymore, or play anymore. He just wanders around, letting his nose do his seeing for him.
I don't know where he'll go, or if anyone will be waiting for him. Will Deklin be there? Waiting for someone to play with? Will my Clifford, Sandy and Corduroy meet him there, though they never met in life, will they be there to say, "we knew her too." Or will he have a giant rawhide bone all to himself to enjoy until I come for him? I don't know. I only know that it can't be heaven if there are no dogs, and at least, he will be there waiting for me.
For those of you who know or knew Ditka, I will post a special post for him that morning. It may only be a picture. If you want to do anything to help me through his loss, you can post a comment to that blog of any memories or stories you want to share about my old man, Ditka. Knowing that others remember him fondly will help me cherish what I will have left of him - our memories of his life. I don't know what life is without him, but I will appreciate being able to remember him.