In the last 6 months my dog has become very geriatric. His weight has gone from 110 to the low 80’s. Keep in mind this is a Chocolate Labrador of 14 years. He’s been with me since he was 10 weeks old.
Not too long after a heartbreak, at the tail end of college, my dad bought Hershey for me. Hershey helped me through a really rough time in life. He was not just any dog either. He was in ‘tune’ with me.
When I got sick…so did Hershey. When I was stressed, Hershey got hot spots and started scratching. When I was sad, he would instinctively know to come lay his head on my lap and nudge my arms around his neck. It was the best therapy a girl could get!
When my roomate’s cat had unexpected kittens, it was Hershey who would lick them and love them. A male 90ish pound dog nurturing new born kittens was the sweetest thing I’d ever seen. He’d nudge their little behinds to help them walk, and put his paws on either side of their path to keep them in a straight line. Hershey was and is an amazing animal.
My second roomate came along, and had some undesirable company over once. I say once because my then 100 pound lap dog leaped at this undesirable’s throat with his teeth gnashing–before this guy could even step two feet in our front door. This person never darkened my door way again.
Hershey was the center of my world for so long, and was my measuring stick on who was good and who was not! I knew my husband was a good man, when Hershey couldn’t get enough attention from him. Hershey had found a new love when my husband started coming around.
After my son was born, I obviously shifted most of my attention to this brand new baby in our lives. I didn’t forget Hershey, but if truth were to be told…I feel I neglected him a little bit. I didn’t do it purposely as I still hold so much love for him in my heart, but when a new mom is so sleep deprived she can’t stand up straight…it’s hard to focus on anything else than what is right in front of you.
A few months ago, my vet told me it wouldn’t be long before Hershey gets too far along to live comfortably. He told me I should consider when I would want to let him go. I’m tearing up right now even thinking about it. He’s been a big part of my life, and I can’t imagine my life with out him. But I’ve seen such a change in him even in the last 2 months, and don’t want to put my own feelings over his well being either.
His ears are still so silky smooth, as how the rest of his fur used to be..but now he’s got hard course fur that’s not really growing back in. Some of his fur is peeling off and not growing back. He’s getting as blind as a bat, and I’ve had to direct him in the dark on how to get out to the back yard. He’s run into a few porch cover posts trying to go pee. Most of all, he either pants non stop or is completely subdued…neither activities are normal behavior.
I want him to be comfortable in his last year(s), and when I see that he’s still able to jog back to the back door after doing his ‘business’, I feel that he’s still OK! I know the humane thing is to let him go if he needs to be put to sleep, but I just don’t think that time is now. I don’t know when it would be time, and pray I don’t have to make that decision!