One year and one month ago I wrote a post about how my dog, Schnapps, was diagnosed with bone cancer. When we took him into the vet in April 2007, he had a huge lump on his shoulder. The vet removed it and determined it was cancer giving him a few months to live. I titled the post “My dog is dying” but never published it because somehow I knew that he was a fighter, a survivor, and he would prove the vet wrong. Schnapps has been with me since I was 20 (15 years!). He outlasted a few boyfriends, a few friendships, and many changes in my life. In the time I’ve had him, I’ve secured and sustained a career, gotten married, moved about 4 times, and had a child enter my life. He used to sleep in my bed with me until Nathan came along. In his later years, he suffered from separation anxiety, which although annoying, was quite endearing. He had to follow me everywhere and when I left he would often pee on the floor to let me know how much he missed me.
Three weeks ago, Schnapps stopped eating. He lost 5 pounds in that time and in his last week, he stopped drinking water. On Sunday night, he could no longer stand up. Nathan carried him upstairs and said it was time to put him down, so I called the vet on Monday. They said I could bring him in Monday night at 4:00 and I burst into tears. The receptionist suggested Tuesday night so I could have more time with him. Tuesday at 5:40 we took him in. Emaciated, weak, and dehydrated, we were confident it was a good time for him to go.
We stayed with him until the end. It was quite peaceful and I’m glad we were able to hold his paw and give him hugs while he went. I miss my little buddy.
Ava has been so matter-of-fact about it. Yesterday she said, “We just don’t have any dogs now because Schnapps died and Zeke is with Papa Gordon. Someday I will die too and so will Zeke.” I cannot bear the thought of my family members dying, but Ava does help simplify the whole life-death cycle.
I’m so relieved that my loyal companion is not in pain, but, jeez, that was a hard thing to do. Rest peacefully, buddy.