The last 12 months have been tough, we lost two of our pets - Wookie and Gus. Both to cancer. Wookie was 14, Gus was 12. They had good long lives, just not long enough. Opal, the last of the original 3 pets (the ones Trevor and I had when we met) was doing just fine until about 6 months ago. She started going downhill and has gone downhill fast. She is 13.
We believe Opal is in the final weeks and as you can imagine, we are terribly sad. Opal has a combination of arthritis, spinal degeneration and possibly (probably) a tumor on her spine. Her back legs don't work much of the time. It started with some stumbling and has progressed to a point where she sometimes just drags her legs behind her. She doesn't have full control of her bowels and we have to help her out to do her business.
As with all our pets, we will do anything we need to as long as she seems happy and gets joy in her life. A couple months ago, we got her a magnetic blanket to help with the arthritis. I don't know if it does, but she lays on it all the time. She's on some medicine that knocks her out and she snores like a freight train.
She still loves to be pet and cleans Maggie and Buster's eyes and ears, just like she used to do with Wookie. Sometimes she seems just fine, but eventually those legs just shut off. It is sad to watch her get old.
Opal used to run the yard, all day long. She was on patrol and actually wore a path in the grass. She will still chase a ball until you stop throwing it. She never says "enough".
Trevor has had Opal since she was a puppy. She is totally in love with him. She follows him everywhere. If he isn't there, she will follow me. She loves us both, but she is daddy's girl. There were many times that Trevor worked late or was away from home for days at a time, that is really when Opal and I bonded.
In the last few days, I have started having the talk with Opal. Telling her that when its time to go she needs to just go to sleep. I tell her that Wookie and Gus are waiting for her.
Something I did with the other two was sing to them. They each had their own song that I sang them in their last weeks. I don't have a good singing voice, but they always looked up at me like I had the best voice in the world. It was comforting to me and I believe to them as well. I didn't know the right song for Opal, then the other night in the car I was listening to a Bruce Springsteen CD and a line in a song hit me and I realized that was Opal's song. The line: When our young faces grow sad and old and hearts of fire grow cold, we swore blood brothers against the wind, now I'm ready to grow young again. I think this is actually Opal and Wookie's song. Bruce sings it best...
Here are some of my favorite pictures: