Our 12.5 year old, 130lb malamute is declining. There are good hours interspersed in his day and moderately good days smattered in a week of difficulty. I know time is nearing I am getting close to feeling we should preempt an accident or real discomfort.
It’s the gathering of issues. Incontinence, which for the past few months only occurred every couple of weeks, now only a couple of days each week go by. Stair issues are increasing and adaptions have been made. However, if you ever tried to help a 130lb fiercely independent animal up or downstairs, not an easy task. He can’t easily or comfortably travel with us anymore. He still delights in his short, daily meditative stroll and sniff. He still eats his wild caught salmon. (Only the best right?) The hardest is probably his hind legs. One day they work and the next he’s scooting on his butt because they won’t carry him. Enter the harness attempts….We have loved a 130 pound beast that we can not carry upstairs or scoop up when he collapses.
I have laid dogs to rest before. I have spread ashes, buried tufts of hair in sacred boxes. I know it’s hard for everyone that does and everyone has suggestions that worked for them. Everyone selects what thread of assistance they can follow to their pet’s end. We must remember exactly that. Pets are part of a family unit. People must act out of what is best for their family. Not another’s.
As much as we wish he would blissfully pass away in his sleep while dreaming of bounding through two feet of snow, I don’t think that is in our stars. We are left to watch the slow demise, using the best we have in our hearts to choose when we believe he’s had enough; along with somehow sifting out the feelings of when it’s us having enough. Maybe it needs to be a blend.
My ailing dad, having had enough, prayed for his own death, (for God to let him come home, he’d say). At least 2-3 more weeks passed before he died. He didn’t get to, our society could not let him decide that….at least not where he resided. Our society tasks us with that decision for our pets. Some get/send clear messages but this proud boy isn’t. 😔