It’s day by day for Brandy
The end of the road is nearing for Brandy. I find myself conflicted on deciding when is her time to go – if it should be my decision at all. She could die naturally, but seeing her decline is so hard for me I wonder if it is not kinder to put her down.
I bought Brandy from Animal Kingdom on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago in September 1994 when she was 6 weeks old. She was always a fairly high energy dog who loved to run and jump like most dogs but I will always remember how she seemed to love the wind. On windy days she would stop in her tracks to face the wind, sniffing, blowing her floppy Snoopy years backward. After a short time, she would bolt from that position and run around crazy – sometimes just I circles – as if to celebrate. This is a vivid but now distant memory. She is old now, arthritic, and increasingly losing the muscle needed to remain standing on all fours. Her legs will frequently slide out from under her in all directions just while she is standing or leaning over to drink some water. I’m sure she wishes we had carpeting to assist rather than our wood and tile floors.
Brandy wakes me at night to potty her between one and three times. As any elderly being, she is not at her best waking in the wee hours to go outside. Sometimes she doesn’t make it. Sometimes she falls. But she always tries to tell me she needs to go. Her accidents are becoming more frequent in the house during the day too – Kristin is a saint in dealing with the messes while I am away at work.
Taking Rimadyl and Tramadol each day, she is no longer in obvious pain/discomfort. Her overall body language tells me she just wants to be left alone. The other dogs in the house are not as gentle with her as she would like. Hermes often smacks her on the head or shoulder with his beefy paw, knocking her to the ground. Bella wants to play – she is Brandy’s best dog friend. Lollie growls at her when Brandy can’t settle and seems to pace the floor.
I’ve talked to our kind vet, read various blog posts and stories on the web, and the subject is a frequent topic of discussion in our house. I just don’t know when the right time to let her go is. I fight avoidance and denial but struggle to see what is. Seeing her happy is getting rare so I find myself celebrating when she seems just content. Brandy has good days and bad but the good days have dwindled to good hours followed by bad days. I know her time is near but it is so hard to know when the right time to let her go is. Meanwhile, I spend more and more time sitting quietly with her, holding her head in one hand while I slowly pet/massage her with the other. And those are good times.