|Maddi is on the left, Milo is on the right. This was a few years ago when he was still a big, burly guy.|
The outline of each eye hurts. It stings around the circumference of my vision. There is a coldness and weight about me that is unusual. I feel dark and bitter. Out of nowhere, I am crying again. But it’s been all day with my kiddos, and I don’t want them to see me cry, so I’ve been stuffing and stifling and trying to project a cheerful, or maybe not quite that, just not sad, face to them all day. Now they are in bed. My husband and I are both worn out from the decision.
We put our dog down today. Rather, I put him down. My husband had to work. It was probably for the best, because this was his dog. He keeps seeing the signs of life, the signs that he’s still a happy dog, and he would never have been able to do it. I saw that most of the time, he was unhappy, uncomfortable, no longer able to protect himself against the cold. But he would put a happy face on it – he really wanted to be strong, it seemed. He was an old dog. Gentle enough to befriend our kitty, and curl up with her. Milo loved kittens.
At the Veterinarians, we talked about his slow and steady decline. We could make him slightly more comfortable, for a few days. But it’s not like he’s going to turn a corner and be a healthy dog again. He is very old. He is frail. He cannot stand the cold. He cannot stand the heat. He’s dehydrated. He’s coughing. His symptoms aren’t terrible, it’s just that he can’t get comfortable in his bed at night and he yelps and cries. To me, it feels like we are wanting him around for our own sake, past when he’s enjoying life very much anymore.
My husband and I spoke over the phone, and cried together, and decided to go ahead. My husband couldn’t speak. There was just a lot of silence and labored breathing on the line. I hated that it had to be me, but at the same time, I knew it had to be me.
Milo had his head resting on my chest, as I rubbed the sides of his jowls. He leaned into me, reassured. It seemed he knew. He was very comfortable. The Vet said that everyone always hopes their animal will just go in their sleep, but that rarely happens. There is much more suffering that way.
He died with his head on my heart, my arms around his head, both of us breathing softly. Tears ran down my face, but I didn’t sob. I didn’t want him to pick up sadness from me, only comfort. At the last, he raised his head, and I looked right into one of his big brown eyes, until it got heavy and he closed it and very gently, we laid him on his side. There was a nurse, the doctor and myself. My father in law was there as well to help me. I hugged the doctor through tears. She said to tell my husband hello, and tell him what a good dog Milo was.
He was such a good dog. We made a cake to eat after dinner. My Bean thought it was Daddy’s birthday and wanted to put sprinkles on the cake. It was so precious. He said the words, that Milo died and that’s why we were having cake, but he’s too little to know what that meant. All day, he kept holding my hand and telling me Milo was a good dog. Goodnight, you big scary looking sweetheart!