Saturday, April 28, 2012

GOODBYE TO HILDA

This morning I was with Hilda when she was put to sleep. I have never done that before and had no idea of what to expect of myself or of her.  I am writing about this because I want to tell what it was like for me in case someone is contemplating it and unsure what to expect.

She has been deaf for some time, increasingly blind, very stiff, with loss of control of her hind legs and sometimes her front legs, her weight has fallen quite low and she has become pretty incontinent. Mostly what is worrisome is her anxiety.  She paces and sniffs obsessively, she has been barking and howling when we aren't home.

I made the appointment with the vet to consider prescription anti-anxiety meds.  But last night it came to me that I was doing the wrong thing.  It was time to let her go, not to turn her into a little zombie. Tom and I talked a long time about it.  I called the vet this morning to tell them of the changed reason for my appointment.

I made her eggs and bacon for breakfast and, even though she didn't like it much, I brushed her before we went. She didn't even register the big dog in the waiting room with us before we went into the exam room.  today was the longest she has let me hold her in over a year.  She was very stiff in my arms, looking warily around the room.  I verified the plan with our vet, a very kind man with dachshunds, too.  He came in with the sedative and said he would be back in about 5 minutes.

The strangest thing happened then.  Hilda went from being stiff in my arms to licking my face, leaning back, leaning forward, looking at me and licking me again.  She did this over and over as I felt her body relaxing in my arms.  She looked me in the eyes again and I saw her old self, she licked my face and settled with her head on my shoulder and fell into a completely relaxed state.  It has been so long since she has slept on me that way - this dog who loved to be in the lap of anyone sitting down.  It made me smile to think of her so much like she was and I was smiling when the doctor came back into the room.

The next step was to lay her on the table and administer the drug to stop her heart, it only took the briefest of moments and I knew that I had made the right decision.  It was so peaceful. Just what a sweet little dog like her deserved.

9 comments:

Tricia said...

I read the post with tears in my eyes. It is so hard. Yes, I am a big dog lover and had to put mine down because of liver cancer year ago. It was very painful. Big hug to you. She will be missed.

smalltownme said...

You did the right thing. It reminds me of what Ronald Reagan's daughter wrote about his death...

"At the last moment when his breathing told us this was it, he opened his eyes and looked straight at my mother. Eyes that had not opened for days did, and they weren't chalky or vague," Davis recalls. "They were clear and blue and full of life. If a death can be lovely, his was."

hokgardner said...

I am so sorry to hear about Hilda. Losing a furry family member is so hard.

michiganme said...

This was comforting to me as we are getting closer and closer to that decision. Hunny, our golden retriever, has trouble getting up to go outside to relieve herself. I needed to hear how peacefully it all unfolded...

knittergran said...

I am so sorry. We had to do this with a very loved cat a couple of years ago, and I know how difficult and sad this is.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This was beautiful. You are so brave to have taken her--my husband has always done it with our pets.

I'm sorry for the loss of your dear pet.

Jan@WritingToWellness said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your Hilda. Our cherished pets are like family members and the grief can be just as searing. My thoughts are with you.

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

I know it was hard, but you did the right thing.

I am so sorry about Hilda and hope that your heart heals soon.

Wenderina said...

A heart breaking but right decision.