Sunday, July 3, 2011

Goodbye Lady

Last night we had to say goodbye to our companion of 11+ years.  Rest in peace, Lady Johnson.

Lady first came to us about 10 years ago when we were adding a front porch onto our home.  She was trotting down the street and saw us outside with the workers, and she came over to say hello.  She spotted the sand pile in the front yard, and started checking it out.  A few minutes later, she decided to run and dive right into the center of it.  She thought that was so much fun, she started going crazy and circling the yard, running, and pouncing right in the center of the pile, coming out the other side, shaking sand everywhere!

We didn't know whose dog she was, but found her quite delightful.  Our children were little at the time, and she approached them gently and was very friendly.  She was solid black at that time, with no fat on her, and a sleek shiny coat.  We played with her, and when we went in for the evening, we figured she'd just go on back to her house.  We lived in a neighborhood with many, many homes, and assumed she had just wandered from one down the street.

About 2 in the morning, we were awakened to a dog barking -- on our new front porch - right outside our bedroom window.  She apparently decided to make our front porch her sleeping place, and we thought it was awfully cute that she was barking, "protecting" our new porch from possible intruders.

A couple of days went by and she stayed around.  I started feeding her, of course.  I also started looking for her owner.  There was no response to my attempts at finding her owner.  My husband was jogging 5 miles a day back at that time, and Lady started running with him.  She'd run the entire 5 miles - he couldn't believe it.  Of course she'd sleep 1/2 a day after that because she was so exhausted.

About 3 weeks into this, she went into heat.  Since we had not found her owner, I decided to take her and have her spayed, and I told my husband she was our dog now.  We moved her into our fenced backyard where we had another dog.  We also had a doggie door installed on the screen porch out back so she could come in and get shelter from the weather.  Our other dog had a dog house he would get in, but Miss Lady didn't want any part of being in a dog house out in the rain.

A few months later, our other dog, who was many years older, passed away.  Then it was just Lady and us.  A few months after that, we lost our home and had to move.  The house we were moving to didn't have a fenced yard or any covered areas outside.  I told my husband we'd have to keep her inside.  He very reluctantly agreed, as he really didn't want a house dog.

And she's been with us as a house dog ever since.  Over the past five or so years however, Lady has been plagued with health issues.  It had become one vet visit after another, and her responses to medicines seemed to always compell a different problem to come on, which we'd then be back at the vet for a second issue.  Last year, a knot just appeared on her right front leg.  The doctor thought it might be bone cancer, but didn't know for sure without doing a lot of procedures which we couldn't afford.  We elected to treat it with pain medicine, and a diet to help her decrease her weight.  She did well for a few months, but has been slowly declining ever since, while still having continuous skin and intestinal issues.  We've had both of those under control for about 6 months now, but we had already decided if she seemed uncomfortable or in pain, we would let her go.

The past few weeks, she seemed to be in quite a bit more pain, and also developed an anal gland infection.  We tried treating the anal gland infection with antibiotics, but her stomach just couldn't handle the antibiotics and was getting upset again.  She has had constant problems with these glands over the years, but they would always settle down without antibiotics.  This time she had a full blown infection -- with blood.  There was the option of surgery to remove the glands, but at her age and with her other health issues, we didn't want to put her through that.  The past week, it became evident she was in a good bit of pain and she was really having trouble getting around, and also seemed to be having breathing issues.

The night before last, Lady was laying on the driveway looking out across the yard, and one of our outdoor cats went over and laid right beside her.  He's never done that before, and it was as if he was trying to comfort her or make her feel better.  Yesterday her panting was quite excessive at times it shouldn't have been.  I could tell she was in tremendous pain yesterday morning when we did the morning walk.  She didn't want to go far from the house.  After a family discussion, we decided it was time to say our goodbyes.  We didn't like seeing her sick and in pain, and I know it was no fun for her.  So last night, we escorted our dear friend over the Rainbow Bridge, where hopefully she will find peace and freedom from pain and problems.

Rest in peace my dear Lady -- you will always be remembered and always be loved, and although we will miss you terribly, we will never forget the joy you brought to us and I hope you will remember us fondly in spirit.


Sharon said...

My heartfelt condolences, Jai--I know this was a gut-wrenching decision--and you made the right one for your Lady girl...never easy to put down a beloved furry friend. She's frolicing around the Rainbow Bridge, waiting for you to join her someday! In friendship,
Sharon Abendschoen

Linda said...

Ah Jai, what can one say other than my sincere condolences!! You did all you could do, & Lady had a wonderful life with you! She could not want or need more. Though the decision to let her go to Heaven was rough I'm sure, it was the most selfless loving act you could do, & I'm sure she is smiling down at you, waiting to run with you once again.
Linda Wisler