Our family is decreasing by one.
From two grown ups, two kids, and two dogs down to one dog.
We will be saying goodbye to our Boxer, M, this week.
It made it feel real when we told the Littles this morning. Real that it was happening and real that it was hurting.
After breakfast, the kids and I sat down to play a board game and M came over and curled in my lap, as she has always been known to do. After the game, she went to the backdoor and laid out in the sun. Today will likely be the last long afternoon sun she will see.
Hubby and I did not come to this decision lightly. We thought we would lose her more than 5 years ago, when Witchlette was just two months old. We thought we would lose her before then and since then. We’ve had long nights of cluster seizures. But she’s always pulled through. She’s always come out the other side.
Her first seizure came at 6 months old, and she was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy at 1. We started potassium bromide around 2 and added phenol barbital when she was 5, the night we thought we would lose her, 5 years ago. Surprisingly, she is outliving her epilepsy. She hasn’t had more than one seizure at a time in over three years. She hasn’t had more than a focal tick in a year. She also has neurological issues where her backend is no longer connected to her brain. She has no control over her back legs, a rather common issue that has been exasperated by her epilepsy. She has had the neurological issue for so long, she has gradually lost muscle mass in one of her legs. As of yesterday, when I took her for her afternoon walk, she was walking on the tops of her paws- and wasn’t noticing. She falls when as she stands. She falls when she walks. As of last week, she falls when she eats.
Today, while I was bathing the Littles, the doorbell rang and there went M- rushing the door as best she could and barking up a storm. A few hours later, when I tried to get her to go for her afternoon walk, she made it from the front door to the strip of grass along the curb and lied down. After some coaxing, she rose again but only took a few more steps before she lied down again. This was my cue that we are in fact making the right decision. That while she may not be feeling any pain now, it’s likely because of nerve damage and that she should be feeling pain. She constantly scrapes her feet and drips blood everywhere, but isn’t aware that it’s happening.
Before Witchlette was born, when everything seemed to go wrong and every thing seemed to fail, M was there. I went into what eventually because Witchlette’s room and sat on the floor and sobbed. All my frustration and anger, all my sorrow and mourning. She curled herself into my lab and nuzzled me as I sobbed into her.
She taught me how to handle overnights with a baby, as she herself cried all night as a pup. New environment, scared and seemingly alone. So, I slept on the floor outside her crate until she was fully house trained.
Once Witchlette was born, and again with Witchling, M joined me for every overnight feeding. She curled at me feet or sat watch at the door. When I went back to bed, she softly padded behind me. During crib naps for both kids, she slept on the floor beside both kids’ cribs to make sure her tiny humans were safe. When either baby woke, she came and got me before they cried.
She kept me company while Hubby was away for work for what seemed to be weeks at a time a few years. She guarded the house while he worked the late night live audit that had him coming home after midnight. One night, she heard him come in and bolted down stairs, barking and growling thinking he was someone else. When we wasn’t, she calmly padded back to bed.
She was always there, up until two months ago, right by my while I was doing Magick. Some times she would lie beside me. She could feel the seriousness other times and would automatically sit with her back to mine, like she had my 6. Drawing tarot cards, pulling Runes, or journaling, I could always count on her head nuzzling into my lap. She helped me ground while I meditated, giving my breath guidance and allowing me to put my focus on her heartbeat. She hasn’t been able to climb the stairs, where my main working altar is. And I haven’t been able to do deep Magick so workings since then. I’m only just now putting the two together…
Thank you for leaving your paw prints on my heart. Thank you for being a part of my journey.