I paid my daily visit to dooce.com and read her story about allowing her dog to enjoy the last few drops of ice cream out of a carton.
My wife and I have owned 2 dogs, the late great Lexie and our current pup, Lacey. We are the kind of dog owners that don’t allow the dogs to be fed any people food. This policy pays off by reducing all that begging that goes on when you are trying to eat dinner, or enjoy an evening snack, etc. I know that other dog owners don’t share our views, and that is okay by me. It’s your dog.
Lexie pre-dated our children. She was our first dependent. She came to us at a crucial point in our marriage, and I think she had a lot to do with our marriage getting through years 3-7.
We spoiled Lexie. She was a lovely Sheltie, a bit large for the breed, but as high-strung as any other Sheltie. She would bark at passersby, rotating ceiling fans, reflections on the ceiling, leaves blowing across the patio…. Yet, she was a very smart dog and gave me lots of tips at tax time each year. Her favorite treat was something called “Frosty Paws”, which was a frozen, non-dairy treat made for dogs. It came in a little sundae cup, which she would take from my hand and go to her special “treat spot” to enjoy. We have several photos of her on each birthday, posed with a Frosty Paw with a candle in it. We’d have some ice cream, and Lexie would have her Frosty Paw.
At some point, Lexie began suffering from various allergy-type symptoms. She would lick her paws raw. For a while, we would absorb all sorts of vet bills trying to find out what was wrong with her. After our daughter was born and we decided to operate on one salary, we had to stop all the diagnostic testing and just try to keep her comfortable. For a while, I tried shaving her down, thinking that she would be more comfortable with less fur. It seemed to work for a while.
In the months before our son was born, Lexie was getting worse. She was licking and gnawing at herself, and her behavior was turning also. After our son was born, it became apparent that there was no way that we were going to be able to tend to a newborn and a dog who was not going to get better. A decision was going to have to be made.
I always believed that the only time you should put a dog down was when it was very old, non-ambulatory, and incontinent. When it hit that trifecta, it was time to go. Lexie was almost 8 years old, she had another 6-8 years left. But she was suffering. Was it thyroid-related? Our vets could never determine what was causing her “allergies”.
I won’t go into the details of our last trip to the vet. The very thought of it brings tears, even now. (Hope no one is walking by my cubicle.) After reading dooce today, I recall that just before I took Lexie to the vet, I spooned some Breyers ice cream in a small bowl, set it down before here (I’m crying as I type this) and said, “Here’s what you’ve been missing”.