My beloved Sophie, 15 year old Border Terrier, died today - dilated esophagus that led to aspiration of food into her lungs that led to pneumonia. She did not suffer long, I wouldn't let that happen. The vet tried to bring her back with antibiotics to treat the pneumonia, and I saw her this morning before things went further down hill, for which I'm very thankful. But when i got the call this afternoon that she was getting worse, I said I would come in and say goodbye and then let her go to sleep and not suffer any more. A bit more of memories below the orange squiggle - she wasn't an extraordinary dog, but she was a good and loving and funny companion and she loved me as I loved her. And always will. She will be greatly missed by her dog companions, my big rescue Max and my younger Border Terrier Jasper.
Sophie lived a pretty ordinary suburban life, almost all of it in the house I live in now. She didn't have huge adventures, although the biggest one she did have, digging out under the fence and going to explore the street, should have cost her life 3 years ago. Very fortunately, a kind young woman stopped her car and picked her up just as Sophie was about to cross a very busy main road where she most likely would have been hit by a car - she only weighed 15 pounds. And I got her back the next day through looking on Craigslist where this nice woman had posted about finding her. Sophie thought it was all a great treat - she got to spend a night out in the country with two little girls and a bunch of cats who she liked a lot more than they liked her.
She was loving and lively, up until the last year when she slept almost all the time. Sophie was tough, the way most Border Terriers are, but very peaceable. She loved my much older BT Bess, who spent most of her last years with my mother - I can still see Bess "teaching Sophie how to hunt" as my mother insisted on describing it, when Sophie was just a year old - listening at a grate for moles and digging after Bess showed her what to do. She probably would have wanted to play with anything she caught, though - she had no prey drive at all, apparently. She never bothered the squirrels or the birds, and as I said, loved cats and all other living things, especially people. She never met a stranger. She particularly loved a big dog Buia, a friend's dog who lived with us while they were out of the country on sabbatical - I can still see Sophie's dance of joy whenever she saw Buia on the front door step coming to visit.
It is such a wrench to let a pet go - so very hard to make that decision to put them to sleep. But I was there, I was stroking her ears, and whispering her to just go to sleep and be done with the struggle. It was the last, best thing I could do for her, after all these years of joy and love she has given me, and I did it without hesitation once it was clear there was no coming back for her.
I will miss her terribly. But she's at peace now, and not in pain, which is the most important thing.
Thanks for listening - I needed to get this out and it helps.
ETA: Thanks so much for all the wonderful, comforting comments, it really helps.
7:45 PM PT: I am overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone's comments - it means so much and it has really helped me this evening. Thanks all of you.