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Last December I lost my Sheba to cancer. She was 13 but it came as a surprise as she was apparently healthy and happy and active up until near the very end.

At the same time, my older dog Kasha...

... had a variety of problems and I'd been watching her deteriorate for awhile. I thought I was going to lose her about a year and a half before. So I had lots of time to prepare for today. When Sheba was dying she was so depressed that I thought she would go within a couple days. I even had a talk with her in which I told her it was ok if she was ready. But she came out of it after a week or so and went on living.

Today it was her turn. She's been having strokes and has had neurological problems where she was losing control of rear hind quarters. Recently she went into canine cognitive disorder... dementia in simpler terms. Anipryl helped with that. But last night she had another stroke and it was time. We've done everything we could to keep her going but to do more at this point would simply be prolonging the suffering. It was time.

If you don't mind, I'd like to introduce you to my 16 year old guard dog on her last day.

Most of my pictures of Kasha are of her rear end.

She didn't like having her picture taken. But sometimes you'd get a good shot of her. Like this one of my old red fox dog.
For several years she had a large fatty tumor on her back. In my sons words she looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dawg. It didn't really cause her any problems but I probably should have had it removed earlier on. Unfortunately she also formed cysts and two years ago some of them became infected and burst. So it was time for surgery and as long as those were going they removed her hump too.
She was in rough shape and that was when I first thought I was going to lose her. At 14 it would have been a good life for a dog but she pulled through just fine.

As a young dog she used to like to dance for us on her two hind legs. She was an incredibly smart dog... too smart for her good most of the time... and a natural watch dog. But as she aged she slowed down a little and didn't have much patience for younger animals that wanted to play... particularly the cat my son left behind one year. But the cat loved her anyhow.

She would mumble and groan and whine when the cat came to sleep with her and usually get up and go somewhere else to sleep. But the cat got good at moving in quietly and softly and Kasha gave up the fight eventually too.
I never crate trained her. Her "crate" was at my feet under my desk. As a puppy she once chewed through the power cord to my monitor. ZAP! She never did that again.
She had a couple seizures when she was younger but they were short and left no lasting effects. But a few months ago she started having doggy strokes. After the first one she was very confused and afraid because she didn't know what was going on. So she hid in her safe spot.
She wasn't too crazy about taking her medicine either.
She also developed neurological problems. Despite good muscle tone in her legs she was losing control of her rear legs. That got progressively worse and the strokes made it real bad. Gabapentin helped but her rear legs had a Parkinsons-like shake and sometimes her legs would give out. This turned out to be a good place for a nap after her legs wouldn't take her any further.
Old dogs sleep a lot and they say that dogs come to resemble their owners after awhile. I guess this is how the dogs of book lovers sleep.
You've heard of the Shroud of Turin? After her last bath she left me the Shroud of Kasha.
The last thing though was that she started developing dementia. Pretty much all the classic signs. Like standing in corners staring at the walls and not knowing how to get out of the corner.
Anipryl helped with that and she had some good days after being completely out of it for awhile.
But it was clear this was all just buying her some time and eventually it wasn't going to be enough. She had another stroke during the night and could barely stand and only walk a few steps before her legs would give out. Luckily for her one of the places they gave out was right in front of the stove while Barb was cooking.
A good place for a dog to spend her last hours. Somehow I think Barb had the dropsies more than usual today while she was cooking for tomorrows gathering. She also had steak that was brought home from an Independence Day pool party yesterday. Pretty good last meal for a dog. Nothing wrong with her appetite.

But I had to make the call. It was time. There was no point in waiting for the stroke effects to wear off only for the next one to hit her. We did everything we could but it was time to let her go. She wanted to go outside with me but her legs just wouldn't take her there.

So I carried her to her last car ride.
I buried her in the backyard by the fence next to Sheba and two of my old cats.

Here's your leash in case you want to go for walks later.

Remember O Dog that dust you are and to dust you shall return.
She was a great, natural watch dog that for 16 years and 2 months watched over me, my home and my family. I'm sure she is still doing her duty with pride and ability right now.

Originally posted to Andrew C White on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 06:45 PM PDT.

Also republished by PWB Peeps.

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