This is the last picture I ever took of Storm.
Sorry it has taken me a long time to write this. After having Storm in my life for almost thirteen years it's been hard adjusting to her not being here. I got her when I was a teenager so it feels like we sort of grew up together. She was there when I learned to drive, when I got my first job, when I moved out on my own for the first time, when I got married, when I moved back home. She was there for all of it. And now she's gone. I don't know how to explain the kind of hole losing her has made in my life. You all love your animals as much as I do and you've all probably lost them before so I'm sure you understand. The thing is... I've lost dogs I loved before, but somehow it's different this time... it hurts worse this time...
Storm was the first dog that was ever just mine. She wasn't a family dog. As a teenager I started saving my birthday money so that someday I could have my dream dog. A Siberian Husky. My dad found her, but I paid for her, I named her, I raised her, I trained her, I cared for her every need... she was my first dog. She was my dream dog. My best friend.
So I have been having a hard time coming to terms with my decision to put her to sleep. I was in denial that she was dying of chronic kidney failure. I was blind to her deteriorating state. I still saw my young, beautiful, healthy dog. I had convinced myself that she still had time because dogs can live with chronic kidney failure for a while. It happened so gradually I just didn't see it. I had told myself I would put her down when she no longer would eat, but I finally realized it would be cruel to wait that long when she was already in pain from arthritis, drinking a gallon of water a day, peeing every two hours to the point where neither of us could sleep all night (a big reason why I haven't been blogging), could barely see or hear anything, etc. Yes, she was still eating. She still rolled in the leaves. She still slept in the sun. She still chewed on her bone. She still greeted people with a wagging tail. But... she also panted constantly because she couldn't cool herself properly. She took ten minutes to lay down because it hurt so much. She couldn't squat easily to relieve herself. She couldn't run painlessly after the squirrels she used to love to chase. She still tried to go hunting in the woods but she tripped over branches and vines because she couldn't see and her reactions had slowed.
On Monday morning as I stood there crying, watching her for ten minutes while she walked circles, so tired, wanting to lay down, but hurting too much to do so, standing with her head hanging, panting, I finally decided I couldn't let it go on. It wasn't fair to her. I was finally seeing her as the old, dying dog that she was instead of my invincible Stormy that I'd always known.
So I made the hardest decision of my life. I know in my brain that it was the right thing to do. That she was suffering. That she would never get better. It would only get worse for her. As the vet told me, once the summer heat arrived she would have been absolutely miserable. In my heart I can't help wondering if it was too soon because she still did some of the things she enjoyed... but when I got home after having her put to sleep I saw where she'd urinated in the floor trying to stand up. As I looked around my empty house I realized how much time she spent sleeping because everything else hurt. I realized that I made the right decision. I saved her from a long road of pain and misery that still would have ended up in death. I also hope I didn't wait too long to make that decision. I hold on to the fact that she could still trot up the driveway with me (standing up and squatting were what hurt, she could still walk and trot fine), could still roll in the leaves and chew her bone, she still leaned into anyone who wanted to love on her, she even still snapped playfully at the cat.... I hope all of those are signs that I didn't wait too long. It's such a fine line... you don't want to cut their lives short, but you don't want to let them suffer either. I hope my selfishness didn't cause her suffering to last longer than it should and I hope that I didn't take something away from her by doing it too soon.
Needless to say... my heart is broken. I don't know what to do or how to move on. I know it will get easier in time, but I just want to be at peace with my decision. Storm was my first dog and she was also the first dog I ever had to decide to euthanize. She was the best first dog a girl could ask for and she gave me twelve years of companionship, happiness, laughter, lessons, comfort and love. She was my rock. She was always there. I will never forget my beautiful girl. I hope I gave her the life and the death she deserved. I love you Stormy.