This morning, I decided it was finally time to say Good-bye to Chowder. He had a pretty good life, at least in the dozen or so years that he spent brightening my life. His suspicion of strangers led me to believe that whatever life he had before mine might not always have been pleasant. But his life at Tatertown was mostly happy, until his quality of life started to decline recently.
It started with some kind of weakness or dysfunction in his back hips, possibly arthritis. His gait was sometimes a little unsteady, and he occasionally struggled to get up. He always used to enjoy riding in the car, but he lost interest in that when he could no longer jump in and didn’t want to be lifted in.
Until recently, he would happily accompany me and Crossbo and Norm on hacks around the farm, although after a while he would tire and return home early. But the last few times, he watched me tack up and looked at me as if to say “Have a good time, I’ll take care of things here until you get back.”
I tried joint supplements and drugs to help the problem, but they didn’t seem to be helping. Getting up became more of a struggle for him. He would push his front end up with his front legs, and then rock around on his back end until he finally got himself pushed up. In the process, he was rubbing his back end and back legs bloody on my brick patio. Occasionally, when he was lying down, he would cry for no apparent reason.
This weekend, he seemed to lose interest in food. This morning, I decided that he was definitely not a happy dog, and there was nothing I could do to make him happy. And I was definitely not happy seeing him that way. And while there was nothing I could do to make either one of us happy, at least I could end his unhappiness. So, as gently as possible, I lifted him into the car and took him to the vet clinic for the final needle.