I know that no matter how much time we have with our dogs, it is never really enough. Even if this had not happened with Speedy right now, it was coming within the next few years. Of course, today I wish it had been two, three, even more years from now. But I also know that whenever that time came, it would have been just as devastating.
I've reasoned my way through it over and over.
In spite of his relative good health, Speedy had some issues that were getting worse over time. His arthritis actually didn't seem to be bothering him any more than before. If anything, he had been at a pretty good place with that for quite some time. But his allergies were truly becoming a serious problem.
Years and years ago a vet told me that his allergies might become a very serious issue at some point. That was the point at which I made the decision to switch him to a raw diet. I am convinced that the raw diet helped with the allergy situation, but in recent years it seemed to be getting worse and worse. He used to have some minor skin irritation and fur loss once, maybe twice a year, for a few weeks to a month. He had gotten to the point where it was year round and, left to his own devices, he would lick his paws raw.
In retrospect, I know that medicating the allergies was much like putting an older dog on medication for joint inflammation that may end up causing the death of the dog eventually (as Sammie is on Metacam right now). The negative effects of the medication were worth risking in light of the benefits. Speedy did enjoy this fall with very little skin irritation.
But it gets me. It was a sock. What possessed him to eat an entire laundry basket full of socks? What was going on in his brain that made that seem like the thing to do?
Then I get into the whole "it was my fault" loop. That basket should have been in a closet behind a closed door. Of course, he had never removed an item from the top of a basket to get into it, so I didn't realize . . . Or, I didn't do enough with him, so he was bored. As if holding down a full time job is optional, which I know, of course, it is not.
It goes on. It's part of the process.
Where I am right now, I wish we would have had more time, especially one more summer. A summer to walk in the woods. A summer to video Freestyle routines. A summer to lay in the grass together in the yard, enjoying the sun and the warm air. One more beach trip. Another trip to Glen Highland Farm. About 100 more pictures of Speedy's bright shining eyes and he loved every minute of what he was doing.
I have to remember that no matter how many more summers, how many more days, how many more minutes we might have had together, it never would have been enough. Never.
I know that we had the right amount of time. I really do appreciate that Speedy will never truly be an "old dog", unable to do the things that he always loved to do with all his heart. I am deeply grateful that he had a happy death, content to be with the two people he loved most in the world. His last moments were comfortable, warm, full of Speedy kisses, and love. I know he left this world as happy as it is possible to go. I would pray that all of my dogs might be so blessed when their times come.
Of course, right now, all the only thing my heart wants is more time . . . I know it gets better, but I am long way away from that place.