“Even if it means oblivion, friends, I’ll welcome it, because it won’t be nothing. We’ll be alive again in a thousand blades of grass, and a million leaves; we’ll be falling in the raindrops and blowing in the fresh breeze; we’ll be glittering in the dew under the stars and the moon out there in the physical world, which is our true home and always was.” – Phillip Pullman
Today is Dobby’s last day. I posted awhile back about Dobby’s struggles with seizures and behavioral issues. At that time there were two medication changes we still wanted to try, but neither made any difference and I made the heartwrenching call to schedule his euthanasia. At that point, he’d been having a seizure every six days on average, so I decided to push his appointment out a week with the knowledge that he may have another seizure or two and I may have to bump his appointment up if the seizures, fear, or aggression worsened.
This last week has been spent enjoying Dobby. I made a “bucket list” of the things I thought he would most enjoy that wouldn’t be too exciting (and therefore likely to trigger a seizure). Dobby’s been on multiple off-leash hikes on friends’ rural properties. He’s gotten so many new toys I can’t even count them. He’s gotten to snuggle in bed with me and has eaten his favorite foods. I started feeding him twice as much at mealtime – there’s no longer any reason to watch his weight, and one of the side effects of his medication has been increased appetite. He’s swum and he’s played with his few doggy friends. I’ve told him how much I love him over and over and over again.
I’ve done some things for myself this week, too. I’ve spent a lot of time crying and a lot of time with caring friends. I had a professional photographer take pictures of Dobby by himself and of Dobby and I together to remember him by. I stroked his velvety ears and laughed at his happy prance when he got a new toy. I rescheduled all of the appointments I could and spent less time working so I could be with him.
Everyone who loves Dobby has gotten to say goodbye in whatever way made sense to them. My parents took him on long walks, snuggled with him, and fed him handfuls of popcorn. My boyfriend bought him a bulk lot of squeaky balls – more new toys than Dobby’s ever seen in his life. Friends gave him toys and treats and chews. They invited him to hike on their properties and told him what a special little dog he was.
It’s still hard to believe that it’s almost over. It’s been almost three years since Dobby was pulled from the Rochester Animal Control Shelter. He’s only four years old, and I wish he could live to be a wise, tottery old dog with a grey muzzle. It’s hard to think of my sleek, athletic, awkward, sincere little dog being gone.
Tonight Dobby will get a double dose of one of his medications, a situational anxiety drug. Tomorrow he will get another big dose three hours before the vet comes over, which will make him very sleepy. My vet will come to us, and he will be euthanized in the place he’s happiest and most comfortable. We’ll do everything we can to make sure he knows he’s loved and valued during his final moments. Afterwards, my other dogs will be given the chance to investigate his body before the vet takes it to be cremated.
It hurts to say goodbye, but I’m so glad I got to know and love Dobby. I’m grateful for all of the things he’s taught me about perseverance and love, about hope, and about accepting that the right answers aren’t always the easy ones. Today I will enjoy everything about my special little dog, and tomorrow I will do everything I can to help his final moments be gentle and comfortable.
As I miss Dobby, I’ll hold onto the belief that he’s not altogether gone. The special spark that made him who he was will live on in those whose lives he touched and changed. We’re all a little better for the connections he made, and I’m hella glad I got to know him. I love you, Batdog.