We lost our beloved doggie, Percy, last week. We adopted him from the shelter for Frank, who was around 12 years old at the time. However, Percy attached himself to me. Frank didn’t mind that his dog was protecting his mom. Percy followed me everywhere, even to the bathroom. He suffered from severe separation anxiety and, over the past few years, we’ve had to give him sedatives when we left the house for more than a couple of hours at a time. We have a security system here that we can access from our phones and I was so sad one day when I logged on and I could hear Percy crying for me.
Even if he wasn’t alone, he would pace and cry if I wasn’t here. When I arrived home, even from just an errand, he would jump and shout with glee and I would give him a treat. He was, by far, the most loyal, loving, 4-legged friend we have ever had.
While Percy has had ongoing health problems over the past 4 years or so, he really seemed to get younger when we moved to Florida. The warm air and sunshine did wonders for him. Still, he had skin issues, painful eye problems (we even had to take him to a veterinary ophthalmologist), and he was deaf and almost completely blind (he could see you if you waved your arms really wide). About three weeks ago, Percy started having a lot of trouble getting up and down the two back steps to go out to potty. He was still eating and drinking but he’d started crying at night. He also was coughing each time he drank water, vomiting more than usual (he had a bad habit of eating from the cat bowl), and his belly looked bigger (bloated). He was having a hard time getting up from a lying down position, which was very sad. We had to help him stand up on occasion.
Last week, on the day we had our funnel cloud, we took Percy to Ali’s house and Ali noticed he was “breathing funny.” I noticed it, too. When he wanted to lie down, he didn’t settle down on his side. He just fell over. He was going – fast. It was so odd how his health seemed to plummet all at once.
Percy would appear to make a comeback during the day but, at night, he would wake up crying several times. That part was heartbreaking. I would get up to lie next to him in the floor, petting him to get him settled down again. I know he was being brave and stoic for us, wanting to stay alive, despite his suffering, to protect me. I had to be brave, too, and do the right thing. And, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Percy HATED the vet. He shook and cried every time we went. I was NOT going to subject my furry angel to that torture on his final day with us. I searched online for a traveling vet and I guess lots of old folks in Florida need that service because there were plenty to choose from. The next morning, after another night of Percy waking up frequently crying, I tried to make the call and I couldn’t. I just couldn’t stop crying. I had Richard do it. The vet was here within hours. He went into our bedroom, and sat on the floor by Percy, where he was sleeping. The vet noticed the “belly breathing”, too. He said Percy probably had congestive heart failure. Crying openly, I told him the problems Percy had developed over the past couple of weeks.
Percy woke up, and tried to stand up but could not. The vet helped him, and then observed. He said we were doing the right thing for Percy. I believed him but it was still hard. Percy went out for one last potty, and had one last treat. His buddy, Jax, was here, but we didn’t let Jax watch. I took Percy in the bedroom, hugged him tight, and then the vet gave him a sedative. He fell asleep standing up. I had to lay him down. The vet then put him out of his misery. It was awful. So awful. I’m crying again writing this.
I still feel guilty. I don’t know why. I know we did the right thing. He was suffering terribly. The painful attempts to breathe were the worst of all, according to the vet. Still, I feel like I killed my dog. I can’t write about it anymore. Here are some pictures of my buddy…my friend…my constant companion for the past decade.
Sometimes, I think God channels his words through children. After our dog Percy died, Mason (age 8) shared these bits of wisdom:
“It’s hard to delete something from your life.”
“Everything that comes goes…”
Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.
ANGELA ON TWITTER
ANGELA ON FACEBOOK
ANGELA ON LINKEDIN
Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!