Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rest in Peace, Sweet Claude
Thanksgiving, 1997-Dec. 27, 2012

We had to have Claude euthanized this morning; our hearts are broken. We already miss Claudie so much. Our ever-present little friend just isn't here....and is sorely missed. The house just isn't right without him. Nothing's right without him. Obviously this acute stage of grief will ease in time, but right now, it's excruciating. We're so used to him being hurt so badly to come home to nobody waiting for us. But we knew that he couldn't possibly have lived much longer anyway, and that he hadn't really seemed to enjoy life much for awhile.

Then he got really weak last week, wouldn't eat and we saw him fading on us. We were finally able to get him to a vet today after they'd  come back from Christmas break, and we found out that he had a perforated ulcer from the arthritis medicine he'd been on for years. By today most of his blood volume had poured into his abdomen. The vet assured us it wasn't our fault at all; lots of old arthritic dogs bleed out or have other fatal complications from long term use of the meds that allowed them to function for years.  It was nice of her to say so but we still feel terribly guilty.

Anyway, sweet Claude was a perfect patient as always, calm and quiet throughout. Putting him down wasn't really a hard decision to make, just an excruciatingly painful one, but there really was no choice. His situation was hopeless and he was suffering, bless his dear heart, stoically, but suffering. When we realized he would have died within a day or two, possibly even in the car on the way home from the vet clinic in the cold, we arranged for a peaceful passing at the vet's office instead, with us right there petting him. The vet and her assistant were wonderful, and cried with us even though they only met Claude today.  I told them before we left that I knew we'd be bringing some future dog to them for care, whenever the time comes. After all, we are dog people; dog rescue people actually, and I'm sure there will be another dog with us before too long. Certainly not a replacement for Claude, and not right now, but eventually we'll adopt another dog. We'll see who needs us. 

I don't want to dwell on his last illness or death, so now you know all about that part and it's done. When we do talk about Claude, it won't be about his last days, which were sad, but a celebration of his awesome toothy smile and his happy, helicopter tail.

Rest in Peace, my best friend. I'll never stop loving you. You were the best dog in the world and I was lucky to know you for so long:)

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