Well, we just buried Cassie.
She almost made it to 12, despite life-long eye, skin and hip problems.
About 3am she started screaming out in pain or fear. I assumed she must have caught her toenails in the carpet and sprained or popped out one of her wonky hips.
We loaded her up with the pain meds we keep in the fridge for when her hips hurt. But she still cried and shook until finally falling asleep next to my son. But her cries of anguish or pain started again as soon as she woke up at 8am.
What to do? We knew we could not spend another thousand dollars on her at the vet. That’s what it cost to keep Ling Ling II, the other Shih Tzu alive for a year even though her heart and lungs were worn out. And economic times being what they are…
Actually, it wasn’t her hip. She’d had a major stroke. Just like Ling Ling II. I guess Cassie was crying out in pain and because she was afraid. That’s why she kept pushing herself into our laps, our scent, even though half her body was paralyzed. She needed comfort from her pack, the pack who had always made things better.
Thinking back, I suppose she must have had minor strokes over the last few weeks. That would explain her not being able to get up and down the stairs (we thought it was her hips, so we carried her); and her wandering around when she was outside to do her business, like she was lost or simply had forgotten what she was up to.
We took her to the vet, and he said she’s had a massive stroke, that she had to be put down. So we hugged her and loved on her and said our goodbyes. And as we held her, she got her injections that put her to sleep.
That was so very hard hard, but she was “still Cassie”; she still felt like our lovely wee dog. But when we took her home to bury her in the backyard, her body was limp and her head rolled, lifeless. That’s when the tears really came.
So, our sweet, smelly Cassie – the happiest, most forgiving dog we ever had – is gone. She’s the fourth dog our immediate families have lost in the last three years – all between ages 11-16.
Only Buddy the Moosedawg is left, at age 12, and with a huge tumour on his belly and bad hips, so his days are numbered.
The cycle of life continues. At times it’s so sad.
Bye Cassie. We love you.