There comes a time when you have to make the decision. You fight it, you change your mind, and you read 10,000 blogs about “when”. You second-guess yourself.
And, on the appointed day, Caleb arises with more vigor than recent days, and you go over the decision all over again.
These photos represent to me the best of Caleb, even if surprisingly, 2 of them were taken the last week/day of his life. He was a charmer by looks if not temperament. That said, he was always a trooper. Our cats would join us on our evening walk down the driveway and run towards him at high speed, he never snapped at them. He would go outside in any kind of weather, and while often dwarfed by the snow, I always think he enjoyed winter best of all. God knows he had the coat for it. It was a magnificent coat, and disguised his age and frailty this past year.
His poolside antics were legendary, MUST HERD SWIMMMERS, MUST HERD SWIMMERS, MUST HERD….. He would bust through a screen if he heard someone jump in the pool.
In recent months, he grew quite anxious and yes, senile. With both his vision and hearing impaired, I can’t imagine the confusion he felt. The pacing never stopped unless he got himself caught in a corner. He still came out every evening before dinner and then again after dinner, but he had slowed considerably. Every step down was a leap of faith for him; he had no idea what would happen when he landed.
In the past week we kept asking ourselves if he was still having some good moments, and concluded that the only good moments were when he was sleeping. He still looked so young, in particular when at rest.
We called the vet; we had a good morning with him. He gave us a laugh. If you have watched All Creatures Great and Small, there is a classic episode where a dog is moaning and barking for hours while sedated. Tristan Farnon takes to the bottle, his nerves are so shattered by the howling.
Well, that was our Caleb this morning after we gave him his meds. I had never heard him make such noises, but we knew he was not in pain. I took him in my arms, and brought him to see Dr. Judy. She had always said she hoped he never got sick, as unlike Wicket, he was not a gentleman in her gentle hands. Did pretty well on that accord, 16 years and only one major health scare.
I had the best few moments hugging, kissing, and petting him…. Something he would NEVER tolerate when alert. I hope he enjoyed these last moments, as he relaxed and was put to rest.