I feel I’m finally at a place to discuss Daphne’s passing openly on the blog. For the benefit of those who may be sensitive to the topic, feel free to scroll right past this post.
Daphne was a “slow and steady” dog throughout her entire life, taking her time with everything and never getting too worked up over anything. Her decline in health kind of happened in a similar way. She started slowing down, sleeping more, being sassy less, and overall just not being as active as she usually was.
Admittedly, last summer we thought for sure that her time with us was up. She was struggling with getting up and moving, and after a visit to the vet she given the diagnosis of plain old age. The vet gave us two options, either to euthanize her or to try a heavy anti-inflammatory to help her mobility. I thought that I had wrapped the idea that this was going to be the end for her, but the moment the vet brought that up I just couldn’t bare to do it. I opted for the medicine and hoped for the best.
For some reason, whether it was the meds or her pure stubbornness, Daphne persevered and finished out the summer. She seemed lively and happy once winter came, as she always did, and enjoyed the cold weather. She still struggled with stairs and I had to let her outside through the basement door, and if she wanted to come upstairs to be social I had to carry her up. Somewhat thankfully, her old age meant she had lost a lot of weight, so it was a relatively simple task. She had also lost quite a bit of her hearing and started to lose control of her bowel, so if I didn’t let her out first thing in the morning I had poop nuggets to clean up. I didn’t mind so much since her bladder was still under control.
She mostly spent hours just sleeping and there were several occasions where either Kyle or myself had to poke her to make sure she was still alive. A couple times she didn’t respond right away, which always created a panic attack, but after a couple nudges she’d lift her head with a “What the hell do you want?” look in her eyes and I’d smile and leave her alone.
It wasn’t until the snow started to melt that she really started to show a decline in health. She barely ate anything and soon she started to become so weak that she couldn’t get up. As a result, she started peeing herself and that’s when I knew that it was time to make that tough call and do what was best for her.
Kyle took care of that phone call to the vet for me so I didn’t have to, and I’m so grateful. I honestly don’t think I could’ve gone through with it if the task was left to me. I had a couple days to prepare myself and explain to Isla what was happening.
(Thanks to the Incredible Dr. Pol, she understood the process quite well, although she was quite sad to hear the news.)
Those were a tough couple of days, and I honestly didn’t think she was going to make it to the vet. The night before our appointment, we had steak for dinner and I hand-fed her the leftovers. Aside from playing in fresh snow, I don’t think I had ever seen her so happy. She got a lot of cuddles that night.
The morning of was sombre. Kyle and I dropped the girls off at my mom’s and drove to a little trail to get Daph get some last sniffs and scents in. She struggled walking, but she did seem to enjoy the smells. We found a bench to sit on and just press pause for a few moments, and that’s when a kind, older woman passed by and commented on how beautiful Daphne was. I tried to keep my emotions in check as the woman continued on, but I was done and just wanted to sadly get the morning over with.
While Daphne normally started stressing out when we had vet appointments, on this particular day she was strangely calm, as if she knew what was going to happen and that she was ready. The clinic had a nice blanket laid out for her, and after her IV was inserted she just calmly laid on it. The vet soon came in, and I while I couldn’t bare to look at Daphne during the process I never let her go. I didn’t want to stop stroking in between her ears and I still find myself desperate to give her one last scratch. I never thought losing a pet would hit me so damn hard, but I still miss her so much to this very day, just over a month later.
I honestly cannot thank Kyle enough for being there for me. I know it wasn’t easy for him either, but I’m glad he helped me through it all. And of course, the vet clinic was absolutely amazing and compassionate. They had her paw prints pressed in ink for us and mailed them to our house with a lovely card and note.
Not too long after she had passed, her ashes had been returned to the clinic to be picked up. It felt severely odd carrying her out in a little brown gift bag, but I was happy to have her “back,” per-say. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with her remains, but I know nothing will happen until the snow flies once more.
3 thoughts on “Until the snow flies”
So sorry for your loss Kara, the whole family knows and feels your grief. My dog Rusty’s ashes are still on the mantle as we can’t seem to let him go. Seems so final and he has been gone 7 years! Cherish the memories and find comfort in knowing you gave Daphne a good long life. Love and hugs to you all, Kelly
I’m so so sorry about your loss. My mom had to suddenly put her 12 year old lab down on Mother’s Day. It was so tough. You gave Daphne such an amazing amazing life!
It is so, so hard, Kara. Losing our best friend is like ripping our heart out. It’s been nearly four months since I lost Dutch and while not a day goes by where I don’t think about him and I still sometimes wake up and think he’s next to me, it has gotten easier and the grief has gotten less raw. <3 Thinking of you!