What do we do when our pets age?

I’ve been observing Sabrina the past few days and have come to the conclusion that I will be very fortunate if I get another year out of my beautiful Princess.

Her eyesight is deteriorating, as well as her hearing and most of the time she wants to sleep, even moving about is getting tougher for her. I’ve let my mom know too, “when she sleeps, let her.” When she does sleep, it’s like a coma sleep. I find myself stopping what I’m doing just to make sure she’s still breathing.

She just turned 14 on the 29th of August. She gets things to help her sleep, to help her anxiety, to help her move around. I’m committed to just enjoying her, easing off of her, letting her have however long we have left, to relax and simply be in as much peace as is possible. She deserves it. She has raised 14 years worth of dogs, chickens, baby chicks, birds, cats, everything, lol.

Even today, this Sunday morning, while I sit and watch a movie, she stumbles when she gets up because her tired body doesn’t really want to move. This is one of her harder days. Then once she gets going, she doesn’t want to lie down because she knows, it’ll be that much harder to get back up. So begins her pacing until I order her, “lay down,” as if she knows she should, but yet her mind doesn’t tell her to do the action until I give her the command to.

When she stands and watches me as if afraid to go to sleep, it breaks my heart. I go over to her and kneel down to kiss the top of her nose, hold her face in my hands, or wrap my arms around her neck. I can feel her ease beneath my touch as though the mere act has given her that much more time? Love? Comfort maybe. Beyond that, it reminds her she’s not alone. We both know she isn’t, but as time progresses, she seems so afraid at times, as though she will spontaneously be forgotten, or left alone. That too, breaks my heart.

That she ever fears being alone when the time comes breaks my heart the most. That she’d ever feel alone and forgotten because I know that pain all to strongly.I recently watched a video on 60 minutes where they studied the dog’s brain. The people found that when a dog looks at someone they love, oxytocin will release within them, and it produces a good feeling within. It is their equivalent of a hug. It explains why Sabrina will simply sit and stare at me for long periods of time now. It brings me comfort to know that the mere act of looking at me, looking into my eyes, will help her. A simple connection.

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I know it’s not her, but the anxiety of her growing older, and her mind deteriorating, but that doesn’t make it any easier to handle. It doesn’t break my heart any less. I’m strong for her though it’s hard. It gets harder each day. She has been with me since after my dad died. I have never left her alone and never been without her for a full days’ time. She has seen me through being raped when others walked out, when I lost everything, and far more than that.

To say it’ll break my heart to lose her would be an understatement.

It will shatter.

She is one of those true loves that one never recovers from. So I’m going to do my best with whatever time I have left, to learn the patience I lack with most things, to embrace her as often as I can, to remember the dog who went hiking with me in the woods, and not the aging one who fears being alone so she clings to me at times that tests my patience.

I will remind myself to truly focus on enjoying however days, weeks, months, or year(s) that I have left with her. And I will cross my fingers that the time is longer, rather than shorter. If the time comes when she is in more pain and struggles just to get through each day, I won’t selfishly cling to her just because I don’t want to let her go.

Her peace and happiness are my first priority.

That will be one of the hardest decisions I will ever make in life.

 

A video below of the fun trips we used to take with her.

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