On this hot, sunny Memorial Day 2018, Posey collapsed, and her life came to an end shortly thereafter. I knew when I picked her up from her bed in the dog room that whatever it was, wasn’t good; and I was pretty sure, as I drove to the emergency vet clinic with her, that I would be returning home without her.
Posey, as I mentioned in another post, came to me with her sister Peekaboo in the summer of 2015. They came from a hoarder in New York State who turned over some of her dogs to a NY Sheltie rescue; they were said to be littermates, and probably were. Both girls were 12 years old in 2015, and the birth date given for them was July 25, 2003. The veterinary hospital that examined Posey when the rescue took her in was pretty sure that Posey had mammary cancer: at any rate, she had quite a few encapsulated tumors in her mammary chain. She was not spayed, and apparently had been bred by her previous owner, we don’t know how many times. So when I took her and Peeks in June 2015, I thought Posey was a short-timer, as cancer would end her life.
And maybe it did, but her life didn’t end until May 28, 2018. Between June 2015 and May 28, 2018, Posey had a good time here, and she became part of our household and family. She was a friendly, easy-going dog who liked interacting with people and other dogs (in marked contrast to her sister, who is jumpy and anxious and downright paranoid!), and she liked her meals, her bed, and the back yard where she wandered around in the overgrown middle area and visited the pond (and fell in a few times, as recently as last week). After a year or so here, she had surgery to clean her teeth and remove quite a few that were broken or infected, and after that she seemed to feel much better and more alert in general. She and Peeks had the ‘dog room’ to themselves most of the time: the second bedroom in my 2-bedroom house is impossibly small for a bedroom, but nicely sized to hold a crate for Peeks, my bookshelves and cedar chest, and some dog beds for the Girls. The dog room is right off the living room, so the Girls were able to keep an eye on things without being underfoot.
For the last few days Posey had been much slower than usual. I thought she wasn’t feeling great, but she was almost 15 years old, and it’s been 95 degrees here – none of my dogs want to do much except come back inside and nap in the a/c. This morning Peeks and Posey had their breakfast, as usual, in the dog room, and went outside to visit their favorite spots in the yard. Posey finished off with a 10-minute sun-bath on the deck; it was about 9 a.m. so not broiling hot yet, but getting there. When she came back inside, she had a hard time walking back through the house to the dog room, and when she made it there, she stood with her head down, and seemed really out of it. I didn’t like that look, but it was even worse when she managed to lie down: she pretty much collapsed, and couldn’t even raise her head. She also had that fixed, blank look that I’ve seen on dogs in extreme conditions. When I scooped her up to carry her out to the car, she was a dead weight and unresponsive.
At the e-vet, which was busy at 9.30 on this holiday morning, I explained to the intake tech that I had a senior Sheltie who might be in end-of-life; they immediately took Posey back into an exam room while they left me to fill out paperwork. Then they came and got me, and a very nice vet asked me if I was ruling out treatment of Posey. “Because she’s a very sick dog,” the vet said, “She’s shocky, tachycardic, she will need a lot of treatment and I’m not sure what the outcome will be.” I explained Posey’s history and said that she would, if she were a human, have a DNR order on her. The vet understood. She started the EOL process and Posey was brought in to the exam room so I could spend some final time with her. She was still out of it, and her breathing was very fast and shallow. I have seen enough dogs before death that I knew the look when I saw it on Posey. After maybe a quarter of an hour, the vet came back in and asked if I wanted to stay with Posey during the euthanasia; I did, and it was very peaceful. She was so ready to go … she had burned through her reserve tank and like so many senior Shelties I’ve known, she was running on sheer will and heart at the end. I’m happy that she’s done with the body that was so worn-out. I like to think that my other Shelties, and Mikey my Lappy, are welcoming her to whatever dimension is on the other side of the door from this one.
If I had to guess, my guess would be that Posey did have cancer, and that it was quiet until recently but ultimately fatal. If not cancer, it might have been organ failure. At any rate, it was Posey’s time, and I’m glad I was there to make sure she was comfortable at the end.
Goodbye, Posey. You were a good dog, and you will be missed.
Here are the Merle Girls last week, heading back to the house after a stroll in the yard. Posey is in front of Peeks.