Softly nearing the end
It’s quiet in the house. Matt took the big kids to the track with him and I just put Audrey to bed. Usually Beau is my shadow during this time, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t in my room and he wasn’t in the hallway, which is somewhat unusual for him.
We started Beau on Prozac a few weeks ago. I just couldn’t handle watching him suffer as he had been. Ever since the water incident in the house, he hasn’t been the same. Stress caught up to him; he didn’t like the new smells or the sights or the sounds, and we finally decided enough was enough. We did the thunder shirt, the composure, the melatonin, the benadryl. We did the white noise, the classical music while away, the gating off into certain parts of the house.
But when I am away, I worry about him. When I am away, I fear he’s freaking out and I’m not there to help him. He won’t go outside after dark without major coaxing or cheese. He can’t see the way he used to. His hearing isn’t the same. It’s scary to him.
So, when we got home from vacation, I made an appointment with the vet, and we finally started him on a medicine that’s giving him a better quality of life.
Did I feel like an absolute failure? At first, yes, I most absolutely did. But here’s the thing – it’s not about me. It never was. It’s about Beau and the fact that every time he freaked out over a sound or a new hole made in the house, or a stranger coming in to take measurements, it was killing him.
Anxiety and depression, in adults, is often treated like it’s a joke. It’s not real. You can’t see it. So how is it really a thing?
But it is. And in dogs, imagine how you feel; anxious or sad, and then unable to communicate that with anyone. He would look at me, and I knew. I knew he was suffering and when I signed those adoption papers, I swore that I would give him the best retirement he could, because I don’t know how he was (mis)treated in the past. He deserves what I can give him.
So I came downstairs and saw him laying on the floor, sleeping soundly. I sat down next to him and he didn’t stir. I know that he won’t live forever. I know that he’s on the downhill slope. There are days I wonder if we have months, not years. I know he’s 11, and a big breed. I know this. But it’s hard all the same thinking about it. So I gently touched his head, and he lifted it and looked at me.
I like that look so much better than the ones before. His look was saying, “Thank you.”