On Wednesday, February 8, 2017, Phoenix, my 15-1/2 year old Portuguese Water Dog, passed with the help of my loving vet, who was so wonderful that she agreed to come to out to our home so that Phoenix could pass without any fear.
I will forever be grateful to my vet for helping Phoenix. As hard as it is for us who lose our dog, it is just as hard for the vet who has to perform that last service for our pet. We were both crying and blowing our noses during the procedure.
How do we know when it is time to say good-bye?
In some circumstances, it is an easy decision. The dog may pass in their sleep with no intervention required from us. With others, the dog might have a heart attack or a stroke that makes their life so precarious, it is easy to make the decision to help them cross.
With some of my dogs, this decision was not so obvious. It came down to the point where I could do nothing to improve their quality of life, that while their mind was still mostly intact, their body had failed so much that I could no longer take care of them. This is what happened to Phoenix. She could no longer stand up for me so that I could bathe her, and her capacity to walk outside to go potty was failing. She could not get up from the floor without help and most recently, she could not lay down without help. She did manage to walk mostly on her own.
For about a year and half before Phoenix’s passing, she started falling off the bed at night when we were sleeping. I knew then that she needed help to keep her safe. So we moved a twin bed set into the bedroom for her to have her own human bed right next to ours. I also built steps so that she could walk up onto the twin bed. I was amazed how well she adapted to this, and it brought me joy to see her laying on her bed that was cushioned with many pillows to keep her from knocking into the wall.
Phoenix managed quite well with this setup from the age of 14 to 15-1/2 years. Phoenix was a sweet, sweet dog who never complained and loved everyone she met. In her youth, she loved to swim, walk faster than I could, and roll on her back in the grass.
Rest in peace, Sweet Phoenix.
I will see you one day on the Other Side.