On several occasions, I have lamented on my blog her persistent health problems. She wasn't so sick that she would die early on her own, but she wasn't ever healthy enough to be really happy. It all comes down to some kind of severe ear allergies that she has. It has led to blood pocket buildups in her ears (think water balloons), and a lot of general discomfort.
Carolina and I have agonized over her for the last year and 1/2 or so. We never could get in agreement on what was best. One of us would want to put her to sleep, but the other would want to keep trying. Periodically, we would reverse stances. Somehow, we ended up bringing her along to Nashville.
Here in Old Hickory, she didn't have a good life. Carolina wouldn't walk her without me going along. I've been working close to 70 hrs/week getting all the major events together this summer, and haven't had time to walk her or give her attention. In Searcy, even though we were sometimes busy, there was a big window at our back door so she could see what was going on. Here in Nashville, she was isolated in the backyard. No window in and nothing to do. We felt sorry for her, but really didn't have the time to do anything about it.
Her ears continued to be bad, and I had gotten so frustrated with trying new medications and paying huge vet bills with no results. I could no longer justify spending money on a dog we didn't even have time for. Finally, Carolina and I managed to agree on what to do, so I called up the vet to make an appointment to have her put to sleep.
We went to the vets office after snapping some last pictures (see above) and they took us to the back room. The vet's assistant came and saw her first, then went to the back where I heard some whispering.
Then the vet came out and took a look at her and got seemingly perturbed. Our conversation went something like this:
VET: No! She does not need to be put to sleep. I didn't go through ___ years of vet school so I could just put animals to sleep. There are other options we haven't tried! There is allergy testing, there are allergy shots, there is another dog food, there is........(on and on)So what I discovered is that when you try and force an animal lover's trigger finger, it arouses all their compassion. In the end, though the vet thinks I'm a bad person, we found an option that we're happy with. We paid the $85 cost (euthanasia + pet cemetery) and this lady is going to try and find Dora a new home. If they can't, then they'll put Dora to sleep (and this lady even said "I would take her home myself before I would dream of putting her to sleep").
ME: (interrupting) I know there are other options, but will YOU pay for them? I'm tired of having to chase her around the yard to put more stuff in her ears that she hates. No to mention that nothing so far has made any difference.
VET: The allergy testing only runs about $250-$300, and the shots are not that expensive...
ME: If you want to come to my house once a week and give her the shots, you're welcome to do it, but I just simply cannot keep doing this. I've tried and tried for two years now, and where she is, she really doesn't have a good life. We cannot keep doing this.
VET: Well, instead of putting her to sleep, would you be willing to let me help try and find her a home?
ME: Could you? I've tried calling friends and relatives and I've advertised, and NO ONE will take a sick dog. But if you know of anyone, I'd love for her to live in a better home.
Dora is a wonderful dog with a great disposition. I really hope she finds a home with some rich people who have loads of free time. We were sorry to see her go, but I think we did what was best for her. Her life wasn't good as it was, and I simply could not justify spending everything in our emergency savings to try and make a sick dog more comfortable. It just wasn't best for our family.
We made that decision just before we left for church camp, and we're convinced it was the right one. I really worried that we would have depression and be miserable every time we looked in the back yard and she wasn't there. In reality, we just feel relief. She really had been a huge burden on us--emotionally, temporally, and relationally--and our life has been less stressful without her. We love her, but it wasn't what's best for either of us if we decided to keep her.
So in case you were wondering, that's what happened with Dora.