As regular readers are aware, Yosha hadn’t been at his best for a while. A couple of weeks ago, though, he started getting even more lethargic, and pretty much stopped eating. We tried giving him food that actually tastes good; that helped for a while. But then it stopped helping, and he was having a hard time standing up. And was spending even more time asleep. And Zippy was really worried, and was grooming him a lot.
By last Monday or Tuesday, it was clear that the end was near, and while he didn’t seem to be in too much pain, things could get a lot worse any time. So we made an appointment to have him put down in the middle of the day on Friday. (Friday had the advantage that we could stay home with Zippy for three days in a row, to help him make a transition.)
As it turned out, he didn’t quite make it until then: he died Friday morning. In bed, quickly, with Liesl, Zippy, and me all right there.
It will be hard on Zippy – he has basically never ever been apart from Yosha. (Together at the vet, together getting haircuts, together at the kennel, …) Having said that, he seems to be handling it quite well: no despondent howling, no wandering around wondering what’s going on. He knew Yosha was sick, he was there when he died. (And groomed him for a few minutes afterwards, either as one last try to help or as a way to say goodbye.) He basically hasn’t left my side since it happens, but I think he’ll do okay.
It’s hard on the rest of us, too. I’m honestly not sure if I’ve spent more time with Liesl or with Yosha – Liesl and I spend time together out of the house without Yosha, of course, but Yosha and I spent time together in the house without Liesl, especially when I was in grad school.
Having said that, I suspect that most of the grieving went on in the two weeks before he died. It wasn’t a shock that something like this would happen eventually; we’d hoped it wouldn’t come quite soon, but we had enough warning to spend a little more time with him saying goodbye, cuddling with him even more more than normal. And it was very clear by the end that his time had come.
No, we aren’t planning to get another dog soon. For one thing, it has been my position for years that I’m going to need some dog-free time at some point. (Not that we won’t get dogs eventually, I’m just going to want a break for a few years there.) For another thing, I don’t think we’d be doing Zippy any favors by that: he’ll miss Yosha, but he’s 12 years old, and I don’t think he has enough energy to really enjoy playing with a puppy.
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