Anyone who reads this blog knows that our pets are beloved members of our family. Readers probably also know that one member of the family has been failing recently. Our sweet boy Nicky has lost about 20 pounds and is struggling with arthritis. This week he lost the ability to go upstairs by himself. His back legs just won't support him.
I've been praying that when his time comes he will go quietly in his sleep to wait for us at the Rainbow Bridge. (Yes, I know the whole Rainbow Bridge thing is theologically bogus..... but I'm a Universalist when it comes to dogs.) Now, however, I am beginning to think it won't be that easy. How does one decide when the quality of life no longer balances out daily suffering? Is it selfish for me to keep him with us when he is obviously struggling? Are we giving up on him if we 'put him down'?
The truth is I didn't think he would survive our recent move. I thought the changes in routine would be too disorienting for him. It took him a few weeks, but he settled in quite nicely to life in Vermont. His life is pretty limited ~ the house, the back yard ~ but he has seemed happy most days. No matter what we decided in the next few days, I will always feel blessed to have this sweet rescue dog in my life. From the first moment I saw him ~ hitched to a tree behind the kennel ~ I knew he was family.