Written through a veil of shock and tears, for less than 36 hours ago Paxil seemed healthy and happy. She was an older dog, but showed no signs that she was ready to move on.
Last night I came home to find Paxil stuck in her favorite dog house, unable to figure out how to turn around or move backwards to get out. She was clearly not feeling well so I carried her into the house and settled her on her bed, right inside the door beside the woodstove; a spot she claimed when she first arrived here and rarely ventured from if she was in the house. She wouldn't eat but she drank some water.
This morning she could not stand on her own. She had not made a sound all night or given a single kiss. This was a dog who talked all the time about everything and anything. There was no point wearing make-up around Paxil, she would just lick it off. My kissy girl.
We loaded her into the van for a trip to the vet, knowing that it was unlikely she was coming home again. She spent the day at the clinic. Our vet believes she had a mass in her stomach, perhaps an aggressive reoccurance of the mast cell cancer she had previously beaten. That mass started to bleed and sent a clot either to her spinal cord or her brain. The vet, sweet Dr. Candace, offered to do some tests and x-rays to determine where the clot was, but that knowledge would not have changed the outcome. Paxil was slipping away, her body slowly shutting down. Whatever made her my special girl was already gone. I sat with her until it seemed she starting to struggle to breath. Then I asked Candace to help her cross. Paxil offered no resistance and left her failing body gently.
Paxil changed my life. The very first time I ever stood on the runners of a dog sled and asked a team to "gee", she was my lead dog.
She was perfect then and I was hooked. A couple years later, the opportunity to bring Paxil here presented itself and I was delighted to offer her a semi-retirement home. She loved being a house dog who still pulled. She was the lead dog musher's dream about...responsive, consistent, she never missed a command, she always knew the way home, she was smarter than her musher, a trait that saved us from a couple long, cold nights in the bush! When she retired at the start of this season, I seriously considered it myself. There will never be another like her in my team or my heart. There are a whole bunch of recycled sled dogs here who owe her their home, for without her I would have no need for sled dogs of any kind!
I will miss her bossing me around; how she always pushed me out of the way to get in the door first, like I was going to steal her favorite spot if I got there before her; how she always waited until I was comfortable before deciding that she needed fresh water; how she followed me around the yard prancing and wooing her tales; that silly spotted tongue and her soft brown eyes.
I hate that empty blanket by the door. I hate that she didn't trip me today and that there is only one bowl of old house dog food being served tonight. I hate that she never told me she was so ill. And I am grateful she never told me, that she didn't suffer or linger for months; that she made it very clear when she needed to go.
Rest well, my girl. You earned it. Thank you..............