I never trained Gusta as some people train their dogs to obey commands. A dog obeying commands wasn’t something I needed. I think she appreciated that.
I took care of food, water, exercise and shelter. She took care of me, always, just being there – curious about everything with an odor, getting excited anytime anyone came through the door. Every fresh face or smell got attention. She quit being excited about me ages ago, unless I was peeling a banana, opening yogurt or dishing ice cream in which case she rushed to the kitchen with pup-thusiasm.
On Friday Gusta collapsed, as she has a few times lately. This time, different. It was a legs-out-from under her event which repeated several more times until early Friday afternoon her breathing got labored, and then subsided.
And then she was gone. I held her as she went from warm to cold …
After her first time last fall I’d learned seizures are common among aging Golden Retrievers and a sign life is nearing its end-point. I learned to help/console her as she would come around. Their occurrence infrequent but exhausting.
Morning walks lately with Gusta – far less about exercise and more about dog-toileting. At 14, ripe age for any breed, she’d gotten slow, wouldn’t go very far – failing eyesight, hind-quarters failing, eating habits changed, frequent incontinence, bright light and loud noise sent her hiding.
I recall debating ‘getting a dog v. not getting a dog’. Never a regret – sweet memories of Gusta underfoot, hanging around, always ready for heavy-petting or to snatch something tasty dropped on the kitchen floor …
P.S.: for those considering getting a dog – some people will bend your ear about costs of dog food, vet bills, carpet and furniture damage, kennel fees and the inconvenience of having a dog in your life. That’s all true. Completely worth it, adding value to your life you could never take to any bank.