When the weekend arrived, Ryan and I had one thing on the agenda: Fill our weekend with Sadie’s favorite things. To be honest, it’s a little hard to fill her days with all of her favorite things because so many of her favorite things are active activities she’s just not up for right now. She’s not up for long walks, endless rounds of fetch, a hike with the best smells and lots of sprinting or a boat day filled with hours of splashing and swimming on the lake. It breaks my heart a little to see her gravitate toward sleepy snuggles and couch time when the word “boat!” used to send her into a tail-wagging frenzy but we’re meeting her where she’s at right now and that looks like a lot of time at home with our family. Our velcro dog still very much wants to be with us so we make sure that wherever we are, she is and that seems to be enough for her right now.
Sadie had a relatively good day on Saturday. She ate chicken and sardines and her medicine hidden in butter. She followed the boys around in our yard and kept watch over them as they played various animal imagination games and found a puddle filled with tadpoles.
We didn’t think the boat was the best idea for her since a lot of balance is required and we knew it would be hard for her not to want to jump off the bow and swim so we opted for an afternoon at the little beach near our house. Sadie didn’t fly immediately into the water like she would have as little as a month ago but she trotted along the shore and hunted shadows, something that made my heart feel happy because I know it made her happy.
Saturday ended with a lot of cuddles and some tears. For the first time, I saw Sadie try to jump up on the couch to cuddle with us and struggle. I quickly lifted her up and curled her into my belly and praised her for all the amazing things we love about her and I cried. Now we’re nervous for her to try to jump up onto the couch or our bed and so when she follows us into a new room, we lift her up onto whatever soft surface she usually prefers to lounge on and she seems okay with our help.
There’s a lot going on in my head and my heart right now. I believe Sadie is not in pain right now. She just seems very tired and more willing for us to cater to her and help her. I don’t want her to feel pain and I want her to feel love and all of her normal doggie joy. Ryan and I are watching her constantly and noticing any small change — good or bad — that seems to surface. It’s hard. It’s all hard. Good changes are hard because they give us hope but I know “hope” realistically means a few more days with Sadie. Bad changes rip my heart open. Yesterday we saw more bad changes and we cried. A lot. I have a phone call scheduled with the vet today.
I cannot imagine our house without the sound of Sadie’s paws flying across the hardwood floor. I cannot imagine not seeing her head pop up when I call her name and her whole body wiggle as her tail flies back and forth. I cannot imagine going to sleep without her body pressed against mine. Ryan said it best — I’m not sad about the past. The past makes me smile. I’m sad about the future without our girl. I’m sad about everything she’s going to miss because everything is better with her in it.
Some small things that are helping us right now:
- The assurance we’ve received from many of you that we will know when the time is right. For the first few days I kept waiting for something horrible to happen. It felt like every minute I was on pins and needles waiting for the moment that would break my heart open. I’m trying to adjust to being grateful for every relatively “good” day we have with Sadie and trust that when she is ready somehow she will let us know.
- Looking into Lap of Love. I didn’t know a service like this existed and I’ve already filled out the form on the site and plan to turn to this service when the time is right. The thought of bringing Sadie into the vet — a place of anxiety for her — for her final moments filled me with guilt and dread and knowing we may be able to help her pass peacefully in our home brings me a little bit of comfort.
- Swapping hearts. I had someone send me an Instagram DM that said that we often hear that dogs take a piece of our heart with us when they go. She said that when she lost her dog, someone said we actually “swap hearts” with our beloved pets when they pass… So Sadie will take a part of our hearts with her but leave a part of her heart with us as well because of all the love we have given to each other. I just hate thinking of her being gone forever so thinking of us having part of her heart — the best part of our spunky, loyal, needy, loving, wonderful girl — meant a lot to me.
- Thank you sessions. I also received the below Instagram DM about “thank you sessions” and loved it so much. I’m sharing it below with permission:
Thank you, Sadie, for being the very best girl.