I've had the Post New Entry page up here for a few hours trying to figure out how to begin this... I guess perhaps this is the best way to do it: I don't know.
When I said the Dreaded real life was attacking, I didn't realize it was attacking this strongly. One of my family's two dogs just died Monday, Penny. Golden Retriever, only 9 years old (compared to an average 12). We got Penny a few years after our last dog, Duke died (he was also a Golden, and lived to an amazing 15 years). She was an excitable puppy, and I remember she liked to try to eat a yellow ended toy golf club, and she was convinced that carpet was her territory for a long time. Once tamed, and for so many years, she was the sweetest dog you could imagine. She loved to high-five (I taught her that'n!), and get brushed. She'd sometimes run like a bullet all over the yard, chasing a ball or just for fun. She liked to chase ducks in water, and on land she liked to chase squirrels, though if she caught them she hadn't the foggiest idea what to do with them, and just let 'em wriggle loose. She enlisted dutifully in the War Against Cats, as the Sphinx Queen of the Upstairs, Hunter, will attest, but was always outsmarted, lol. Most of all she liked walks in the neighborhood or in metroparks. Lately she had to get used to Ezzy, the second dog (I think her name is technically spelled "Esne", but we just call her Ezzy, lol--she was adopted from a dog rescue service my parents are part of), and a regular part of the day
Unfortunately, she wasn't as lucky as Duke in her old age. This wasn't a total surprise; she had had epilepsy for several years, and probably lived a lot longer than she would have if we hadn't gotten her on epilepsy pills. I still remember the day we found that out--we'd just finished watching Jurassic Park on some TV channel, and I looked over at Penny, and her eyes had turned red. I tell ya, not fun, especially since nobody had any idea what that meant (it was a seizure). The pills stopped that, thankfully. (Why is it that that feels like just yesterday?)
Lately, she started to drag slightly behind on walks, which we of course just assumed was arthritis, since she was old... But it got worse, and she seemed to have trouble breathing... and one night she was coughing up blood. It turns out she was anemic, and nobody could figure out why. That was back in early August, and she just got worse from there. All along she was as sweet as always--the emergency vet remarked that there are three kinds of pets--dogs, cats, and Golden Retrievers. Goldens like Penny are just so friendly. We put her on medicine that seemed to help for a while, but she wasn't showing the right side effects of wanting to eat a lot that the medicine was supposed to make (instead, it was hard to get her to eat). She got weaker and weaker, until we discovered that her muscles were shrinking. Near the end, she couldn't even stand up on her own, her neck felt thinner than my wrist, and her leg muscles were practically not there. It was like my member name "bones" had become real for Penny.
I got to say goodbye on Monday morning before heading into classes--we expected what might be coming, and my parents took her to the vet while I was in class. All day I knew that she might be put down, and I tell ya, that was for me the worst part, being in class while it ended. It was the second week of classes, and missing now would be unwise, but I feel like I should have been there. I was there when Duke died, and I'd always thought I'd be there for Penny. She had to be put down--the vet found a tumor that was literally sucking her blood away from the rest of her body. They couldn't even get blood into the legs to take a blood test.
And then she was gone.
I still can't believe it, I don't think it's sunk in. On the one hand it wasn't a surprise, but on the other, she was way too young for her breed to die already. And it all happened so fast. One week everything was normal, the next we were already used to her having to struggle to stand up. Now it just feels like she has slipped into a different room and she'll walk back in any second. I'm just glad I did get to say goodbye, and she was still responsive at the time.
Well. I hope this does her justice in some small way--we'll miss you Penny!