I knew this day was coming. Yesterday, Goldie fell at my mom's house and could not get up on her own for about 5 minutes. She struggled, helpless, on the lawn with my mom unable to help her. I wasn't there and mom is in a wheelchair. She called me, sobbing, saying she could not do it anymore. I had been watching Goldie tiptoe around in pain, her legs collapsing underneath her, getting a little worse each day.
So today was the day I said goodbye. It took all day of going back and forth, changing my mind, thinking "Maybe one more month..." She would have some good moments and I'd think that I couldn't, and then she got stuck coming up the 2 big steps into the house, and I knew I had to. Back and forth, all day, but I had made a 3 pm appointment at the Humane Society, and we ended up going for that one last ride.
On the way home from the Humane Society, I realized how much of my heart has been caught up in her struggle. I have been feeling dead, lost, trapped - all at once.
And now, even though I have the great sadness of missing her, I'm also feeling as if I am crawling out from under a great weight.
When I got Goldie, the shelter told me she was middle-aged (they were wrong - she was much younger). I liked the idea that she could be my first dog, a kind of practice dog that I'd have for a few years and not get so terribly attached to.
I was so laughably wrong about all of that. 10 years, 2 months and 25 days later I don't see how I could have been more terribly attached. We had a great, close, adventurous life together and I'll always be thankful for every bit of it.
I think the most fitting epitaph is what I said to her every single day of her life: "What a GOOD girl."