For weeks I have felt selfish and put off making that final call to the vet. When Axel fell down the stairs a few times on Sunday I knew I had to make a decision. If my boy broke his hip he would be in more pain than he was now. Was this the right decision? If his medication was changed could he live another month or two? Was killing the best friend I ever had really necessary? For the past few weeks there have been many doubts, grief, and overwhelming guilt. For months the pamphlet “How to Know When It’s Time” has stared back at me on the kitchen counter.
“My boy” still ate, played with his ball, even though I knew he could barely see it because of his rare eye disease. How could I know if Axel was really happy living like this? He never complained much, but the groans had become more frequent and louder. It took time for him to lay down, and he had stopped sitting months ago.
Last night as he watched Christmas movies with me I knew it was time, and so did he. This morning we both had our final answer as he stared at me silently from his blanket next to my bed. His eyes told me he was just going through the motions and his hips and legs might not make it through the winter.
Axel had always been known as the family dog who loved to bark at the neighbours and chase squirrels. He joined our family in 2004, but in 2012 when Angelo developed cancer, the bond between Axel and myself became very strong. After everyone went home the night Angelo died- the house became silent and forbidding. Axel came up to me and nudged his head under my arm, and from that second, that minute after, he never left my side.
Today he was so crippled with arthritis I had to struggle to lift him into the car. There were many last hugs as we walked across the parking lot to his final frontier–the front door of the Valley Veterinarian Clinic. My closest friend licked my hand one last time, and again, I wondered if I was doing the right thing.
Without him I am lost, without comfort and peace. His head on my knee healed many times of sadness and loneliness. When he was beside me he protected me from the dark and unknown things. My last words to him were full of love and tears. I told him to wait for me, and to find me when my time is near. As I hugged him I repeated what I have told him thousands of times— that he was a good boy and I will always need him. No matter where Axel is–he will always be my dog.
Bluemist Volker Aksel (Axel) was given peace from pain at 4:00 PM December 1, 2015.
February 10, 2004- December 1 2015
Son of Vontilo’s Storm and Bluemist Britta Ronny’s Girl
Brother and friend to Perry and Schuyleur
May he rest in peace- his family and friends mourn his loss.
Thank you to the Valley Veterinarian Clinic in Carleton Place for their kindness and compassion.
Till Milkbone Do Us Part — a story about Axel..