Sally Isn’t Long For This World

Soon, we’re going to have to put Sally, our Miniature Pinscher, to sleep.

She just turned 14, and for a few years has had some sort of neurological problem that messes with her legs. She can’t walk very well, she can’t climb stairs, and no matter how much she eats, she just continues to lose weight. She’s pretty damn near skeletal. She gets lost in low light, and she can’t hear a damn thing.

She pees and poops without knowing she’s doing it. You can see her surprise that it’s coming out. And since she’s in such bad shape, her pee is one of the most poisonous things I have ever smelled. It just about kills me to smell the stink.

But she’s still happy, still seems to love life, still loves to eat. It’s hard to say how I know that, but she just is. Clyde doesn’t sleep in our bed, but our little dogs do. Her spot has always been right at my side, between my armpit and my waist. I used to just tell her to get in her spot and she’d do it. Now I have to put her where I want her since she just stumbles across the bed like she’s drunk.

I’m not too shy to admit that I’m tearing up as I watch her wander around the room trying to get comfortable–it’s like she can’t quite get her back legs to do what she wants, but once she lies down, she settles into an old timer’s sleep and life is good until she gets to gobble up some more food. Then it’s perfect for a few minutes.

I just can’t let her go yet. I’m willing to put up with a little more pee just to give her a little more time gobbling up the food she loves, battling with Gretel and Clyde, and brightening up the world.

Soon enough, she’ll cross the threshold, and we’ll put her to sleep. I think that time is approaching fast. Maybe she’s down to a month, maybe weeks. I don’t know. I guess I’m ready for it.

You can read some more of my sentimental dog stuff by checking out the post I did when Ivan died years ago: My Ivan is Dead and Gone


5 Replies to “Sally Isn’t Long For This World”

  1. You have my most sincere sympathy. But also my empathy. She sounds very similar to our Sebastian who we put to sleep in January: He was 14 and a half and experiencing many of the same symptoms as Sally and many of the same mishaps. He was also eating and drinking with great relish. But our vet told us that a “healthy” appetite is no indication of health, and it was clear he was declining and in a lot of pain, though he was doing his best not to show us his struggle.

    We adopted him at age 8, with Lyme Disease and a failed racing career behind him, and we though he wouldn’t be around long. So we enjoyed everyday. At age 12, we figured we’d be counting the days. But he lived almost to age 15 and that’s extraordinarily old for a greyhound.

    We cried our eyes out when he went. Cried for about a week. And I’ll always miss him. The memories of all the extra cleanups and not being able to spend too much time away from the house have faded and we only remember Sebastian as he was when healthy.

    Good luck, Justin. You have the sympathies of my house.

    1. @KassMcGann Thanks, Kass. It really is just about the crappiest thing to experience. She has been living on borrowed time for about 2 years, but lately has just gotten worse. I saw on Facebook that you lost Sebastian and wanted to say some stuff, but I didn’t.

      I was pretty damn upset when Ivan died–it was a terrible loss for me. I guess I had expected him to carry on despite all odds since he had done so for a while already.

      And we lost Dulce, our Chihuahua, about year and a half ago, but I expected her to go when she did, so I think it wasn’t really a shocker.


      Nothing makes it any easier, though, that’s for damn sure.

      1. @JustinBarba @KassMcGann Truly. Nothing makes it easier. We lost Leo to bone cancer three weeks after his diagnosis. That was almost two years ago and we still can’t talk about him without getting choked up.But Sebastian… we’d been expecting it for so long that we thought it wouldn’t be so bad. And it certainly wasn’t as hard a blow as losing a supposedly healthy dog in three weeks. But it was still awful and I still question whether we did the right thing (even though I know we did).

        Our thoughts are with you.

        1. @KassMcGann @JustinBarba You both have my deepest sympathies.

          I agree – nothing at all makes it easier. I lost my cat Captain to colon cancer a year and a half ago, and I still can’t think of him without weight in my chest. It is hard not to cry when I do think of him, so I have to do it in measured doses.

          I was lucky with Captain. He was also a Bostwick patient, and the first time we did surgery and removed the tumor. I had two and a half more years with him. When it came back (as I knew it would) it was too far into his pelvic area to operate without breaking the bones. Captain was 19… I couldn’t put him through that. The decision to put him down came suddenly when he quit eating and couldn’t enjoy himself anymore. I held him during the shot (we had a vet come to the house)… and I have found nothing yet that is so exquisitely painful as holding a loved one of 16 years as they pass away.

          (Damnit, now I’m crying.)

          Like Kass… I wonder if I did the right thing when I did it.

          I’m so sorry. My heart is with you both.

  2. I’m so sorry…. I have always said that the worst realization in the world is that bad people long outlive our very best dogs. But, I also hold dear the thought that every pet we have, love and lose is a pet that will guide us to the next pet, and that next pet, every ounce of love we show it, is a love letter through time and space to the ones that came before. They never stop watching over us.

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