Friday, June 18, 2010

Our Girl Shalla, 1996-2010


Since I've shared the misadventures of our superhuman dog, Shalla, here in the past, I thought it appropriate to interrupt our regularly scheduled plugging (or non-plugging, as we have nothing to plug -- yet) for some sad news.

This evening, after watching her health decline rapidly in recent days, we said goodbye to our dear girl. She was 14.

Shalla was diagnosed with diabetes last fall. Since then, her state has varied from steady to shaky. During the last few days, she acted disoriented, wandering in and out of room after room on legs that were growing more unsteady by the day. Watching her struggle to pick herself up from a lie-down was painful. Tonight, when we came home, she lay on the living room floor, her breathing shallow, barely responsive to our calls. Cindy carried her out  as the three of us went to the car and up the street to the animal hospital. There, her regular vet checked her out and confirmed that a) she was dehydrated, which we suspected, despite having lots of water, b) she really wasn’t “with us” anymore, as we suspected from her behavior, and c) there was nothing else to do. We agreed; the tell-tale sign for us was that, for the first time in more than 11 years of vet visits, she wasn’t shaking all over.

When they brought Shalla in after prepping her, our 10-year-old son Greg said a tearful goodbye, as did we all, but couldn’t stay for The End, so Cindy took him outside (she would have stayed otherwise). He was very brave to stay that long, and we told him so. I remained for the procedure until she was gone, and thanked our vet and the staff for everything they’d done for Shalla and our other dog, Tucker, over the years. (I also told them that, eventually, we’d be back. I can’t imagine this house without a dog. Well, after I recover financially from this one.)

I cursed Shalla often for her many fights with Tucker, but I’m glad we didn’t get rid of her. When she was top dog around here, without “competition”, she was a sweetheart, and I’m glad we had a few years with just her around to experience that. It makes saying goodbye a lot harder, but that’s okay. It should be hard, even if it’s for the best.

Besides, if there’s a doggie heaven, you can bet Shalla has it all to herself. She'll be fine.

G’night, sweet pea. Sleep well.