For the past few months I've watched my chihuahua, José, slowly deteriorate from the effects of diabetes. He's almost totally blind. Once in a while he's incontinent. And, although he's always loved to eat, he sometimes sniffs at his food, then goes back to his bed.
And it's sad. For the past 10 years of my recovery José has been a part of my life. I bought him 10 years ago to be a companion to a chihuahua that my aunt left me with when she died. Because I'm away from the house most of the day I didn't want her dog to be alone. So I bought José to keep her company. And that worked out pretty well. Even though her dog was older, José won her over with his playful ways.
And now I'm faced with the idea that one of these days – maybe sooner than I think – I'll have to put him to sleep. And that's the hard part for me.
It's difficult to think of getting rid of a friend who has greeted me every day for the past 10 years when I came in the door. No questions about "where have you been?" Or, "what have you been doing?" All that I have gotten from José is unconditional love and loyalty.
I've done some research about the right time to put an animal sleep. The consensus seems to be that when the animal is suffering and has no hope of recovery.
I know that when the time comes I'll be able to deal with it. And I'll walk away with gratitude for the years he was with us.
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