The death panel met repeatedly during the last week, without really getting convinced one way or the other about the best course of action for its charge. Sure, the patient was old and had many conditions, any one of which could be painfully terminal within a year. However, as the panel was meeting, the subject demonstrated a renewed, hearty appetite and actually ran during her daily walks. The subject of the panel's debate was our 13-year-old Pomeranian, Opal, a dog internationally famous for her page-turning skills.
The last two nights, Opal weighed with her own view on the debate. From about midnight 'til about 4 AM, she affirmed that it was time to go. Not "time to go" in the way that a dog complaining in the middle of the night means it. Time to go in the way meant by a dog suffering, uncomprehendingly, from kidney stones and renal problems. Lots of narcotics were given, but they took a long time to calm the agitated panting and restlessness, and left Opal kind of foozy and sore the following day. Not the way for a dog to be. The gall bladder that was supposed to be operated on turned into the least of her worries.
So, today, we took Opal to a friend/vet at her farm, where she was given a dose of muscle relaxant and sedative. After resisting it, twitching like she was falling asleep, she became calm in my arms--calm like she had not been in weeks. She was given a shot of a fatal cocktail, and within minutes her breathing and pulse coasted to a halt. She now lies beneath the big oak tree at our new farm, and will become part of the sod.
Opal was a really sweet, charmingly weird, nice dog. I'm sad, of course, but I know that she had a pretty good and long life, she gave us wonderful memories that will make us laugh and cry years from now, and we gave her with what I hope was the best death possible. What more can be hoped for in any life? Requiescat in pace, and may her memory be for a blessing.