Leaving an older dog behind at home
Looking back on her early years over these past few weeks has made me realize how far we have come – both of us. We are as close as any dog and owner can be. She is my co-pilot, my friend, my cuddle-buddy and my companion. She has made so much progress in the six years she has been with me, more than I ever could have hoped.
And while she is still active and agile and happy, I have started to notice a little stiffness in her hips that was not there before. It is a reminder that our time is limited and that she soon may not be able to enjoy our long walks through the woods as she does now.
Maybe that’s why reading Carrie’s blog post (Separation Anxiety) on Tales and Tails this past weekend touched a chord with me. In it she talks about leaving her Greyhound, Bunny, behind so she can take their new and younger girl, Flattery, out to get some more experience with being in public. Her words “I know that she’ll be okay when I leave home without her, and she has been, but I feel like I can’t even look her in the eye when I take Flattery and leave her behind.” so resonated with me.
I remember feeling the same way when I left Aspen behind while I took a much younger Daisy to the dog park. Aspen had always come with us when we walked. She had always been so happy to go, it was her favorite part of her day. But as she got sicker and weaker and was unable to walk long distances any more, I had to make the difficult (and heartbreaking) decision to leave her at home. I still remember the guilt I felt in doing so. Oh Aspen still got her own much shorter walk at home, but it wasn’t the dog park. It wasn’t what she loved.
Now as Daisy gets older, I worry about having to make a similar decision for her some day soon. I think it would kill me a little inside to do so. She loves the dog park so much. It is where she first learned how to be a dog; where she learned that people could be trusted. It’s where she learned about friends and the joy of running through fields, and playing chase, and sniffing out new smells.
How could I take that away from her? I hope I won’t have to make that decision, but still, after reading Carrie’s post, it weighs on my mind.
Have any of you had to face making a similar decision? how did you handle it? Did you feel the guilt too?