Saturday, January 31, 2009
I haven't seen Babs in a week. I figure she's passed on.
She hadn't been eating much lately. By itself, that was no big deal - she and the neighbor's terrier would alternate eating here and at their place. For several days, the dog dish couldn't be filled often enough, then it would sit full for several days.
It wasn't unusual not to see her for a couple days - often she was visiting the neighbors when I got home late and she was off asleep in her doghouse when I left early - like 5am-ish. She wasn't always here waiting for me to get home.
Winters seemed to be getting to her more each year. She never did her happy dance this winter. She didn't want to climb the steps to the porch for her treats at times. I could never tell if she was in pain - she hid that very well. I felt her joints and there was no indication - which didn't surprise me. She might well have been in severe pain, but just refused to show it. She was the same way with some infected bites she received over the years - they had to hurt, but I never was allowed to know it. Her pain was manifest in her lack of trust for humans - she had no problem showing that.
Last weekend, the last time I saw her, I had to hand deliver her treats. She wagged her tail, and ate one. Again, no obvious signs of pain, just that she apparently didn't feel well. Lackluster would describe it pretty well.
There was no way I was going to get her to a vet. She had never ridden before, and had absolutely no interest and in fact a great deal of fear regarding a pickup ride. She never wore a collar. Anything "new" like that sent her running for cover. Whoever abused her did a good job - she was basically scared of just about everything. Babs liked things a certain way and the same way all the time. Familiarity was her friend. New experiences were to be avoided.
She was a survivor, though. She wasn't afraid to eat a lot of things that disgust us - like cat turds, cow pies and such. She had been on her own for quite some time before she landed here and I started trying to gain her trust.
My neighbor hadn't seen her, either. Her doghouse is empty. The spot in the bushes where she liked to nestle is empty.
My heart is empty.
I think maybe I should have tried to get her to a vet, but then I remember how she was. I'd have had to hold her and let someone else drive just to get her there. I'm not sure how she'd have reacted if she was panicked and trapped.
She had an air of privacy around her all the time I was lucky enough to know her. Going off to die quietly and without bothering me would fit the way she seemed to act all these years. It wouldn't have bothered me. I wish I had found her in her doghouse or another favorite spot. I could have buried her with the other family pets out by the shelterbelt. I hope the coyotes haven't molested her. I hope I did enough for her over the years - that this was a happy home for her.
She was such a quiet, unassuming dog with a big, scarred heart. I really have no good ending for this, so I'm just gonna quit now.