I came home from grocery shopping today to a quiet house. Relatively quiet, I should say, because I have 2 kids and a dog, Pippin. Until yesterday, he was one of 2 dogs that lived with us. Lucy died yesterday in the front room. From her position, I suspect that she was on her way to my daughter's room - her favorite person in the house. My daughter is recovering from a bug and has been sleeping most of the time. Yesterday, she spent most of it on the couch, with Lucy sitting on the floor. She often did this when my daughter was around. Before she woke up every morning, you would find Lucy in front of my daughter's room, waiting for her to open the door. She would follow my daughter to the bathroom and wait for her. Sometimes, when I was in the bathroom, Lucy would push the door open with her nose to see if my daughter was in there. When she didn't see the person she was expecting, she would turn and leave (!).
Lucy was fiercely protective of us, barking at dogs that perhaps threatened our lives. No matter that most of those dogs were on a leash and smaller than her, but I don't think she cared. Her appetite for attention was unlike anything I had ever known and demanded it of everyone who visited. She was very affectionate and often snuggled her little nose on my hand so that I would pet her. She visited my husband during his long work days at home to keep him company (and to ask to be let out). She let my son cuddle her tightly without getting upset and allowed my daughter to dress her up in outfits that no other dog would (dogpants, anyone?).
Lucy loved sitting on anything soft, a detail we forgot when we installed hardwood floors last year. She spent many hours in our bedrooms to lie on the carpet. For her Christmas present, my husband bought a doggy bed for her, which she shared (sometimes) with Pippin. He has it all to himself now. I found him in it all day today. I think he misses her too. She was pretty possessive of her toys and especially "her" food. I used to get annoyed when she would growl at Pippin whenever he would try to eat from the second food bowl in the kitchen. (Really?!??) There was always more than enough for both of them to eat, but all of it was hers until she was done. I always thought this was interesting, because he was the first dog in our home. Naturally, I thought that he would be the alpha dog, but she decided otherwise.
We took her to our vet this morning, on the towel that her first mom gave to us for her. We said our last goodbyes and I shared all the things that I wanted to remember about her. I took off her collar, left the room, and that was it.
On the ride home, it occurred to me that although it was painful to see her take her last breaths, she took them in a home she loved, near people that love her, in familiar surroundings. She was happy and mostly painfree for the last years of her life. My children, husband, and I did not have to watch her age and fall victim to blindness, deafness, and anything else that could have affected her quality of life. We didn't have to decide to euthanize her to save her from pain.
My husband mentioned last night that had he known it was her last day, he would have bought her some wet food to eat and spent a few more minutes petting her.