So, it's been about 24 hours since I had Marley's head in my hands, locked eyes with him and felt the spirit of that beautiful animal leave.
Thursday we witnessed the dizzying descent.
He seemed to plummet.
Unable to put any weight on his back legs, his spirit still pushing him to play.
He was would fall and then pull himself up and then collapse again.
We made him as comfortable as possible, giving him three aspirins and some "pet ease" which knocked him out until the following day.
The next day, he seemed a bit better. I carried him to the car, went by Burger King and got him two bacon cheese burgers and went to the park.
He was so happy.
He walked and sniffed and had that lovely smile on his face...even as his body betrayed him.
He wanted to go further but he simply couldn't.
So we sat on a blanket and he ate his treats with his head on my lap. We sat together absorbed in the beauty of the day, the joy of just being together.
All in all we were in the park about an hour.
But it was the best hour I could have had with him.
He knew, I know that he did. He never complained or gave up but he knew.
His nervousness at the vet was different.
Of course, he never enjoyed going to the vet.
But there was a difference this time, a resignation but a hesitancy.
We went in together, we sat on the blanket on the floor with him and held him.
When the vet came in, we put him on the table.
He shook a bit but he never took his eyes off of me, never flinched.
He looked into my eyes and I told him I loved him and he left.
As we left, I turned back. He looked so peaceful, as if asleep on our living room floor. There was nothing traumatic or horrifying about the process.
Last night the dogs were completely thrown off. The storm was raging and Baxter, Spencer, Maya and Twee didn't understand. They ran back and forth to the back door, to the front gate looking at the front door waiting for the their leader, their alpha to return.
Dinner time was a jumble.
Early evening there was complete unease.
There is a hole.
A gaping abyss that had been filled for 16 years.
It was the right thing to do.
He was ready.
It was time.
And we did everything we could do to make his life a good one and God knows he returned the favor tenfold.
Our Marley is gone. The big goofy wonderful dog, scarred by the cruelty of others, but finding sanctuary with our family, with two wonderful, empathetic energetic boys, and a gentle and kind man that drew him out of his fear and past and helped him to become a brilliant example of companion animal.
We will miss you and thank you for all that you brought to our family.
We love you.