I have been prepared for the day that Carson would die since he came to live with us nearly fifteen months ago.
He was fifteen, the oldest dog in the city shelter, and no one– the shelter people, his foster guardian, nor us– expected him to live more than a few months. When we went off to California this summer, I fully predicted that in July I would be seeking out a new dog to fill his spot.
Carson had other plans though. While he no longer takes morning walks with Hattie around the park– he much prefers to sleep in– and his back legs are failing, he still attempts to chase Lilly around the backyard and shows up for the “peanut butter spoon” after the blender starts whirring away in the morning for my breakfast smoothie.
Yet in that steady decline, we also know he won’t live forever and Friday– after watching him fall backward into his poop twice in twenty-four hours– I felt maybe it was time to let Carson go. I made a vet appointment for the afternoon, took lots of photos, spent time with him, and fed him too much cheese. I was fully prepared, even in my sadness, that Carson wouldn’t be coming home with me from the vet.
When we showed up at the vet, he refused to go inside. I was convinced it was because he’d been dumped into the city shelter at age fourteen and there was no way that I could convince him that I wasn’t leaving him behind.
I’ve never seen Carson so scared and upset and by the time the vet appointment was over, the vet declared that he had too much spirit and quality of life that he deserved another chance.
We went home with a bottle of Rimadyl (dog ibuprofen) and he slept the rest of the afternoon.
I have been to the end with several dogs before, I know when they’ve given up and are ready to move on– Daisy, Gidget, and Chaco all stopped eating and drinking– but Carson? No, he’s not ready. I believe that he finally found a good life and he’s not wiling to let it go just yet.
As I write this, he’s curled up snoozing under my desk. Happy as a clam. I know he wishes he could run like Lilly and the four year old he once was, and that he’s glad to still be here.
I realize the day will come, but Friday was confirmation it wasn’t time yet, and for now, we’ll enjoy all that we have.