The Long Goodbye

Yesterday we had to say good-bye to our beagle Minnie. Making the hateful decision to put her to sleep was one of the hardest things we've ever had to commit to-how do you knowingly go about making arrangements to end the life of the thing you love most in this world?

First let me take a step back to tell you that we nearly lost her back on February 13th of last year.  In the middle of the night, we rushed her to Tufts after she collapsed and couldn't breathe. She was diagnosed with Chronic Valvular Disease & Congestive Heart Failure. Her cardiology team couldn't tell us how long she would live, but we were given the vague expectation that it could be anywhere from one to six months depending on how well we could control her symptoms with heart medications.

Ever since last February, we've been living on borrowed time with Minnie. It's been a long year of increasingly sleepless nights and constant worry. Living with a dog who has CHF means listening to persistent coughing, monitoring breaths per minute, maintaining a low-sodium diet and keeping up with ever-changing heart medications.

It's been a delicate dance to keep her as happy and healthy as possible this past year. She continued to enjoy her long walks with Spencer and still eagerly ran to the kitchen every time she heard the refrigerator door open or the turn of the electric can opener. She enjoyed Winter one last time rolling in freshly fallen snow and taking long lazy naps in all her favorite spots of our house. She was happy and content despite her failing heart. We helped her have a good quality of life this past year.  We never gave up on her.

But recently she began fainting as a result of her coughing and seeing her wake-up after a fainting spell struggling to breathe and not knowing if she would recover was unimaginably painful and we just couldn't put her through it anymore.  We loved her too much and knew it was time to say good-bye.

We let her go yesterday - nearly a year to the day when we first discovered her condition - our most loved 11-year old girl.

We were with her till the last beat of her broken heart.

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