We had to say goodbye to our first baby yesterday. Even though we had been preparing ourselves, it's still not quite sinking in. I kept waking up last night thinking I heard her walking around, and all the other animals are searching for her. She had a cancerous growth removed from her foot last year, and never seemed to get healthy again after that. It was difficult to get her to eat enough, until since last weekend I couldn't get her to eat a thing. Not even one of her favorites - cantaloupe. The little bite she did get down (salmon), she threw up. I knew her body was shutting down, but was hoping maybe I was wrong. Unfortunately the vet concurred. With all her symptoms (most noticeably her enlarged liver, paleness and dark vomit), it appeared she probably had an internal cancer. Whatever it was, the prognosis was not good, and I knew we wouldn't try to put her through any kind of intense treatment. So we all stayed with her and said goodbye. Poor Theo...once we had made our decision, he started pushing on me, saying "carry, Shelbie, up, mom car" several times, trying to get me to pick her up and leave (I had had to carry Shelbie in...by the end of the day yesterday she was too weak to walk). I tried to explain to him that Shelbie wasn't well, but the vet was going to take care of her so she wouldn't hurt anymore. He kept saying her name last night and "nice pets" (he did give her some very nice, gentle pets before we let her go).
I had an amazing bond with Shelbie. One I hope to have again with our next dog, whenever we feel ready to have another (we still have the Boston, but I don't feel a strong bond w/ her, sadly). When we left for the hospital to have Theo, she was a wreck. Bill had to forcefully drag her out to go pee, she was so glued to my side and seemed frantic that I'd want to leave home while in labor. Too bad I didn't listen to her...I should've had Theo at home...she probably would've been a better birth attendant! When Bill came home the next day to check on the animals, he found she had vomited 6 times while we were gone (it was the stress of me gone when I should've stayed where she could've kept watch over me). He remembered that I had vomited exactly 6 times during labor....I'll always believe that she was that tuned into me that she felt what I was going through 15 miles away. She was the easiest dog for me to train...she wanted so badly to please us that she'd anticipate what we wanted and do it. We got her at 4 months old and she only ever had one accident in the house. She was so well house-trained that she included her yard as part of her house and refused to go to the bathroom in it. By 6 months she had trained herself to keep the cats from clawing furniture or carpet. She learned just from watching us that the cats only got reprimanded if they clawed something other than their post, and she'd go poke her nose at them for their unwanted behaviors. Sure, she barked often and loudly at silly thing sometimes, but that's just a Sheltie's personality...they're so full of themselves. I sure am going to miss our sweet little girl.
On an interesting more positive note, we had a new cat come into our lives last weekend...just about the time Shelbie started to go downhill fast. He's young, black and white, very friendly, adores Theo, and he's trying to work it out with our other cats. He was skinny - obviously hasn't had a home for a while. He decided our home was to be his...he was around during the week before, but our cats were doing such a 'good' job chasing him away, I didn't get to really check him out. But he was determined and kept coming back, wearing them down, and begging us to stay here. Right now he's at the vet's (boy was that weird going right back the next morning), getting neutered. Bill thinks maybe he's our old dog Lucas reincarnated (Lucas was a big black & white Wolf & Border Collie cross...sounds strange, but he was an amazing dog, looked like a big black lab at first glance). Who knows? I just find it interesting that this cat was so determined to be with us, and at such a helpful time. There are other animal lovers on our street...why us over everyone else??