I had my 15-year-old Aussie, Mandy, put to sleep last night.
For the last 11 years Mandy has been my good friend and companion. Through three relationships, two significant deaths, and four cats – Mandy has been there.
Mandy was 4 when I got her. She was well-trained and an incredibly smart dog. Since there is no fence around my yard, I was sure I would need to purchase an electronic fence, but after a week of her stepping outside of the property line and me telling her “our yard”, she knew where she could and could not go – and didn’t begin crossing those lines until just a few months ago (and only on the side of the neighbor she really liked). When we would walk to a neighbors (no leash was required) and she got bored, she would “run away” back home. Her house and her car were where she wanted to be, because I would always come back to these places.
When I first got Mandy the neighborhood had a number of children. There would often be crowds around her because she was so gentle. With the words “Say please”, she would sit up and wave her paws up and down for 15 or 20 seconds. This was a huge crowd-pleaser.
The first few months she was with me she didn’t bark. One day I heard a small bark come out of her and when I turned to look at her she cowered. I guess she had been beaten for this in the past. Instead, I rewarded her, and from that time on she was a great watch dog. In fact she chased off a group of teens trying to make trouble in the neighborhood and became the sweetheart of the block!
A great traveler, we have taken road trips to Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota and Philadelphia.
Over the past year, Mandy had lost her hearing and control of her bowels. Her hips had been giving her trouble, and she would often fall down and find it difficult to get up (so I started watching her when she would go outside so I could help her up if needed). I think she knew her times was coming to an end, because for the past few weeks she was never more than a few steps from me and tried as hard as she could to go with me wherever I went (although that was usually not possible).
Last evening she started panting heavy and this increasingly got worse until she seemed to be gasping for breath. I knew she had a growth around her throat, but at her age there was little that could be done for her. Her breathing was more and more difficult and the vet said it was time, and although I wasn’t really ready to make that decision, I knew it was the right thing to do.
I will miss my baby.