Minnie, our lovely terrier, had to be put to sleep yesterday.
She had been gamely battling multiple health conditions since the Summer of last year and had finally run up against the limits of treatments which our vet could administer – as her quality of life had deteriorated so much, we took the difficult and absolutely heart-breaking decision to end her life quickly and as peacefully as possible.
A sign of her decline was provided by her last visit to the vet – where the waiting area normally made her tense and eager to get the hell out of there as soon as possible, this time around we couldn’t help but notice that she wasn’t reacting in any way to the place.
We feel that she may have been much older than our best guesses for her age – as she was a rescue dog and previously a stray, there’s so much about her history which we were never privy to, and her previous medical history was a complete blank.
Though we knew little about her, we fell in love with her from our first meeting with her. She came to us from Rotherham Dog Rescue, an animal charity in the town adjacent to Sheffield, and was the skinniest little thing we had ever seen – one of the first joys of our far too brief time with her was to see her gain weight and muscle tone.
She loved to run, as all dogs do, and changed so much when out walking with us and our other dog, Golden Retriever and Occasional Diva, Ella. Initially, Minnie was quite protective of us and herself – when another dog tried to sniff her or play with her, Minnie would give her sternest growl and warn the other pooch off in no uncertain terms. Over time, she mellowed and allowed other dogs around her and around us.
There is no easy way to approach days like the one we had on Saturday – there’s a little comfort to be taken from knowing that your beloved pet is no longer experiencing pain and is at some kind of peace. Being an atheist, I can’t really take succour from God or an afterlife, so I have to derive comfort from memories of Minnie at her happiest and from the absolute delight and glee that her simplest sneeze or wag could give me.
I think I will remember her best this way – waiting behind the kitchen door for me when I came home of an evening, her tail zipping rapidly and merrily from side to side, delighted (a little bit) to see me and overjoyed (a lot more) because she knew that she was about to have her tea.
We miss you little girl – but we thank you for the utter happiness that you gave us.