This morning I did something I have done very few times over the past 14 years: I walked without Jalapeno. You see, our 14 year-old border collie/Australian shepherd walks no more on this earth. We had him put to sleep yesterday at our veterinarian's office. His dying did not happen quickly, but it was [...]

This morning I did something I have done very few times over the past 14 years: I walked without Jalapeno.
You see, our 14 year-old border collie/Australian shepherd walks no more on this earth.
We had him put to sleep yesterday at our veterinarian's office.
His dying did not happen quickly, but it was far from painful. It took about an hour after the initial injection of medication to relax him, with two additional injections after he had relaxed, before he finally took his last breath and sounded his last hear beat.
He died with his body resting up against Kathie's, like he had done so many times before.
I don't think he wanted to leave us, or, maybe, like Kathie said, he was worried about me no longer having my walking buddy and longtime friend to share my lonely hours with.
So we sat there with Jalapeno on the floor of an office, talking to him, petting him, lying beside him, crying our tears, offering what comfort we could as he eased slowly to the other side. We said that it's ok to let go, that we'll be okay when he's gone. Eventually, he stopped breathing, and then, a few minutes later after the vet checked his heartbeat a second time, she pronounced him.
Our vet stayed with us right up to the end and even helped me carry the body of Jalapeno to our car.
We didn't want our Jalapeno to suffer needlessly and who knows for how long. He had a growth on his nose that had been removed once, drained and cleaned up a couple of times. Our vet said that complete removal would be a very high risk procedure.
So, yesterday in desperation, we visited another veterinarian in town for a second opinion about other treatment options. That's when we learned that the growth, which by now had pushed his left eyeball back into its socket so that he was blind in his left eye and could barely see in his right, was cancerous. This vet told us the same thing about this being a very high risk procedure, and, anyway, he had already lost the vision in his left eye.
So, we made that decision that no dog owner ever wants to make, because we knew that suffering that lie ahead for Jalapeno.
It was almost as if the day before he had given us a sign that it was time: he had no interest in going out for walk with me, even after I had put on his flashing collar and leash where he lay in our living room. Walking had always been his time of joy, and, only a few days before, he had become excited, as usual, when I would get the leash, collar, and flashlight, and plastic bags to take him on our morning walk.
But there'll be no more walks with Jalapeno. Goodbye my friend