This sucks

As I wrote in my post on Squirt, she is a not-so-easily-forgotten character. She greets every person she meets with enthusiasm, love and such affection that they are left feeling idolized and welcomed regardless of their affinity of dogs or how long they have known her.

We have rarely met anyone who has NOT remembered Squirt after only a brief introduction. She is a goofy, talkative, used to be lickative greyhound.
Since moving to River City many, many, moons ago, we have visited the same vet. She helped us with our kitties Rosie and Gertie, our first greys Molly and Herman, and now Squirt, as well as any other critters that came our way and needed attention. Given Squirts personality, we are no longer surprised that the staff at our vet’s office rarely remember who we are, but they have yet to forget her. Even when out and about if they see us, it is our goofy girl that they recognize and we need to reintroduce ourselves.

Our vet has known and treated our crazy puppy through all of her insane adventures since the first day she came into our lives at 4 months old. And it hasn’t always been easy.

Greyhounds as a breed can be incredibly docile and in adulthood they sleep for an average of 14 hours a day. The reason, we learned through Squirt, was because they wear themselves and everyone around them out their first three years of life. With our pal Squirt though, she didn’t grow into her ‘adult’ stage until she was nearly 5-1/2 years.

It was near the end of her fourth year that we had our first major visit with Dr Cat.
Our back fence is made of 1×6’s that are staggered and offset by 2x6s tipped on their side. A distinct design feature from the 70’s, it is impressive that this structure still stands. And, for Squirt, it is fortunate that it is.
While running madly about the yard, she lost track of where she was in her racing loop and ran full speed, head first into the fence. It was fortunate that the slats of the fence were offset because her shoulders hit the fence with a sickening crunch at full force while her head and neck took only part of the brunt as it met the back slats.
Had the fence not had the offsets, we would have lost our goofball at that moment.
It took nearly 6 months of medications and limited movement before she was completely back to normal, and even then we’ve had spells where her neck aches and she can tell is that the weather is changing.
It was during one of her flareups, as we’ve come to call them, that we noticed she was having difficulty getting up in the mornings, and that after racing about the back yard, that she wasn’t able to walk until after a long rest.
Several X-rays and thorough physical exams revealed that our poor girl was far more stoic than she ever let on.  Over the course of time, her lumbar and sacrum had begun to meld into each other, causing the vertebra in her back to pinch her spine and the nerves that control her legs resulting in her difficulty in walking for long distances or after short intense bursts of sprints about the back yard.
Our girl is now nearly 10 years old, which is old age for an NGA racing greyhound. On most days our girl thinks and acts as though she is only about six, but those days where she creaks and moans, and feels pain are becoming more common place.
Usually they are at night, when the cool winter temperatures settle over the house and she needs to get up to rearrange herself. But this last weekend a cold, wet snow fell and with it moist air and cold winds blew through town.

Sunday was the first time that BW and JB had seen and heard the struggle that our girl suffers from. She’d pulled a muscle deep in her thigh that caused a pain strong enough to cut through her meds. After tending to our puppy and calming the kiddos down, Charles and I began to digest the one thought we’ve not yet had about our girl.

Our house is going to be very quiet when our over sized puppy has crossed ‘The Rainbow Bridge’.

It is the one thing that we are not prepared for. To answer the question of ‘Is it time?” We are fortunate in that our prior Greys have led us down this path before, but it truly sucks to have to share this experience with the kids. They’ve never not known Squirt.

She’s always been there to welcome us home, to enforce our daily schedule – herding us to go to bed at a particular time or giving us ‘the stare’. She patiently waits for her dinner (the kids uneaten ones) and will actively beg for food when she feels as though she’s forgotten. She sleeps on the couch as soon as Charles has gone to work, and moves faster than lightening off of it when she hears his car in the driveway. And every spring, she digs a deep, wet hole in the very middle of the back yard, as though she and Charles are working at odds with each other over the state of the grass.

She is big, she is old, and she is starting to break down and complain. And it really sucks that we have reached our time with her that we need to start creating her list of 5.  Five things that she loves and enjoys. Five things that she wakes up for in the morning. And we know that as time goes by we will slowly reduce the contents of that list.

Though we are so very grateful that it is only a pulled and worn muscle that needs time to heal and we are likely to have many more years of irritation, stories, vet bills and laughter over this four legged wonder, we are also all too aware of the limited time that we have left with our first baby.

And last night, after BW and JB went to bed, the only thing I could say to Charles as we made our list of five, was “This sucks.”

And he agreed.

And Squirt exhaled and moaned deeply as if in agreement before falling asleep for the night.

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