Bess arrived here on a trade…was supposed to be a pair of border collies but somehow she was the only one who got here. She was not a young dog, and a little thin from having weaned a litter of pups. The thought was breed a litter and retire her. I never got a litter from her.
When she came out of the truck she came to me and was like “let’s go home!” Always a lean dog, she was active and yet had flaws. Storms terrified her – a survivor of the Alabama tornadoes she didn’t like them. The years ticked by and at times she didn’t hear as well, but still got around ok.
She’d gotten sick a few weeks ago, and had babied her back. She knew the routine – feed time she’d stand and bark, impatient that it wasn’t coming fast enough. Then it got harder for her to get around. Last week it was clear the time was rapidly approaching, but she had a good day. She tottered with me on a short walk, ate well, drank. Then I’d have to carry her outside to pee and potty, as she couldn’t walk.
She developed pressure sores, which are difficult under the best of circumstances. An older dog, it wasn’t the best of circumstances. Her body was letting her down but her mind was still sharp. She knew what was happening around her. She’d raise her head, drink, wag her tail, lick my hand and watch me as I worked next to her.
She was having more bad than good and I knew it was time. I didn’t like it. Hoped to never have to make such a decision again. She’d always been independent and it was time. She was tired, sore, frustrated at wanting to get up and walk and unable to. I called the vet’s office and let them know I was coming. And cried all the way to town.
Paul carried her to the truck on her cushion. She looked up a few times on the way to the vet, but she was at peace. It was just Bess and I on this last journey. No more cats to chase, no parrot to tease, no chickens to watch. She was a shadow of herself physically but her eyes still showed a strength we can only hope to have. We aren’t worthy.
I held her head as the vet put the pink liquid in her leg and with one big breath she was out of the frustration and increasing soreness. Vets must have a difficult time dealing with emotional owners. He spoke kindly to her – and me – and I said as she took that last breath if it didn’t bother us we shouldn’t have them…but it doesn’t make it easier to let go. He checked with a scope to insure she was gone.
She’s at rest now. There will be tears well up for a while. She was in the background here – not as visible to readers as Missy and Diva. The last photo was taken a few days ago – she never liked her photo taken and that never changed. She was more interested in napping!
We have an active household that’s a little emptier tonight. Those who have a history with me know Border Collies and I go back decades. Although I never got a pup from Bess, maybe someday there will be another border collie come to the place. There’s a list of unforgettable dogs over the years and Bess’ name was etched on that list tonight.
They all get older. They are here for such a short time. A few years Bess was a part of things here, and her life before was a working earn-your-keep kind of dog. She paid in full here, even without puppies.
That’ll do Bess. Stand down. Miss you girl.