Turkey Tracks: May 19, 2022
AC Slater: Waiting at the Rainbow Bridge
Here’s one of my favorite pictures of my sweet boy—who is asking me to ”go,” to play.
I had to put AC down yesterday—and I thought you’d like to know.
In a nutshell, the resident Lyme he had flared badly over the weekend, so I took him to the Camden Animal Hospital first thing Monday morning. They dehydrated him and got him on all the strong Lyme meds, but then his back legs totally went limp on Tuesday afternoon. He couldn’t walk. Or, pee without his back legs. I held him in my arms all Tuesday afternoon and all that night. He wouldn’t eat anything.
So, more x-rays yesterday morning, Wednesday, showed he had something, some injury maybe, in vertebrae on his spine that, together with his Lyme, rendered his legs useless—a possible combo of Lyme nerve damage and possible injury.
An operation in Portland may or may not have helped—meanwhile he was on the heavy-duty Lyme meds. Plus, he already had all the food issues from a reaction to his 1-year rabies booster, so that I cooked his fish and veggie food, which was the only food he could eat without allergic reactions. How would I feed him, assuming he would even eat, while he was in a hospital in Portland? How would I manage a 40-pound dog whose back legs were not working?
I just couldn’t see a clear way that could help him and that I could manage. It just felt like the kindest thing I could do for him to put him down. AC was a hard charging, high-energy dog—even if I could have worked out all the logistics and the meds worked and the operation worked, he would have hated having to be sedentary, quiet, docile for the rest of his life. That just was not, at all, who he was.
I was totally exhausted yesterday. I got a good night’s sleep last night, so feeling less tired this morning. And I am beginning to catch up with things that were on hold for the last 4 days. But I am going gently, too. Everything will wait.
I loved AC so much. He was my forever, forever dog. He brought so much life, and joy, and sweetness into my life—in countless ways. He was the smartest dog I’ve ever had. His vocabulary was huge. He had just turned 4 and up to 4 days ago, seemed healthy and happy.
Now I will take a dog break for some time and regroup. I’ve never been alone for the last 20 years as I’ve always had dog companions. So it will be good to take some time to see how it is to live without a dog when one is alone. Pros and Cons, for sure. But I want some good time to fully grieve a companion who had such a hold on my heart and my time, who brought me such life-giving gifts. AC can never be replaced. Not easily. Maybe not ever.
It all just happened so quickly…
But life is like that some times, isn’t it? Change can come in the bat of an eyelid.
There are lessons to be learned from AC’s life. I will spend some time contemplating those lessons. Some include that it is important to get outside every day, that is is important to be happy, that it is important to play often each day, that it is important to feel joy from the small moments we are given every day where joy can be present if recognized as such.
I’ll start with those.
Water, for AC, was a never ending…joy to be experienced.