AC Slater: Waiting at the Rainbow Bridge

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.

Author: louisaenright

I am passionate about whole, nutrient-dense foods, developing local markets, and strengthening communities.

26 thoughts on “AC Slater: Waiting at the Rainbow Bridge”

  1. Oh Louisa, I am so, so sorry to hear this. What good friends you two were. Lots of love from our whole family. xo

  2. I am so so sorry Louisa! I know that you made the right decision and as hard as I am sure it was to say good bye it was the kindest most loving thing to do.
    Now be kind and gentle with yourself as I am sure that your heart is broken…sending big hugs your way!

  3. I’m so so sorry Louisa. I was balling reading the entire blurb. He was a great companion & I know you will grieve him terribly. Take all the time you need & when the time is right for a new companion you will know.

  4. He wasn’t even my dog yet I’m crying. I will certainly miss hearing about his adventures. Big hugs to you Louisa.

  5. Dear Lovey, so very sorry for this tremendous loss. I grieve with you….will share tears with you. Life will be different for you now. You gave him a great life. Take comfort in that. You did the right thing. Love, June

    1. Thanks so much June. I wish I could have seen a way out for him, but I couldn’t. There were just too many problems all piled up—and no certain way to fix them. And I could not bear that he was in what had to be so much pain.

  6. Louisa, I totally understand how you feel. We had to put down our wonderful Baxter last summer and it is simultaneously, the hardest and the most loving decision one can make for a beloved four footed friend. In time, you will know if opening your heart to another pup is the right thing for you. Cherish those memories of AC, and smile and cry at the same time.

    1. Lovely to hear from you. And thanks so much for responding. Yes, in time I will know. As another friend wrote to me—“and then one day another nose will poke at you and the magic will happen again.” Maybe. For right now, I need to take a break from the responsibility one has for a dog. I know it’s grief. Time. Yes.

  7. Oh, Louisa, I am so so sorry for the loss of such a vibrant little ball of energy and delight. I feel like I’ve followed his antics over the past four years in your blog/FB posts. I remember also meeting him when he was still almost a puppy and wanting to play with the older guy. You write and have written so beautifully about the joy a dog can bring and the grief you are experiencing now. It is shocking and incredibly sad to lose any pet but especially one that is still so young and the death so unexpected. Impossible to prepare and yet you had to make such a difficult choice in putting him down. I’m sharing your sadness but also taking to heart your closing lesson–to be happy with the life we have and to find joy in those small moments we’re given. I hope you’re able to do that even as your grief is so present and painful. Sending healing thoughts, Terry

    1. Oh, Terry. Thanks so much. What a sweet message you sent—and it is gratefully received. AC was a one-off. There will never be another dog like him—he was one of a kind. He was just a wonderful blend of who-knows-what genes—the kind that only nature can produce. He was a total gift—from start to finish. LIfe is such that we never know when gifts like AC (or many others we know and love) will be taken from us. Or when we will be taken from others. We just have to love, to live with hope and joy and happiness, and to never forget the fragility of life.

      1. Yes–to loving and living with hope, joy and happiness in spite of the many challenges we may face.

  8. I am so very sorry for your loss of AC Slater – I have always LOVED his name and recently loved to see him swimming! On yesterdays date in 2016 I lost my little dog Faye, age 4, to kidney/liver failure – unknown reasons. I still grieve for her although now I have a little white dog named Hazel who is my life! Like you and AC, I will never forget my love for Faye who was named for my mother in law and Hazel is named after my mom. I also write a blog called CountryThreadsChickenScratch – I live on an acreage and had a quilt shop here for 35 years which closed in 2014. Like you I write about Hazel and our other dog Telly as well as assorted rescued farm animals and cats. I recently saved the picture of your pink and orange 9 patch quilt – such a surprising color combo but I love it! I am a faithful reader of your blog which will now be sad without AC. Mary ETHERINGTON in North Iowa.

    1. Thank you so much for this sweet message of sharing Mary. I will check out your blog, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. My dad was militrary (Air Force) and we lived in the Omaha area for many years—Offutt AFB. I went to high school there and met my husband there. Then we moved back east—and eventually wound up in Maine in retirement. Thanks so much for reading my blog. And it is good to get feedback. Louisa

  9. I’m so sorry to hear this. I had to put my dog down suddenly in December, so I know how hard this is. You took good care of him and gave him a good life. I’ll miss seeing his antics on your blog.

  10. I had a dog with congestive heart failure. 7 pills 4x a day and constantly changing. Impossible to say good bye to our loved one. My thoughts are with you.

  11. Oh Louisa-I am so sorry to learn of this news. My heart aches for you as you grieve your precious doggie. Go gently, my friend. And may the sweet memories sustain you. Hugs- jude

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