16(ish)

I’m going to publish this without reading it first. Hopefully it’s not a complete mess.

I wanted to post something new for a while, but the last post I made was for Gigi’s 15th birthday… and I didn’t feel right posting anything else before I followed up on that. And I couldn’t bring myself to do that until now.

Gigi did make it to 16 and a bit. If I’m being honest with myself, I should have let her go a few weeks before her birthday. She wasn’t really suffering, outwardly. You know how there are some really stubborn old people who, when you try to help them, just give you a look and go “I don’t need your help!”? Well, Gigi was like that. Like she’d have trouble jumping into the car, but she would not let me help. She just wouldn’t show that she was in pain.

But there were some physical signs. I did take her to the vet a bit after her birthday. Gigi has seen the same vet since she was a puppy, and she’s a pretty awesome vet… and a very no-bullshit kind of person. She’s also not the kind of person who’ll tell you what to do, but she definitely got me to see what was going on.

I couldn’t make that decision right on the spot. In my mind I was thinking that I’d go home, give myself time to get used to the idea, give them a call in a week or so and make an appointment for a couple of weeks ahead.

But the whole thing sunk in much faster. Because, now that I could see what was going on, I couldn’t ignore it. I couldn’t look at Gigi and go “Oh you’re not acting like you’re in pain so you’re fine” any more. So I called the next day and made the soonest available appointment.

Out vet — and I cannot stress how amazing this is — had said she’d do a house call when the time came. Gigi absolutely hated the vet clinic and I did not want her last moments to be somewhere she’s terrified of. I mean, can yo imagine? Anyway, I made the call, made the appointment, waited for my boss to show up and told him I need next week off.

We went for a walk on Monday morning. A really nice, leisurely, long walk in the park we’d been going to for over a decade. I’m kind of glad we didn’t run into anyone we knew. Not sure how I’d have handled that.

We went home, played in the yard for a while, I got the call saying they were on their way. Gigi did the whole “oh no strangers” thing. She didn’t stop running around until the knockout shot took hold. She fell asleep, on my lap. I held her and… well. That was that. Peaceful.

It was one of those times where doing what is absolutely, positively the right thing still sucks.

But, I think, knowing that it was the right thing did help, a lot. I honestly didn’t know how I’d react. There was a fair chance that I would fall apart. It still hurt — it still does — but I dealt with it a lot better than I expected.

This was about a year ago.

This is the last picture I took of Gigi, just a few hours before. She was still hunting and pointing things out.

I don’t know that I’ve ever believed that there’s anything after we die.

But on the off-chance that I’m wrong… I’ll see you again, soon enough.

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