Monday, September 1, 2008

The Vigil

For the past five days my husband and I have been holding a vigil for Miss M, our seven year old black Lab.

At this time last week, our attention was on other things. At this time last week Miss M. was still very lively, hungry for food, activity, and attention. On three consecutive days in the early part of last week, she ran 3 miles with my husband. Unknown to us then, she had a developing tumor. On Wednesday afternoon, I noticed it was a bit difficult for her to lie down. On Thursday, she wouldn't eat. That was the day we learned the diagnosis of Cancer.

During our vigil thus far we have watched Miss M. slowly deteriorate in health, in her physical abilities and attention. She is slowly moving farther and farther away from being the vibrant canine we have known. She doesn't seem to be in pain, although it is obvious her movement is guarded and limited.

I have given her my blessings to go peacefully and naturally. So far, she is not listening. Apparently, as long as there is any little bit of enjoyment in her life, she would like to hang around for awhile. She still thumps her tail on the floor when I come near her. She still closes her eyes and takes in the loving attention when she is petted or brushed. She still enjoys slowly walking around the yard, although sniffing every blade of grass is no longer of interest. She still looks in our direction with her eyebrows up, as if to say, "You called", when she hears her name.

So our vigil continues for now. I trust we will know when it is time to euthanize our faithful dog if she chooses not to pass on her own. Whenever this end comes, I plan on allowing it to be without resistance. I will allow the sadness to be felt. I will mourn the loss, and just as when I lose a human friend, I will celebrate her life.

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