Yesterday I had to make that decision that is so difficult yet such a blessing.
Willa had not been eating with her usual appetite and there had been several occasions of urinary incontinence for which I'd taken her to her regular vet. He prescribed some pills; the incontinence stopped. She was still picky about her food but could be enthusiastic about chicken and rice which I fixed for her. And she still ran around with her usual energy.
Then on Saturday she refused all food and there was profuse vomiting on Sunday morning. So I took Willa to the emergency vet on the other side of Asheville.
After much blood work and several x-rays, Willa was diagnosed with severe/chronic kidney failure. The prognosis was bleak -- there were treatments but little/no hope that they would restore kidney function.
So I opted to let her leave this life, with bramble briars still in her fur from chasing rabbits Friday night.
They brought her to me in a room with a sofa where I could spend a little time holding her and talking to her.
She was in my arms with her head on my shoulder when the vet put the lethal dose into the already in place IV. My hand was on her heart when it stopped.
It was a gentle passing and the vet assured me that it was the right choice . . . I said I wished I could have that sort of choice if I were faced with an incurable disease.
I held her a little longer before they took her away and put her into a box so I could bring her home.
She's buried by a stone bench on the edge of the woods where she ran and barked and chased rabbits.
Goodbye, little girl, goodbye to my sweet mountain feist.