Saturday, July 30, 2011

Our Sweet Abby

On Saturday, July 30, we had to put our sweet little Abby to sleep.  

During the last week, our vet has diagnosed Abby with cancer. Her health has been declining over the past few months- we've noticed a lot of weight loss with no changes in diet and exercise.  Over the past few weeks, we've also seen some crabbiness/irritability (irritability with the kids, territorial behaviors with Ginger, refusing to go outside or on walks, not coming when called - and that's just so not like Abby at all), and this summer she's started having potty accidents in the house on an increasing basis.  That's pretty much a daily occurrence now.

A little old lady:

We took her to the vet this week to see what was going on- we kind of expected diabetes because of the weight loss and Abby's increased thirst lately, but that wasn't it. She's been back to the vet every day this week for different tests, and as best they can tell she's got bone cancer that's gotten into her liver (or vice versa). She's actually lost over ten lbs in the last year- she's down to 23 lbs, and it's just pitiful. She is soooo thin and just doesn't seem to be her happy self these last few months. Our vet said that there's not much that treatment could do for her at this point, and we'd just be prolonging her life for a little while but potentially keeping her in pain (she thinks the irritability and refusing to get up and go out/for walks is a symptom of being in pain).

So, we made the very tough decision to euthanize Abby this morning, although we surely hate to do it. We've greatly enjoyed Abby being a part of our family for the last 7.5 years.  Saunders and I got Abby only a few months after we got married, and she was our very first baby.  She loved being hugged, petted, cuddled - her favorite thing to do was curl up next to someone and take a nap together.  She drank more water and ate more dog food and treats than one would believe possible.  She has been an excellent dog - kind, sweet, loyal, and gentle.  She had incredible doggie manners and was always so well-behaved.  With the exception of breaking the tiny Ginger out of her little puppy restriction in the laundry room several times while we were at work and busting into the chocolate supply several times, Abby was always so good.  Abby never met a stranger and loved everyone - other dogs, people, kids, babies.  She was so good with our kids up until the very end.  

Katie Anne and Abby were fast friends from the very beginning - Abby accepted Katie Anne into our house as a member of this family from the minute she came home from the hospital, and they have loved each other ever since.  

Katie Anne would literally lay on Abby as a pillow while watching tv.  Abby has graciously tolerated many dress-up sessions, worn many costumes, and paraded all over the house with KA.  Katie Anne loved taking Abby on walks.   
Abby would let her hold the leash and never pull her down, even since KA was a tiny girl... and Katie Anne rewarded Abby's love with countless treats and snuck food from the table.  Katie Anne already misses her tremendously.  Here are some pictures of KA taking Abby on her last walk this morning:

and singing Abby a beautiful song:
SJ has had less time with Abby, but he loves her just the same.  He loves to pet her sides when she's laying down... and occasionally grab a big wad of her hair and skin.  He has just learned to say her name - "Abba".  Although he's irritated her a bit this summer, she absolutely adores to hear him say "Abba?" and throw down a baby handful of food over the side of the highchair to her.  He throws food to her in restaurants and other people's houses... he hasn't quite gotten it that she isn't there to eat it unless we're at home.  She never leaves SJ's side while he's eating!

I took Abby to the vet myself this morning while Saunders stayed home with the kids.  Even though I know without a shadow of a doubt that it was the right thing to do, it was very, very hard.  The staff at Pet Vet were tremendous - I cannot say enough about their gentle treatment of Abby and the wonderful way they handled all the details.  Dr. Tally and the staff - especially Mallory - know and love Abby, and it was very hard on them, too.  They did such an amazing job, and it was a very peaceful experience.  I was with her, petting her little head until the very end. They really made it so much easier on me.  
We also took Ginger to the groomer's today to give us some special time alone with Abby - and to avoid Ginger being upset when I took Abby.  Ginger can't stand for Abby to go anywhere without her.  
Saying goodbye for the last time:
The groomers at the Acworth PetSmart immediately asked where Abby was, and when I explained what was going to happen later, they were all so kind, too.  They didn't even let us pay for Ginger's grooming because they were so sad to hear about Abby.  (Later, we got the kindest handwritten sympathy notes from Pet Vet and PetSmart.  We were very touched and impressed by the cards.)

Abby was very loved, very sweet, very spoiled, and will be very much missed.

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