In June of 2005, Meezy invited me to a park to watch him play frisbee football, or so I thought. When I showed up, the park was empty except for Meezy, an adorable Keeshond puppy, and an engagement ring. I had always wanted a Keeshond, so Jer drove hundreds of miles to find one for me, as a gesture of love while asking for my hand in marriage. It was a wonderful day in my life and Casey has always reminded me of Jer's love for me.
We have been fortunate enough to have her alongside us for the past 13 years. I have so many happy and funny memories of her, like the time I brought her into the pool and even though I was holding her top half out of the water, she instinctively doggy paddled in the air. Or, how our other dog Riley was relentless in stealing her food, so he would go into another room and start barking, just to lure her in there, and then run back and eat out of her bowl while she was distracted. She fell for it every.single.time.
Months ago, Casey started losing her hair and drinking water incessantly. We brought her in for an exam and had her blood tested, and the vet told us she probably had Cushing's Disease, along with a tumor growing on her backside. We tried a round of antibiotics to see if the tumor would shrink, but it didn't respond. Because of her advanced age and the size and location of the tumor, the vet didn't recommend further treatment like chemotherapy or surgery. Casey seemed to be getting by day to day and we didn't feel it was appropriate to talk about end of life measures yet. She had become more reclusive, often spending 80-90% of her day under our bed, but she didn't seem to be in pain, still liked to prance happily into the kitchen morning and afternoon for food, and would occasionally join us in the living room or kitchen when we were together as a family.
As the weeks went on, her tumor grew, her activity level decreased, and it became evident that using the bathroom was more difficult for her. We had her boarded for a couple days while we went out of town, and when we picked her up, the vet said, "She didn't do well this weekend." The staff said she barely moved in her dog run, didn't eat, couldn't hold it until the regular bathroom breaks, and often laid in her urine/feces after going. It broke my heart to hear that and made me realize we were getting closer to the end. Over the past couple of weeks, Casey lost all motivation. She would come out from under our bed and just use the bathroom in whatever part of the house she could muster the energy to walk to. When we'd try to force her to go outside, she would lay there like dead weight, and I'd have to spend a few minutes crawling behind the bed to pick her up and get her upright. Occasionally, her back legs would give out and she'd collapse on the floor. She had a wound caused by her tumor breaking through the skin, and it couldn't ever completely heal. This was it. As much as I hated to say it, it was time.
Casey had no quality of life left and the only thing I felt like I could give her at this point was a dignified death surrounded by people who loved her. Now, knowing it's time is one thing, but calling the vet to say you want to euthanize your dog is another. I choked back tears and set the appointment. Two days. We had two days left with her. What do you do when you know your friend of 13 years is going to die in two days? I tried to get as many pics as I could of her, especially with the boys. I fed her her favorite people food. I laid next to her on the ground and pet her face.
On July 19th, at just after 11am, Casey took her last breath. Meezy and I were in the room with her when she died. It was quick. After the vet left the room to give us a few more minutes with her, I sobbed and pet her soft fur and told her I was so sorry. I immediately doubted myself and felt incredibly guilty. Did she really need to die today? Did we make a mistake? It doesn't matter that I could see her condition, or that the vet and other people told me it was her time, I couldn't stop thinking about how I made the conscious decision to end her life and I felt like a horrible person. The hardest part of this whole ordeal was the moment we walked out of the room, knowing we would never see her again. Knowing we would never feel the soft touch of her fur again. I get sick to my stomach just writing about it.
It's been a few days now, and I have had breakdowns. It's hard to talk about her and it's hard to see other people with their dogs. Casey lived with me for 13 years. She was a part of my daily routine, a part of my household, a constant in my life. It's going to be weird not having her in the house anymore.
I miss her and I love her and I'm so grateful she was in my life for as long as she was. She was Casey, Pretty Case, Pretties, Pitties, Pitty Case to us. She was the fluffy black dog who people asked about, because they didn't recognize her breed. She was the dog I always wanted.
Thank you, Pitties, for what you meant to me for the past 13 years and what you'll still mean to me for many more. Rest in peace. 5/3/05 - 7/19/18