I don't know if I've ever told the story of how we came to have Belle. A few months earlier we had put down our 3/4 Aussie Jewel. I was really missing her and d'Arcy (who was 4 at the time) was pining. Jewel was one of the smartest dogs I've ever known. She also wasn't an easy dog. I decided that I wanted to rescue another Aussie in her name. We applied to a breed rescue and passed the interview and home visits. We then had a call that there was a dog that might fit our household. She had spent her early years in a cage being used for breeding. She lived in Maine so Ed and I drove halfway to meet up with the rescue people in St. John, NB. It was a long day but I loved her right away and we brought her home. She came with issues. Belle was terrified of small spaces. It took months before she would follow me into the bathroom and years before she stopped flinching. She was aggressive towards other dogs and boys between the ages of 7-16 made her become very defensive. We worked through all of them. It took a while for her to be able to walk for more than 10 minutes without being tired. Once she became fitter she was your typical bouncy Aussie.
Since Monday Belle has not been eating, barely drinking and having trouble breathing. There were glimpses where she seemed to rally and then fall backwards. We consulted with the vet over the phone twice. Today we tried something to ease her stomach. It was an impossible choice- death by heart failure or death by starvation/dehydration. Tonight she drank a bit and then promptly threw it all up. Ed and I discussed that we would give her a few days max.
Ed left to go to a meeting and she took a turn for the worst. I looked at her struggling to breathe and I saw my mother in the hospital bed with the same struggles. I knew with complete clarity that it was time.
I called the vets and they said to come over. I tried to get in touch with Ed but couldn't get through on his cell. The staff were more than kind. They helped me carry her in because she couldn't walk. I sat with her on a mat on the floor waiting stroking her head and talking to her.
don't worry baby. You will be running free soon. I love you. You are the best dog.
She put her paw on my hand and looked at me.
She passed away quietly with me stroking her head. I knew when she was no longer there.
Belle was 12 years old and had 8 wonderful, happy years with us living the life as a family dog. She loved her people fiercely and would die to protect them. I am glad that she is no longer suffering.
The average life span of a dog is 10-13 years.
It's not nearly enough.