We have a small terrier mix, Tikka, who is 18.5-19 years old (we adopted her in 2003 and they estimated her age at 6 months when we adopted her). Until this past year, she was in fine health, still jumping on the couch, still chasing things (but slowing down).
This last year has been hard on her. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, she can no longer jump on the couch, and now she doesn’t want to sleep in our room anymore and can no longer hold her bladder. She still enjoys food, but pretty much sleeps the rest of the time. She fell once when getting into her bed, and laid there for awhile, sleeping, in a super awkward position and I was afraid that it was going to be an emergency time, but then she got up and was fine a few hours later.
Lately I’ve noticed her exhibiting some super strange behavior like licking the bricks of our house. She is deaf now, and rarely wants to go outside. She can no longer go for “real walks” and spends most of her time sleeping in her crate with the door open.
I know the mantra of better a day too soon, and I believe it, and she’s as old as methuselah in dog years so it’s definitely been a good life, but man, it’s still a hard decision. She’s been a very good dog, and has outlasted all of our other pups (and one grandpup!). We used to joke (when we had to replace some of her toes with titanium pins) that she was going to slowly try to replace all of her body parts in order to live forever, but I’m afraid she’s at the end now - there’s no replacing her organs. I don’t really know why I’m posting other than to just sort of get my own thoughts into the air. My husband I think is struggling with it more than I am, but it’s still sad - she’s been a fixture in our family for so long. It truly marks the end of an era, she’s just slightly younger than our youngest son, and he left home too. There’s lots wrapped up in this little dog.
But in the end, it’s her welfare I care about. I want her to go peacefully and not in pain (and I know the final stages of congestive heart failure aren’t pretty). She deserves that.