Three years ago, our dog Alex started to go blind.
A quick X-ray showed that she had a brain tumor.
Less than a year later, she was totally blind.
Surprisingly, she handled herself very well. In no time at all she was walking around our house without banging her head on any furniture.
I wish I could say that I would have handled the situation with such gusto.
She loved to chase balls (the tennis and soccer variety.) So I grabbed her old soccer ball from Old Navy, cut a small hole in the ball and inserted some bells that I bought at a local pet store.
Alex had her very own jingling blind ball (patent pending).
Save slamming into a couple trees now and again, she had a blast chasing that ball.
It didn't even seem like she was blind.
Life went on. We moved. We still took her on walks. And I still kicked that raggedy old ball around.
By this time, there were no more bells in the ball, but she could still chase it by the sound of the ball rolling in the grass.
Then she had her first seizure.
The doctor said to expect more in the near future. And, if it happened, it was up to us to decide when to end her suffering.
It was early morning on June 25, 2007. Alex had three seizures in eight hours.
If you've ever seen an animal (or a human) have a seizure, there's nothing you can really do. You have to wait. And watch. And wait. Until the seizure is over.
It's freaking brutal. I can't even imagine watching a person you love go through that.
I just started a new job in Cleveland. So we decided to wait until after work to take her to the doctor.
That day would be her last day on Earth.
Around 11 a.m. I got another call, Alex had three more seizures. I called my wife-to-be and we both left work around 1 p.m. and headed for home.
It was time.
We picked up Alex and took her to the Metropolitan Vet Hospital in Copley, Ohio.
The doctor took her into the room to place a catheter in her arm. As we waited, my heart started to pound. Then the tears started to roll.
After five minutes or so, the doctor told us to come in. Alex was in the corner shaking and scared. But her tail started to wag when she heard my wife-to-be's voice. (I was an adopted father to Alex).
We had a couple minutes with her and told her goodbye. The doctor came in, explained the procedure and we both got on the floor with her.
She inserted the first shot of this green liquid. About 20 seconds passed and Alex slumped to the ground in a sleeping position.
She was still breathing. But silent. A couple seconds later, she injected another shot and checked her heartbeat.
Less than 10 seconds later, she was dead.
The doctor left. We spent about five minutes in the room with her.
I didn't think I'd be as emotional, but I was happy I was there.
They cremated her body. Her ashes are still in our garage.
We're still waiting to take the ashes to spread on one of her favorite spots...the beach at the jersey shore.
Until then, they'll remain in the garage waiting to be freed. Possibly next Spring or Summer.
Here's to you Alex.
I miss kicking that old, raggedy ball around the yard with you.