My Little Princess Tia and Miles of Heart

by Stephanie

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Tia was the smartest dog I ever knew. I could teach her anything and everything. She loved to play fetch and chase me around the yard nipping at my behind. She loved when you threw the covers over her head and let her try to find your arm or a toy hidden above the covers. She always let you know when she needed to go out or wanted a treat or just some loving by barking and singing at you. Of all the tricks I taught her, my personal favorite was having her play dead. No matter what she was doing, if you said 'bang' she would drop to the ground and flip to her back and wait for the ok to come back up and get a treat. She really loved treats.

Then one day we noticed Tia's back legs weren't really working as well as they had once. She was running with both of them moving at the same time like they were just one leg instead of two independent ones. The vet said this was not a good sign. Through the aid of some medicine and some aspirin we were able to get Tia through a lot of the issues that came with her condition. But eventually she became completely unable to use her back legs at all. We got Tia a harness that we used to carry her and be her back legs for her, but Tia never really liked having to depend on someone else for anything. She had miles of heart we liked to say and would pull herself around the house using just her two front legs, like she didn't mind that the back ones were traitors. It eventually came to a point though where Tia was having problems going to the bathroom. She couldn't hold it in anymore like she used to and always felt really bad when she had an accident in the house. After a few months it became every day, a few times a day where she couldn't quite make it outside in time even though we tried to go as fast as we could too.

Toward the end Tia was essentially couch-ridden where she had her food and water on a table, and always a toy or two to play with, but without being able to run and go get it, she really had little interest. She struggled with the smallest tasks, she needed help to do all the things she used to do on her own and really hated when you tried to help. No more going to get the paper, no more jumping on the bed, chasing me up the stairs, hiking, swimming, none of it. She really was not the most fulfilled dog anymore.

As a family we decided that Tia's quality of life was not what it should be and that every day she was losing a little more of her dignity and that we were happier having her around than she was happy to be there. She wasn't the dog she wanted to be and used to be. We struggled with this decision for about 6 months while she progressively got worse and we kept telling ourselves she really wasn't that bad. She was. it was time and we had to accept it. On Thursday October 13th 2011, we put our little Princess to sleep. It was the hardest decision and act I have ever had to do, and hope to never have to do it again. I do believe we made the right decision, but that does not help ease the pain of losing her. I had Tia for 11 years and saw her everyday and the thought of going on without her seems impossible. I was with her in the end and I know that provided her some comfort. I knew I could not let her reach the end alone as we had spent the last 11 years inseparable. But again, that did not ease my pain in the slightest, I can only hope it made her more comfortable.

I do receive comfort knowing that she is now again the dog I fell in love with: running after the ball and maybe giving a few people some fun nips in the butt as they allow her to chase them around the grass. Oh Tia also loves to sunbathe, so I'm sure there will be plenty of that for her as well. So many times in the summer, i would grab a book, a blanket and Tia and we would lay on the blanket and bathe in the sun for a few hours and she would just soak it in, content to be in the warm fresh air, next to her sister, periodically leaning over to give me a few kisses on the face. I will never stop missing her or loving her, but that was the most loving thing I could have done for her, to let her go home.

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