I made a hard decision today.  One I didn't think I would have to make, or shall I say one I was hoping I would not have to make.  I had to put my dogs down today.  Not just one of my dogs,  I had to put down both my dogs.

Bailey, was my adorable Pomeranian/Beagle mix.  She was my baby.  She was the first dog I had all by myself.  She has been my companion since September 10, 1999.  She was 17 years old.  She has been with me through everything.

Photo Courtesy: Lori Crofford

After I graduated from College I moved into my first grown up apartment and they allowed pets, so I was going to get a dog. I got her from a man who at the time sold dogs in Sunset Center.  She was supposed to be a Shih Tzu, but I quickly learned she was a mutt.  She was my mutt and I loved her with all my heart.  As a puppy she chewed through 22 pairs of my shoes. She crawled into the bottom of my couch and got lost all the time.  She would cuddle and give me kisses.  She loved to play fetch.  She was with me through several heartbreaks, she was with me through my first marriage.  She was with me during my pregnancy and would always lay on my belly.  She cuddled with Ethan after he was born.  She was with me through my divorce and always knew when I needed a little extra love.  She has been my constant.  Her health has deteriorated over the years.  She doesn't recognize me anymore.  She spends her nights gasping for air.  She has had a good life and has been the best dog.

I finally had to make the decision to let her go, because, her quality of life isn't there anymore and she is, for lack of a better word, a zombie dog.  My Bailey isn't there anymore.  If dogs get dementia, she has it.

So I have been struggling with that decision.

Little did I know, I would have to make that decision for both my dogs.

Jasper is my full blood party Cocker Spaniel.  I adopted Jasper in February of 2006, he was 3 years old.  He was owned by a family member of a friend and was getting beat up on a daily basis by another dog and needed a new home.  At the time I had been wanting a Cocker Spaniel, because I had one when I was growing up and knew they were good dogs.    I volunteered to be his new master.  I found a new best friend.

Photo Courtesy: Lori Crofford

From the time he walked into my door, he has always been by my side.  Always.  He would never venture far from my vicinity.  We did have a bit of a problem when Ethan was born.  He didn't want to share, and when E started crawling, Jasper saw him as another animal and would just lay in the floor and growl at E.  Eventually they got along and became buddies.  About 4 years ago, Jasper started going blind and eventually lost his eye sight.  He would still get around like a champ and adjusted quite well.  Such a good boy.  However, lately he hasn't been getting around very well and keeps getting lost.  Over this past weekend, I was out of town and when I came back home, he was laying on the tile.  When he realized I was home, he tried his best, but he couldn't get off the ground.  I helped him up, but he struggled.  Later on, I noticed he just kept turning around and around in circles.  He doesn't sleep, he doesn't eat and now he can't get up.  Plus, he's been finding places in the house to hide, it took me an hour one day to find him.  He had burrowed his way into the back of my son's closet.  From what I'm told, they do that when they are ready to pass on.

So on Monday, I made the call to the vet and made the decision to say goodbye to both my best friends and that decision came to an end today.

Last night I gave each of them a bath.  I didn't want them to be dirty and there wasn't anytime to get them to a groomer and they didn't have the energy for it anyway.  So as I was giving Bailey her bath, we talked and for a little while, and I swear the sparkle came back into her eyes.  I told her what a good dog she had been and that she was my very best friend and thanked her for always being there and that I hoped I treated her as well as she has treated me.  As I was blow drying Jasper's fur last night we talked and I thanked him for always being my cuddle bug and having my back.

Then I made them dinner.   Yeah I made my dogs dinner.  Chicken nuggets, cheese, tortillas, all the things they loved to eat, and, what the heck, they got cookies too.

I think as a gift Bailey's spark stayed, because she danced around like she used too and she actually ran to the kitchen with a smile on her face and twirled around when I set her plate on the floor.  I know it hurt her to do that, but she did it for me.

After I climbed into bed, my cat Astro, hopped on the bed laid down and just stared at them, I flipped around and laid next to him and we talked about how sad we were going to be, and he just put his head and paws on me and purred.  He knew, he knew that their time was coming to an end.  This morning Astro just laid by the back door and meowed.  He's mourning.

Bailey was peacefully sleeping this morning so I left her alone.  I had to go find Jasper.  He was hiding again.  I picked him up and just hugged him.  Then I got into my car and drove to the station.  Let me just say getting through the show this morning with a smile on my face was difficult knowing what I had to do in a few hours.   So if I was a little off today, please forgive me.

I went to pick them up and my Jasper who is always the cooperative one fought me the whole way into the car and into the vet office.  Bailey took it all in stride.  They knew.

Then it came time.  The vet came into the room, and Jasper was the first to go, she gave him the medicine, and I held onto him until he was gone.   Then it was Bailey's turn.  The vet gave her the medicine, and for the first time in over a year.  She curled up in my arms and laid her head on my chest, took a few more breaths and then went to sleep. I held her for about 10 more minutes and said my final goodbyes and kissed them both.

That was it, my babies were gone and I'm heartbroken.  Seventeen and 14 years is a lifetime.

I'm thankful they did not have to do this alone.  I'm thankful they got to do this together as brother and sister.  Hopefully they ran into Heaven like they ran when they were puppies.

They were good dogs.

Photo Courtesy: Lori Crofford