The summer after my grandma died, I somehow convinced my parents that we needed another dog to keep Princess company. My mom and I looked at shelter dogs online and then went to the shelter “just to look.” We each picked out a dog. My mom wanted to get this old golden retriever, my dad liked a dog named Guinness, but the comments said she was aggressive. I walked up and down the aisles and finally came to Buffy’s cage. She was one of the dogs we saw online. She ran up to the bars and started licking my hand.
We went home to pick up Princess to make sure the dogs would be OK together. When we got back, someone else was looking at Buffy, but we saw her first ;) She and Princess basically ignored each other, so we took that as a good sign and brought her home. Princess was completely silent the whole way back, she had never been that calm in the car before.
After a few weeks living with us, they started fighting, and continued to fight until Princess was too old. Princess couldn’t pay anymore without Buffy jumping in and trying to play too and Princess refused to play with her. Buffy would dangle toys in her face, try to force them into her mouth, but Princess would just smack her, starting a fight.
Buffy did get mad at Princess sometimes, usually when she was stressed out about something and she’d attack her. Poor Princess would get scared and angry. One of her little quirks. We think her living in the shelter for three months made her a little crazy. She had a “hot spot” on her back. She would spend hours scratching herself on the tree in the backyard. Also very Buffy was how she freaked out when anyone hugged. Probably because she thought hugs meant goodbye.
Deep down, Princess loved Buffy and Buffy definitely loved Princess. Buffy thought she was alpha, but all of her confidence came from Princess. Buffy was awfully depressed when Princess died. The first time we picked her up from the groomers a black lab was there being groomed and my mom and I started crying when we saw her. The groomer said Buffy did the same thing.
We also noticed she had lost her hearing at some point. Something that was masked since she always followed her sister around. She became more and more afraid of everything. Little dogs, kids, deer, bunnies. She’d turn and run the other way. She was bravest when the three of us were around to protect her.
The last few years she suffered from terrible arthritis that has gotten worse and worse. She loved to run, and even though her back legs gave out, it didn’t seem to bother her. She ran until she couldn’t even walk. Even last year were were still playing one of her favorite games: she’d chase me into the kitchen and then we’d turn around and I’d chase her into the blue bedroom, back send girth until we were tired.
We hadn’t been able to go for a walk in a while now, going to the bathroom and even eating had been a chore for her.
Last Thursday night I had a dream that I was over my parents’ house and the vet was there to put Buffy to sleep. Once dream Buffy figured out what was going on, she started running around the backyard. It didn’t really go that way.
Friday morning my mom called and told me Buffy collapsed the day before and still couldn’t get up. I went up there early. She must have hurt her right front leg pretty badly because it seemed to really bother her. Unfortunately she couldn’t get up with only three legs. I’d never seen her so frustrated and upset.
I stayed with her in the kitchen until she fell asleep. It was a rough few hours. She was whining and scrambling. I tried to help her up to pee, we took half a step before she collapsed again. I cleaned her off. She cried some more, I tried to comfort her. She finally exhausted herself and fell asleep. I slept on the couch in the next room in case she needed me.
She still couldn’t get up in the morning, but at least she wasn’t whining anymore. She slept most of the day. We dragged her outside one last time. We gave her a last meal of bacon and reces peanut butter cups. We brought her into the living room and sat with her. I told her she didn’t have to worry about me going, it was Buffy’s turn to go.
The vet came at 5:30 to put her to sleep. I fed her peanut butter cups while they worked so she wouldn’t know what was going on. She wouldn’t eat the last crumble. We cried and said goodbye to her.
Buffy was so alert and aware of what was going on, it was heartbreaking. She had no concept of death, she just knew she hurt, she couldn’t walk, and she didn’t understand why. At least she doesn’t have to hurt anymore and she’s with her big sister now.