Today, our beloved German Shepherd passed away while at home. It was peaceful and painless. A big brief sigh and then he was no more. This was not totally unexpected, although it still came as a shock and painful stab in the heart. Two weeks ago he suffered what appeared to be a big stroke. I thought it was his time then. He couldn't get off his pillow, couldn't raise his head, and just lay there pathetic. It was terrible. Our vet came and checked him out and informed us it could be a stroke or it could be a severe ear infection. To our surprise an inner ear infection mimics the neurological symptoms of a stroke in canines. In both cases prognosis is usually pretty good but recovery is a slow process. So we treated him with antibiotics, dramamine, iv fluids, and such. Each day I would come home from work and start IV fluids on him then sit next to him and smooth his soft velvety ears between my fingers and give him lots of kisses. I would tell him how much he was loved and how special he was to our family.
He slowly, ever so slowly started to recover. In fact just this past week he was Argos, but "off". His gait was way off, stumbling into things with a head tilt and walking almost sideways. Almost as if there was a disconnect between brain and motor function. He was able to get outside and even displayed his normal puppy self, playing with his ball and smothering L-bug with affection. Then two days ago his gait became even more affected and his world appeared more tilted. He started falling more.
Then today, I got home from work early morning and he didn't come to greet me. I went to his bed and snuggled him, loved on him. He was playful but didn't want to get up. We did our little routine of cuddles and scratches. He eagerly returned my affection and I eventually went to bed. Cowboy informed me in the afternoon that L-bug was dancing around Argos, singing in her light fairy voice to him, and frequently giving him little pecks of love on his big noggin. He just laid there, content, then took a big deep breath, and passed on. He was surrounded by her sunshine-y love and warmth. What a way to go.... I am terribly sad and yet so grateful and happy that he went peacefully and with the love of our family around him. He was not alone.