This is Harvey, our just turned 14 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Harvey is my first ‘child’ (yes I know how sad that sounds), but he has been mine (ours) since he was 6 weeks old. I carried him home against my chest and endured the sleepless nights settling him into his new home. I have ‘trained’ him, fed him, bathed him, played with him, cared for him and been his ‘mother’ for 14 years.
When he was 3 we thought we would lose him to cancer. He survived. At 6 the cancer came back, and he survived.
Now we are looking at his life in terms of weeks, maybe months, as old age is truly upon him.
The Staffordshire bull terrier that used to hang from trees, chase deer for miles across the forest and was relentlessly exuberant greeting visitors is fading.
The will is there, but his body is failing.
We know that the decision has to be made, but how on earth do we make that call? He may be staggering on his knackered old legs, but the next minute he wants to play ball. He may have an ‘accident’ in the house or the car every week, but he still wants to go for a walk. He may not be as exuberant in his greeting to visitors as he once was, but he loves seeing people.
His sheer will and determination to keep going is astounding, but I can’t help but think are we going to leave it too long? Is he suffering because we are not ready? Does he think that he has to keep going for us?
I wish he had a voice, so he could tell us whether he has had enough and is ready for his well earned big sleep.