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December 24, 2016
We put our obstreperous dog Tilda (the boxing gloves photo is no accident) to sleep this morning.
About six weeks ago, she stopped putting any weight on one of her hind legs. We weren’t surprised; she had broken her femur years ago, before we got her. It only seemed a matter of time before arthritis got the better of her.
X-rays were taken. An anti-inflammatory was prescribed. But improvements were temporary. We met with a surgeon yesterday, fully expecting that Tilda would lose her leg. Our questions were simple: What would her recovery be like? How would she pee, poop, jump up on our bed? We’d seen three-legged dogs on the street, and knew she could succeed at that. She hopped down the hall with great enthusiasm.
More X-rays. We were surprised to learn that she had a tumor, fast-growing and inoperable. It hadn’t even been visible on the earlier set of X-rays.
New Christmas travel plans were made, then set aside, as we realized how much pain she was in. She chose new places in our small apartment to sleep, curled up in a corner away from everyone and everything, as if she just wanted to drift away. So we took her on that last, sad trip to the vet so that she could do that. Josh carried her to the car. (Thank you, Paula, for driving us three blocks for the second time in a week.)
We had her for almost seven years. We adopted her on Martin Luther King’s birthday weekend in 2010. She spent her early life in Georgia, and arrived loving kids, panel trucks, and protecting her territory. She came running when a stranger whistled. It was clear that someone else had loved her before we did.
In NYC, she learned about elevators, snack food dropped on the pavement, snow, rats, and neighborliness.
We thank all our neighbors and friends for putting up with her barking and her inclination to fight with the big dogs, for the affection you showed her and the many pats on the head. She used to come home from a walk smelling of the soaps and perfumes of all who adored her.
And we thank Tilda for making our house a home.
With gratitude, Kath & Josh