I have two dogs. Layla and Barker. Layla is new to the house, we rescued her when she was about a year and a half old. Barker or my "Barkey Boy" will be eleven this summer.
Barker was my first dog, he's been around since I was twelve years old. He has morphed from an athletic and expressive young pup to a now solemn and soulful old dog. He can't see too well, and he has begun having accidents in the house lately.
I recently had to face that, while it may be hard, Barker's time might be coming within the year. We can prolong it, and cherish it, and even contemplate it, but we know it's inevitable. It happens to everyone, human and canine.
But how do you know when?
Our furry friends can't talk the way we do. Barker can't tell me his hips hurt, or that he needs me to speak up. It hurts.
For years, Barker has stood by my worst and ugliest times, stoic and ready to assist with anything he could. I owe him the same. But how do you?
Evaluating the quality of life for anything is difficult, let alone your pet companion. What's most important? Happiness? Comfort? Their bill of health overall? It's hard to know.
We want for them what we want for most people: A roof over their heads, a full belly, and a smile on their faces. Why does it seem like that's getting harder to provide?
Dogs are so loving and so sweet, that it almost seems like they wouldn't tell you they were hurting even if they could. They don't judge or hold malintent towards us. We are who we are and that is enough for them. it's important that we give them at least a fraction of that love back.
I can't say when it will be Barker's time: some say you just wake up one day and know. I hope I both do and don't. But what I will always know is that I want the best and only the best for him. It only seems fitting for your best friend.