Thanks everyone for the outpouring over my lovely Consuela and her failing health. Things are more or less the same right now. She's definitely weaker, still not eating, but still interested in us and in what's going on around her. Since she doesn't seem to be in any pain and can get outside when she needs to, we are hoping nature will take its course in due time. Thanks again for all your love and support!! I know that many of you have been through this and it's so very difficult. I wanted to share with you this message Dan posted to his running forum:
One of my former running mates is about to die. Consuela, my dog. She’s 17 years old and we’ve had her since she was about 4-6 months old…just a little more than a month after my wife and I were married in 1992. We got her when I was in the Navy and stationed in Spain. She was in a kennel for strays on the Navy base and was just one day away from being euthanized. She’s a mutt but she’s 100% pure loyal and loving. We’ve had her years longer than we’ve had our kids…13 and 10 years old. She was the original canine member of what we refer to as “The Consuela Pack”…our family.
When she became a part of our family I immediately realized that she was a playful and athletic dog. She loved to play fetch and would literally be waiting for me when I got home from work with a stick or ball in her mouth. She was full of energy and we’d play for hours. In a very short time just playing fetch wasn’t enough. So, I started taking her on short runs with me through the Spanish neighborhoods and countryside. Her mileage continued to increase and eventually I was taking her on runs as long as 10 miles. The great thing about it is that Consuela didn’t need a leash. She wasn’t “trained” but she’d stay right at my side for the entire run. I’d look down and say “How ya doin’ girl?” and she’d just look up at me, with her tongue flapping and a smile on her face as if to say “This is the life!”…and it was…“Thank you so much.” Every runner needs a partner like that.
A year or so later we added to our family. Still no kids, but we welcomed another dog into our home. Roscoe, the second canine member of The Consuela Pack. He was about the same age as “Consy” and every bit an athlete. Now we had a running group. Except that Roscoe like to “roam” as the three of us would progress through a run. Of course Consuela would follow him. So, I resorted to using a leash for both of them. Roscoe was a great dog too. Sadly, we lost him a few years ago at about 14 years old.
But now it’s Consuela’s time to go. The years and illness have gotten to her. There are probably treatments or procedures the veterinarian could do for her to briefly prolong the inevitable. But at 17 years old how much time would it really give us? She’s not in pain and she still gets about enough to go outside and relieve herself. But that won’t last. Her appetite had tapered significantly over the past several months. Then, about ten days ago she essentially stopped eating altogether and now only drinks water. She even turns her nose at the most delectable table scraps that just a few weeks ago she would have devoured in no time. She’s gotten very skinny. Where there was once thick, lean muscle that enabled her to run the miles with me there is now pretty much just skin and bone. She was once a lean, healthy dog that could run and jump with the best of them. I took a little pride in knowing that I helped make her what she was.
My last run with Consuela was probably back in the fall of 2008. It was only a mile or so and by the end of it she wanted to walk. Like most of the runs in recent years, it did her in for the rest of the evening. But she always looked forward to her next run or game of fetch. And although that last run was a short one in comparison to those in her early years, I guess I subconsciously realized what was happening but refused to acknowledge it.
So now she’s clearly at the end of her life. It’s imminent. But we can tell she’s not in pain. We would do the humane thing if she were. Now, our runs together are just a fond memory…as they will always be. But she was more than just a running partner to me. She’s been the sister to my two human children. She’s been a companion when I was home alone. I could talk and she would listen. And with just the right receptive attitude I think she would offer advice to me. But now she just lays there and looks at us as if to say “I’m going. I don’t have long. I’ve given you all I have to give. Please say your goodbyes.”
It makes me cry, literally shed tears, when I think about her life coming to an end. I never thought I’d cry over a dog until we had Roscoe put to sleep. My wife and I stayed with him to the very end and we both bawled like babies. When “Consy” goes I know it’ll happen again. I just wish I could have one more run with her. One more fetch. But it’s not possible. So when you go on your next run please give a thought to my old running partner and imagine my little blond friend bounding at your side with perky ears and a flapping tongue. I’ll miss her.