I Wanted To Do Everything In My Power To Help My Dog Enjoy Those Last Moments

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Sully and Kristey's Story

 Instagram @sullytheoldman


In July 2017, after a long time of wanting to adopt a dog, I took the step and adopted Sully from Dallas Pets Alive. He was estimated to be 10 years old at the time after they rescued him as a stray in late April. He was so malnourished and suffering from arthritis that he could barely hold himself up to use the bathroom. His fosters had to put him in a wagon to transport him around and did not think he was going to be around with them for long. After a month, he was up and walking again; starting to live a life worth living. So, in July when I was making my decision on what kind of dog I needed, it was one of the easiest decisions to love that precious face and bring him home with me.

The first week he was home, he stayed in his bed and would not come near me. But, after being consistent in giving him forced loves, by Saturday of the first week, he became a Velcro dog and never left my side. His favorite thing to do was to walk around outside and sniff absolutely everything, take naps, and eat lots of treats. I did not know how long I would have with him, but I wanted him to have the best last years of his life filled with love and spoiling. After having him for three months, Sully started showing signs of extreme anxiety. He would hide underneath my bed, pace, and increased breathing; sometimes turning into a full out panic attack. After taking him to the vet, we found out that he had the beginnings of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome; a fancy title for doggie Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common in dogs as they age and only gets worse as they age. So, with that prognosis, I wanted to do everything I could to help him. We used essential oils, collars infused with natural calming agents, and then eventually we added in medication.

During this season of my life, I was in the most intense semester of grad school, I have ever had, where I could not have a social life and had very little interaction with people outside of work. It was in these moments when I was feeling swallowed by the amount of school work I had that Sully's presence meant the world. He would lay at my feet when I was writing papers or studying and kept me company. He was my main man and his consistency, loyalty, and unconditional love kept me going.

In January of this year, his anxiety attacks started to rear their heads more frequently and became more intense. After many visits to the vet, to test everything we could to see what could be triggering them, the only thing that would calm him was medication; never something someone wants to rely on for the mental health of their pet. I looked into different options for him that could give him more space to walk outside, more intentional care, or someone that was able to be home with him throughout the day. I wanted to do everything I could to secure a better life for him, even if it meant him not being with me. After a month of increased anxiety for both of us, little to no option of someone else caring for him, I had to really ask myself some hard questions about Sully's quality of life. The amount of medication the vet had him on to calm him, started to make him sick and made it so he could barely stand on his own four legs.

He had become my best friend. He was reliably always there and never stopped loving me. How was I supposed to make the hardest decision any pet owner has to make? I didn't think that I had the right to make that choice for him, but his quality of life was quickly deteriorating and I wanted to do everything in my power to help him enjoy those last moments. So, on January 31st, I called the vet and told her it was time. I took the day to give him the best day every - in a senior dog standard way. We took long walks, went to the dog park, and ate cheeseburgers. When the time for his appointment came, I walked him to the vet, just the two of us. The way it had always been the entire time I had him. After he was gone, the walk home was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. Carrying his leash and collar, I knew my life was forever changed by my sweet Sully. Going on in life without him has been extremely difficult, but I know now that I can have a large amount of love for something that can do nothing for me except love me in return. 

You can follow me on Instagram @kristey_lyn 

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