Australian Shepherd Lifespan
by Debra Watson
We lost our beautiful red dog, Abigail, a couple of days ago. She was thirteen years, eight months, and ten days old. She was the runt of the litter, and I first held her when she was a week old.
She brought much joy to us as she went on long walks with my husband Andy, played catch with me, acted protectively, chased the cats, ate the cats' food and ours when it was left unattended, loved eating napkins and tissues, and served as our faithful companion.
She had begun to slow down a couple of years ago. When we had her groomed over a year ago, her fur was slow to return. Finally the vet diagnosed her with Cushings disease (tumor on her adrenal gland), plus she had thyroid issues. My husband faithfully gave her medications.
A few days ago she laid around (a little more than usual, ate very little, peed (bladder control had been an issue for sometime), but no poop. We were busy and didn't take in the signs at the time.
A few nights ago she came in from the dining room to greet us in the kitchen where we were eating supper. She did not bark, as she usually did and left without eating. She went to our bedroom and laid down where she had been sleeping for some time. Later we went to bed, assuming she was asleep. Later I went to the restroom and stopped to greet her. "Hey, Abigail !", my standard greeting, and I petted her head as she panted lightly.
The next morning around 9:00 am my husband and I agreed that he should wake her to give her the medication. He said, "She's stiff. I think she's dead!" She was.
We put her in the back seat of the car, wrapped in her drying-off towel, and I left her at the vet's office so they could cremate her. Our hearts are broken. We are sad for our loss and yet rejoice that she didn't suffer. She had seemed sad, and for her sake it was a blessing to find relief from the challenges she had. We were glad that we did not have to make a decision later to have her put to sleep.
I had wished that she could have lived to her fourteenth birthday (September 9), but she had regained most of her beautiful red fur and died as a sweet, precious lady. We thank God for allowing us to share a number of years with her.