From iphone 024 (640x480)I knew it was only a matter of time until Fella, my 14-year-old Corgi, would pass. He has been unsteady on his back legs for some time. And yes I know they make those wheelie carts for long dogs who lose mobility, but those are not for him…he was afraid of loud noises, and it would’ve scared him to death, among other things.

So this week he went downhill fast. He had a yucky discharge from the nose, he has battled some sort of infection all around his lips for a year, he started dragging himself around by his front legs, refusing to even try the back ones any more. He was also losing control of his bladder. He’d seen vets in TN twice and FL twice, and I was dosing and applying and all the things you do when your dog is a senior citizen. I was even carrying him outside and holding up the back end for him to potty. It wasn’t working.

My husband went out of town and I sorta knew I’d be the one left with the duty of watching him die, or worse having him PTS. I hate putting pets to sleep. It seems like I’m playing God, making decisions that may or may not be the right ones. But I’d been praying that he wouldn’t have to suffer (the dog, that is) and yesterday and today he was suffering.

Speaking of God, you know that for me He’s always right in the middle of what I’m doing and today was no different. All night Fella dragged himself this way and that, trying to get comfortable. During the night I got up and tried to take him potty, which he refused, and served up 2 whole bowls of water, which he gulped from a lying-down position. I awoke with a start at 8:15 and started to call the vet when that still, small voice said wait until 9:00.

So I sat on the edge of the bed and waited. Watching Fella try to breathe, I thought he was going to die about then. I texted my husband: Fella’s all but gone.

During the wait, the Lord spoke to me about these decisions we must make for those who can’t do it themselves, and how it is best that little dogs not suffer, and it’s up to me to keep him from it.

At 9:00 Fella was still hanging on with labored breathing and my husband texted me. I’ll be praying for you. So that was what I waited for—someone to pray on my behalf, as I certainly couldn’t do it on my own. Someone to care what I was going through all alone. I called the vet.

At the Corgi Picnic, 2005 I think
At the Corgi Picnic, 2005 I think

I noticed then it was raining, which is important to the next part I’m going to tell you. I put up the top on the convertible and put a towel on the seat for Fella so he wouldn’t slide. Then I carried him to the car and turned it on. “We’re going to listen to ‘Praise you In This Storm’ by Casting Crowns,” the radio announcer said.

Not only is that one of my favorite songs, but the words were so appropriate I knew that it was the Spirit once again reaching to my heart. Here’s what I heard as I backed out of the drive: I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

(The last line as I tried to find the windshield wiper button on my new-to-me car.) The song was exactly what I needed in that moment. The rest of the song is printed below, as well as a link to the video. Even in the horrid grief of what I was about to do I knew I could lift my hands because God is God and He is on His throne. Oh, except I didn’t lift my hands since I was driving. I so appreciate that God cares for the sparrow and even for my ailing, aged dog. I wish I had a better word to describe how much His goodness means to me–appreciate sounds so small.

The vet’s office is very good to whisk you right in, so I put him on the table but he scooted over against me and stuffed his head under my arm. A tech came and held him tight as he struggled—now I wish I had been the one to hold him—and they administered that last painful shot.

It is a blessing that we have this kind of service, that we are able to make decisions for our pets and give them comfort instead of pain. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t bawling my eyes out through the entire thing. I came home and flopped on the floor and cried like never before. Noelle the Honorary Corgi rolled around on me and tried to comfort me; mostly she covered me in hair. I thought only Fella understood my feelings but maybe Noelle pays attention too. Piper, a Maltese, licked crazily like she does every time I come through the door.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Fella won’t be back,” I told them, and burst into tears again. Fella, my heart dog. They say you only have one like that. One of my friends told me dogs are angels wrapped in fur. I want that to be true. But mostly I want him to be in the living room tossing a toy up in the air and catching it just to make me laugh.

“Praise You In This Storm”

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus:]
And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

[Chorus]

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Casting Crowns Praise you in this Storm

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