There's no good or easy way to say this but it needs to be said so I'll just get on with it - we had to put Riley down last Thursday.
Right before Christmas I posted an update about how Riley's bad left leg was improving and we were hopeful that she just had a pulled muscle. A couple of weeks later the same symptoms showed up in her right leg.
It was then that we knew the original symptoms were not due to a torn muscle. We had blood work and a chemistry panel done. Everything was normal except for low platelets. So, we started thinking tick-borne disease. There's not a lot known about those diseases and they can cause some really weird symptoms in dogs. We started her on a strong dose of doxycycline to wipe out any nasties she had in her body. Her right leg cleared up in a matter of days. We took this as good news. Riley was soon back to her normal self - chasing Buster, chewing sticks, and checking out all the new sniffs on our long walks. We spent extra time snuggling with her because we were grateful.
Then, on January 11th, the pain and the swelling was back in her left leg again. The vets were stumped. The pain meds were no longer working and every day, instead of getting better as in the past, she got worse. Crying out during the night in pain. Problems walking. Not wanting to sit, stand or lay down because every position hurt. Just miserable. I spent numerous nights sleeping on the floor or the couch with Riley just trying to offer her comfort. I would gently rub the bridge of her nose and that seemed to calm her a little bit. We kept holding onto the hope that her leg would clear up like it had in the past. But then both legs were swollen and I knew that it was over. Finally, I made the call that she had suffered enough. As much as we didn't want to say goodbye, it was no longer fair to keep her here on this earth. We made an appointment and I wrestled with the decision to end her life. The second-guessing was driving me mad. She was only 9 years old. We should have had at least a few more years with her. Some things just seem so unfair.
After putting Riley down, I felt relieved. I was relieved that she no longer had to suffer. Her cries of pain that last week just broke my heart. She was finally at peace. But now, now that a week has passed, I miss her terribly. She was my best friend for 8 years. Always happy to see me, always there. And now she's not. I miss those beautiful, loving, brown eyes.