Friday Firesmith – Lilith Anne the Muttress of All the Magnolias

Lilith and I meeting in 2012

Lilith Anne began slowing down a couple of years ago. The decline was almost unnoticeable, but one day, she doubled back to the house instead of following me and the rest of the pack into the woods, as we would do when I got home. It was on these daily trips Lilith would bring me a magnolia leaf she had found. Always a magnolia, and she would never hand it over until we were back at the house. I stopped getting leaves from her. She stopped running and playing with the other dogs, and this too was a slow process. 

Lilith has never been one to get her feet wet or go out into the rain, but she started peeing on the deck instead of going into the yard, and then one day, she peed in the house. Mobility decreased slowly, but in the last six months, things began to simply fall apart. 

A fungal skin infection refused to respond to treatment, and I was bathing her every other day. She stopped eating. When she could no longer get on the bed I would help her up, and then I started helping her down. Finally, Lilith stopped wanting to get on the bed, and then she stopped getting on the sofa. The two dog beds we had in the house, one in the living room and the other in my bedroom, became all the exercise Lilith could handle, going from one to the other. 

Lilith, the Bringer of Magnolia Leaves

Last month, Lilith stopped pooping and was in a great deal of discomfort. I took her to the vet’s and expected the worst. They did ex-rays and found a pinched nerve in her back that was making pooping painful and difficult. A host of medications to address this issue, as well as a UTI, and a little hope was what they gave us. In two weeks, the vet said, she might be better. Not would be better, not will be better, but might be. Maybe. I was given two weeks more with my dog, and I knew it. 

Lilith didn’t respond well to the meds. She peed on herself now, while she was walking, or sleeping. We tried putting diapers on her with limited success. But Lilith no longer had any quality of life. She ate when it was tuna or cooked eggs, but her mobility was almost gone. Two days before I was supposed to take her back in I called them and scheduled Lilith to be put to sleep. 

When we arrived the cheerful woman at the desk stopped smiling. She looked at the screen and looked at me. “Yes sir, we’ll get Lilith in immediately.” 

They took Lilith in, put a port in her right front leg, and she and I lay on the floor alone together for thirty minutes, saying goodbye, getting her ears petted, and letting her know she was loved. The vet came in, told me to take all the time we needed, but Lilith was tired, she hurt, and she wanted to go. 

As I held her head in my hand, the first injection eased Lilith into sleep. The next stopped her heart. I held her as long as I could, then I let Lilith go. 

She’s buried under some young magnolia trees in the woods. 

Take Care,


Lilith at the end

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

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