When Josie turned 13 years old (about 2.5 years ago), I started calling her my “Old Lady.” She was the longest “relationship” I’ve ever had. She was the love of my life, my soul mate, my companion and my ride or die bitch.
In June of 2000, I saw her for the first time when she was just days old and I named her. I named her after the cartoon Josie and the Pussycats, if you’re wondering. In August of 2000, when she was 7 weeks old, I brought her home. She was so tiny, she fit in the palm of my hand. Over the years, she grew quite a bit, but never went over 8.5 pounds.
Here she is as a very young Josie. Looking over the edge of my bed, trying to figure out if she would make it or not!
She was such a precious girl.
She was loving and cuddly for the first few years of her life. As she grew older, she didn’t like to be held unless she was in the mood. She didn’t like to cuddle as much unless she didn’t feel well.
In October of 2000, I had surgery on my left hand. I was laying on my bed, propped up against the wall, watching TV and playing “tug” with her with my right hand. At one point, she jumped and landed on my left hand. I moved my left arm so fast, it flung her off the bed and across the floor. I just about died. I was in tears until I knew she was okay.
One of her favorite things to do was to jump up on my lap while I was on the phone or in a conversation and since I wasn’t paying attention to her, she would put one of her paws on my mouth to try to shut me up. She would do this to very few people, but my best friend Tobe was given this treatment when I lived with her and her sons.
In May of 2015, she had a stroke. At that time, we discovered she had a slipped disc in her back, which was causing a lot of her clumsiness. She was also in the beginning of kidney failure and dementia. She had high blood pressure, a heart murmur and was deaf. In May, the vet told me it would just be a matter of time and that my Josie would let me now when she was ready to go.
Yesterday, when I got home from work, I discovered Josie had lost control of her bowels and bladder. She was experiencing very labored breathing and was whimpering in between each breath. After I cleaned things up as best I could (including her butt that was caked with poop), I wrapped her in a pee pad and a towel and snuggled her. I knew it was time.
I was devastated and heart broken. As I cuddled her, I took this photo because I wanted that reminder of how I knew. She let me know through the way she was looking at me that she was done. She needed to rest.
I called my mom in a panic and we agreed it was time. I then took her to Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital over in Louisville.
They put us in a “comfort room” and came in to talk to me (between my sobs I learned the vet’s name was Ruth). Ruth let me know that they would do it in this room and I could hold her as long as I needed before they did it and after.
The tech took my Josie to put in an IV port and then brought her back to me, still wrapped up in the pad and towel. I held my girl and sobbed and told her I loved her and that I would be okay. She could rest now. I thanked her for being the best dog ever and for being my constant companion for the last 15.5 years. The vet came in and gave her a sedative through the IV. I immediately felt and heard a difference in Josie’s breathing. It was no longer labored. She then made eye contact with me as Ruth put the meds in that would put her to sleep. She went within 2 minutes of that injection, the entire time, holding eye contact with me. I watched the pain leave my baby’s eyes and I watched her rest for the final time. It was the most precious and heart wrenching thing I have ever experienced.
Less than 24 hours later and I’m going in between being numb and being devastated and sobbing. Right now, as I’m writing this, I’m sobbing. I have to get ready for my 2nd job though so I need to compose myself and get ready for that.
Josie Barrett was born June 4, 2000 and passed away November 30, 2015. My best friend, my soul mate, the love of my life. I will never forget her. She was the best companion I could have ever asked for.
Until next time…