It’s been almost a year since Lexie recognized her own name.
Slowly, her eyes lost focus.
Then she simply forgot who I am.
Each day when we meet, it’s as if for the first time. She opens her mouth wide, and gently nibbles my hands for a clue to who I could be. Some days she will lower her head onto my lap. Other days she simply walks away, to start her endless circling path around the coffee table.
Dementia has stolen our baby Lex. She hardly barks any more. A dog treat barely registers more than a mouthy snap.
For 15 years she has been my constant companion. So when symptoms of her dementia reared up this month —including her getting stuck behind our couch — I knew it was time to get her evaluated.
The vet was shocked at her appearance. Lex had lost 3 pounds since our last visit. Her eyes seemed distant. She was not friendly or open to meeting the vet tech.
During the physical exam, Lexie snapped at the vet. Before I could process the situation, the tech placed a muzzle on Lexie’s snout. She writhed and shed what seemed to be at least half of her coat. I put my hand on Lexie’s chest, and did my best to calm her. As her eyes rolled around the room, I could see the terror rise up.
The vet didn’t mince words. She said Lexie lives in a world of fear and anxiety. Sadly, anti-anxiety/depression medications would only lift her inhibitions, possibly leading to more dog bites. If Lex was her dog, she didn’t think it would be fair to keep her in this emotionally painful space.
The tears were falling into my lap before she passed me a tissue.
She offered to put Lexie down right then if I wished. I wondered if this was some sort of bad dream.
I told her Matt and I would have to talk, and that we’d get back to her with our decision.
My heart aches. I can’t imagine my world without my Lexie Doodle.
But I know the vet’s right. At this point in the game, it’s not a matter of if … but when.