I just got an email from my dad. Candy, one of the family dogs, had to be put down this afternoon.
In March 1994, Boots the poodle-mix we got when I was 2 with had to be euthanized due to complications from an enlarged heart and lungs. My grandmother had died the same week, so it was a really rough time.
On Valentine's Day that year, the border collie that belonged to my sister's in-laws-to-be had a litter of 6 border collie-german shepherd cross pups. In early April, about 2 weeks after Boots died, my sister and her fiance brought over an adorable little puppy with floppy years and a pink and black spotted nose. My mother was reluctant, but my sister and dad and I all immediately fell in love with the puppy. We needed the joy of having a dog in the family again. Candy (so named because of her birthday) was instantly part of the family.
Not too long after that, my parents separated and eventually divorced. My sister and I got too old for my mother to continue to effectively use as pawns against my dad, so she used the dog. Heartbreaking for both Dad and Candy, but Dad and I soon adopted a new dog named Symba, a sweet and loving rottie-shepherd cross from the SPCA to be our dog at his house. Symba passed away three years ago when her arthritis became unmanageable.
As with her children, my mother loved Candy the best way she knew how. Unfortunately, this led to Candy becoming inactive and very obese with skin problems. When my mother became sick and eventually passed away in 2005, my dad and Symba and his new dog Keeper happily welcomed her. We didn't expect Candy to survive to that Christmas. Between the obesity and the arthritis she could barely walk. Under my dad's care, her skin cleared up and the arthritis pain and stiffness was eased as she lost weight through a healthy diet and going out for walks (something my mother never did). He gave her a happy and much healthier four and a half years that she wouldn't have otherwise had.
In the past couple years her fur had gone grey and she lost her hearing, but at the same time everyday she went and nosed at her leash for her daily walk, tail wagging happily, even when she could only make it a little way up the road and back. Yesterday she couldn't get up. Dad gave her some painkillers, but today she got much worse. His vet made a house call.