When I moved to Colorado my husband promised me we would get a dog. Less than two months into our Colorado adventure we were picking up Nittany and taking her home. Nittany has been with me through everything Colorado has thrown at me…home sickness from moving half way across the country, a husband who was a full time PhD candidate (it’s kind of like being a widow), getting married, moving a bunch of times, changing jobs too many times, and finally settling in to a great life in Denver with a job I absolutely love. She licked up my tears when I was sad and happily participated in puppy dance party when I was excited and happy. But, in August we will have lived in Colorado 13 years which means Nittany is 12 and closer to 13 then I would like to admit.
I had never had a “real” pet growing up and Nittany was my first “real” pet (although the verdict is still out if I even consider her a pet – she is a member of the family). Everything I’ve gone through with Nittany has been a first for me. Having a dog spayed, rushing a dog to the emergency vet because she had eaten a stuffed animal and got really sick, rushing to the emergency vet because she got stung by a bee and her face grew four times its original size, finding out that swans chase dogs when Nittany decided to take a quick dip in City Park Lake, having to put a dog under anesthesia because she somehow chipped her front tooth and it had to be pulled out, getting a call from a stranger who had found your dog downtown Fort Collins because she ran away and was mooching food off strangers at a sidewalk café….and this was probably just the first two years of her life.
That brings us to today and another first…finding out your dog has cancer and having to make the most difficult decision of your entire life so that she doesn’t have to suffer anymore. Nittany started getting sick shortly after the New Year and after several rounds of antibiotics and steroids and nothing really helping her get better it was discussed that that most likely cause of her illness was a nasal tumor. Before that time, I never even thought that there was an end to Nittany’s life. I was naïve and liked to think that she would be with me forever. But, the reality was here and Nittany wouldn’t be in our lives forever.
We struggled with asking ourselves when was the right time to let Nittany go from our lives and we even came up with a plan for Nittany’s last week with us, but the pain of knowing our time was limited was breaking our hearts and making us question our decision every minute. I think we were both looking for a sign to know that our decision was the right one but we both agreed that Nittany had always been there for us and we needed to be there for her and make sure she isn’t in any more pain than absolutely necessary.
As you can tell from this rave review Nittany has already won The Best Dog in the Entire Universe Award and today she gave us one last gift for which we will be forever grateful and will seal her title for eternity. As we struggled with knowing if what we were doing was right or not Nittany gave us a sign and we knew it was her time to go…to go and not be in pain anymore and to finally be able to sleep a restful sleep. Nittany went peacefully to sleep on the morning on Monday, July 18, 2016 after over 12 happy years with our family.
I have her paw print etched on my skin and my love for her will be etched on my heart forever. Nittany was the best dog in the entire world and gave us more than we could ever thank her for.