Today our family said goodbye to Elsa. It went the best we could hope for: The initial sedative worked quickly, and it was a relief to see her truly relaxed for the first time in a while. We sat around her on the floor, petting her, saying goodbye, and remembering her, then asked the vet in to finish. She required a second injection of the euthanasia drug, but passed quietly.

Elsa had arthritis in her back legs, and it had made a lot of things very hard for her. She wanted to be with us wherever we were in the house, but getting up and down the stairs was harder and harder on her. She began to fall every now and then, and would sometimes cry out from the pain when trying to climb the stairs. We ended up putting up a gate to keep her downstairs, and that was pretty tough: She slept in a bedroom for as long as she was part of our family, and it was hard to leave her downstairs at night.

We adopted Elsa from a shelter ten years ago. We didn’t know much about her history except that she had been brought up from California, and had been found outdoors with two puppies.

She was often a challenge. We don’t know what kind of trauma she endured before she came to our home. Loud noises and sudden movement were hard on her, and she once smashed through a wooden fence when a car backfired and she got off her leash in a panic. She hated being outdoors or out of sight of the house. She was usually content to just be with us wherever we were in the house. We took it as a sign that she re-found some sense of spirit when she started barking at strangers just two or so years ago.

She was a sweet dog and we’re going to miss her. I’m so glad her suffering is over.