Now, the other event. Roux, our big, old Chocolate Lab who has been our third crew member throughout the trip, has gone into decline. We knew this could happen at any point in the trip. I don't think it is a coincidence that he waited until we were back in Florida, and really all the way back home, before he started to fail. I think we were meant to come home for Junie's back so Roux could be home, too. His legs just don't have the strength to hold him up anymore. We had to leave him at the vet's office for a few days while Junie went for surgery. He required 'intensive care' which, in boarding terms, means that it took two people to help him up and out for daily business.
When I went back to pick him up, I had a talk with the vet. Typically, you can expect that they will take a passive role in the decision to end your pets' suffering. When I mentioned that we were considering that it might be time, he quickly agreed. Not a good sign. We took Roux home because he deserves that. We will have to make arrangements to have someone come to our house when it is time.
This is really tough. Roux is still alert - sometimes. He likes to eat - but you have to bring the food to him and he eats lying down. He still poops and pees - but only with help to hold him up. He can't climb stairs, up or down. I am using a firewood sling to carry him - and he is not light, although he is down to 95 lbs. We are having trouble letting go. If he was in imminent danger, pain or suffering, it would be much easier. As it is, he sleeps a lot, is somewhat humiliated by his weakness but has us to help him. Looking into those eyes when they are smart and active makes it seem unthinkable.
We are all glad to be home for a while. While Junie recuperates, we are holding on to Roux. For Junie, obviously, it is considerably easier being at home than getting around the boat. For Roux, there are familiar surroundings, smells and sights. No long docks, ramps or dinghies to deal with - none of which he could do now. He seems to drift into that sort of half sleep that old people finally reach toward the end. Hopefully, he dreams of the beaches while he is resting.