Helen was a Llasa mix that I met at a local no-kill shelter that I volunteer at every week. Although all the animals that come to us are a big part of my heart, she touched me like no other. Helen was found by someone wandering, sick and completely blind. We became very close, blind or not, she knew when I was there. I gave her special care, tending to her medical needs, walking her. I would call her name out and she would follow my voice. We spent many days of quality time at the shelter. We shared many, many hugs and kisses.

Because I already have a special needs dog of my own at home in addition to 2 other dogs and 2 cats, I opted to care for Helen at the shelter, of course always giving her special treatment. One weekend in September, I decided to bring her home for a visit and found her arthritis to be worse off than we thought. She clearly was suffering, moving around all night trying to find a comfortable way to sleep. No wonder she slept all day at the shelter. I took her to the vet who prescribed meds to hopefully help her problem, but he basically recommended to me that putting her down would be best.

I took her home and gave her her meds that day and planned to for the next 14 days to see if they would help, but that 2nd night was worse, she mouned and mouned and clearly was in pain when I tried to lift her. I thought if these meds don't work, that means 14 more days of suffering. I couldn't take that chance. I had a talk with her that last night before taking her back to the vet. Telling her she would once again be able to run and see and that there would be no more pain. The next day I took her in and had her put down. She went so fast and is now buried in my backyard. My 3 dogs and I visit her all the time and change her flowers regularly.....what I don't even do for my own parents!!!

Helen is still so missed to this day. It has already been 5 months. I still think that maybe if I had waited a few more days or if I did do the right thing. Then I remember how uncomfortable she seemed and I am somewhat comforted that she is at peace now. Ofcourse I have pictures of her everywhere in my house and she is still and always will be in my heart. I am just grateful her last days were with me and that I was the last to hold her sweet little body in my arms. Whatever she had gone through before coming to our shelter, she knew the last few months of her life that she was truly loved.

Martha G. Gonzalez
Victoria, Texas

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