Goodbye, miss Dahlia.
I had to put my sweet old lady down a couple of weeks ago. I had been out of town after losing a family member, she was losing weight and going downhill (as expected, her kidneys and heart were failing her) before I left, but still herself, spunky, eating, drinking. After just two days when I got home she was looking bad, my family member caring for her said she had been acting tired, but still eating until that day. She disappeared outdoors, usually she would simply sun herself out there with us, when she disappeared and didn't come running when I was walking and calling for her, I just knew somehow she'd left to die. The next day I found her, in the garden next door cold and dehydrated. She FELT like she was dying, working in small animal rescue you get to know the feeling. I took her in and wrapped her up and got her to the vet when they opened.
They gave her a SubQ injection to help with any pain, and relax her. She died while the vet was trying to find a vein a little while later to inject the euthanasia solution. She was already unconscious at the time, wrapped up in her blanket and hopefully as comfortable as she could be. It was as peaceful as I could have hoped.
I wish I'd had many more years with her, she showed up as an elderly stray a few years ago and never left. I was never able to track down her old owners, the majority of her life is a total mystery. But I'm touched that I was able to know her and give her a home in the end. She was a wonderful, brave and loving little girl. She was never warm towards my boy cats, but she jumped between them and a large tom who came into my house and tore him a new one when he was after them before I could get in the middle of it. She let me know (LOUDLY) when someone was trying to break into my house in the dead of night. She taught my large cat-hating dog how he ought to act around them and never once took any BS from him. She was the best ratter I've ever had, the heck with man-made traps, she cleared up a large rat problem by herself when nothing else worked. But was always very patient with my own pet rats.
I miss her very much. I hope one day I get to have another like her.