Sunday, March 1, 2009

Good Dog

I had thought that my first post back home from India would have been about my trip to India. But it's not, it's about my dog, Flint.

He had been sick since the Monday before I came home, not able to keep down even water. He had lost weight and was listless, barely able to wag and greet me. Hubby took him to the vet the day after I was home. My suspicion was that he had eaten something that was either not good for him or was tying up his insides. The news was both good and bad.

Bad because it was a death sentence, he had a tumor in his liver. Good because I know now that there was nothing we could have done for him.

The vet offered to continue to keep him until Monday on IV when he could have more scans and then perhaps surgery. None of which guaranteed that he'd be better, only that they'd know exactly what it was he had. The tumor looked quite large already. The expenses were adding up too; already over $500 with another $450 just to keep him 2 more days on IV to lead to surgery that may or may not help.

Though we loved him, we chose to not give further treatment because of the expense. He had perhaps a week and if he really revived, a month.

He came home a little more perky and when dinner time came, he was sniffing at the food like usual. But minutes after dinner, I found he couldn't keep it down. After that, he worsened. He wouldn't drink water, he had no energy to walk back to the house after doing his business, without coaxing. His tongue was dried up and I found other evidence of his ill health. I felt that he wouldn't last the night and was only suffering.

I talked to a lady at an emergency veterinarian, it was now after 10pm, the Saturday after coming home. I told her the symptons and asked if I was being too hasty in thinking of having him euthenized. She said she couldn't tell me exactly the right time but that the signs that I mentioned were that he was ready to go; only, were we ready to let him go?

No, of course not. I had come home, expecting to be greeted by my dog. He would be jumping up excited to see me and to sniff all the smells when I got home. He would be part of my companionship as I re-adjusted to being in the US. Instead, I had a dying and listless dog. But I was ready to let him go because his suffering was greater than my need. We drove that night to the emergency vet clinic, even thinking that he may not survive the trip.

At two minutes to midnight, he lay down to sleep forever.

We both knew that it was the right time, he could barely get out of the car, when he usually would be jumping out before we could open the door. He even lay down on the floor of the exam room and not sniffing and running around. We gave him a relief to his suffering.

I was a mess. From the mission trip to being sick at the end of the re-entry process into the US, my emotions were topsy turvy. But I know it was the right thing at the right time.

Had there been signs that he was sick? Probably, but we had attributed them to him getting older or being out of shape. How we had worn him out when camping. How he would sleep more, even not realizing we were there until we began petting him. How tired he was after a jaunt in the woods. Perhaps he was worsening day by day but we didn't know what it meant. He may have been stressed because I was away longer than I've ever been, which triggered the end.

At least I got to see him before the end and he was almost like his old self for a few hours after the vet. He kept my husband company while I was away.

He was, in all, a Good Dog.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. What a wonderful friend he was.