He woke me up too early as per usual with his beagle barking. I gave him a special marrow bone today and we went on his favorite walk, even though it’s become harder these days. He had a stumble, but muddled through just the same. I fed him his lunch, took him for a stroll around the yard, talked to him and got him in the car. He had a hard time jumping in, not like the old days. But he still scooted in the front seat to be with me, and whined as usual and pestered me to pat him. And gave me this uncanny smile.
The incontinence has been worse, so I brought a sample as per the vet’s instructions. She’s not only my vet, but an old friend. I’ve made this drive before, to her office and even to her house. But never before has it been so hard because the signs were so nebulous.
My old dog as been failing, but slowly. And my life is changing, rapidly and largely. When do we decide that they can’t change with us? How much do they need to fail before we decide they can’t transition with us? These are the questions that I, along with my vet and some dear friends, have been battling with for weeks.
But today, we decided to take a sample and see what this latest issue was about to see if it might be the final blow. I prepared myself for the inevitable. While everything I read said the signs were all about quality of life, pain etc.–my guy really didn’t exhibit obvious things like my past pets that would make me say: YES it’s time. They were more subtle, so the decision has weighed heavy on me. Plus this dog hasn’t been my best, best friend. We’ve tolerated each other, but he came with his issues and we never bonded as much as I would have liked. So I’ve felt a profound guilt over deciding to do ‘the deed’.
The vet dipped the urine and it showed heavy proteins–no blood, no sugar. That meant bad sign for his kidneys. She helped me realize that while at this present moment he may not be outwardly suffering, the incontinence and constant drinking, means that he is on his way to kidney issues. That, combined with his myriad other issues (anxiety, skin issues, failing hearing and sight, a huge fatty tumor around his penis) and the fact that I will soon be changing his entire world–it made it a no-brainer.
So, my old, crazy friend went out like a beagle howling the whole time. And the vet and I cried like babies. And then for the first time in his silly beagle life, he was quiet and still. She felt around his obvious tumor and then felt something big near his kidney–maybe another lurking tumor. Cancer? Who knows? I will never know now, but maybe that is what was growing and making him sicker.
The older I get, the more I can’t take these things. While I love my pets, the losing them becomes harder. He will meet many of my old buddies now: Ernie, Orville, Duke, Golden Boy and lots of kitties in the Summerland! Now he can run and bark and howl till his heart’s content. And no more Mama telling him: Be quiet Brinkley!