Monday, December 21, 2009


We had to put our dog down on Friday. It was horrible, absolutely horrible. It was just on Tuesday that we learned she had cancer, after nearly 2 months of being frustrated by what had been diagnosed as a UTI that wasn't responding to antibiotics.

This dog picked me back in 1997. My husband and I had been dating for about 18 months at that point. So our little westie mix had been there through nearly it all. As a rescue dog, she'd been through a lot in her life prior to us, and it would actually do a disservice to her strong, more than slightly warped personality to pretend she had been a perfect dog. She was as flawed as we are, but at her core, sweet and loving. You might look at her and think fluffy dog, but she was tough, and strong, and determined, and fierce. She could tackle tough trails in rocky areas with the agility of a mountain goat - this was no fluffy dog.

Living in a big urban area, we have the best resources available to us - three pet hospitals fully staffed with top specialists. Our regular vet practice had been working on the UTI issue, and finally said it clearly wasn't a UTI and referred us to a specialist at a bigger vet hospital. That practice spent an entire day (yeah, the $$ added up quickly) figuring it out. We couldn't make any decisions without information. On Tuesday, they prescribed an anti-inflammatory and said it would either help a bit and buy us some time, or it wouldn't, and it likely wouldn't. And that vet called us every day to assess how things were going. Unfortunately, that vet wasn't working Friday, and by the afternoon we decided to take her to the hospital closer to our house, the one I had originally used. We needed more info - our dear little dog was hanging on, but by the slenderest of threads, and we needed to have her examined to make any decisions.

And that vet did an exam and ultrasound, and came back to our holding room and said, this sucks. Yes, she is alert and responsive and relatively happy. And, she will stay that way, until her extremely swollen bladder bursts, and she is in terrible pain. We were seeking the middle ground - the point when you know it's time. This particular form of cancer offers no middle ground - a moderately uncomfortable but fairly OK dog, or one who is in terrible pain. No gradual decline, no point where it was clearly time, until it was beyond clearly time. And, after we asked, the vet said if it was her dog, the time was now. We didn't want to have the regret of putting her through agony, so the decision was made. And it was extremely peaceful, and it was the right decision, and it was hard. The sedative caused her to burrow into our arms, and the final mixture took only a second or two to act.

And we miss her terribly.


Nixy said...

So sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful pet, and she was lucky to have you.

Caro said...

So sorry.

Sue said...

Very sorry about your loss. I have an imperfect terrier mix too and I love her dearly. You gave your dog a wonderful life and did the right thing to help her in the end.

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Tash said...

Oh God, I'm so sorry. What an incredibly sweet dog, and what a rapid decline and horrible non-choice to have to make. Just adorable. Dogs are amazing how they snuggle into our hearts, aren't they. Hugs to everyone.

CLC said...

I am so sorry about your dog. What a tough decision to have to make. I hope you know she was lucky to find a home with you!

nakedjen said...

I am so sad and sorry for your loss. She chose you for all the right reasons. All of them.

It is never, ever easy to say goodbye to our animal members of the family. They hold our hearts, gently, on their own four paws.

I'm sending all of you peace.