As a pet owner, at what point do you stop letting nature take its natural course and step in to “play God”?
This is a decision that Ray and I have been tackling over these past two weeks. All of a sudden two weeks ago, Snickers was unable to properly use her back legs and when she did manage to stand she would walk with her back curved in such a way that it looked broken. We took her to the vet, who ran some tests and did a few x-rays and found out that some of the disks in her spine have growths on them, her heart is enlarged and her kidneys are starting to fail. In other words – the 15 almost 16 year old dog is deteriorating and from the looks of it pretty quickly.
He sent us home with 3 different medications… it was a battle trying to get her to take them, but I finally found the trick… use meatballs! She hasn’t been quite the same though even with the medication. She can no longer squat down correctly to do either one of her businesses outside… that’s if she’s even able to hold in the pee long enough to get outside.
We have tried making it more comfortable for her… but even so you can see that things just aren’t right. She still walks with an arch in her back and she still loses control over her back legs from time to time. Her once perfectly straight tail now looks like there is a permanent kink in it.
The dog that just over two weeks ago was a wandering, sniffing, food gobbling machine has become a shadow of her former self. Though I noticed that the medication helped somewhat, I have to admit to myself that she is not the same and not doing well at all. Ray has made his peace with it… so why is it so hard for me to?
I called and made an appointment – her last appointment – with the vet a short while ago. Ray and I had talked about doing this last week, but I couldn’t go through with it. I didn’t see that look of pity… that begging look of “I’m miserable” in her eyes. Though there are times now when I still don’t think I see it, I know that it is there and I know that it is time. I don’t know why it is so hard for me… that dog has been nothing but a thorn in my side since the day I met her… and yet, she is family.
Maybe it’s so hard because I see how much Noah adores her… maybe its because when I look at her laying so peacefully, she doesn’t look sick like the way that Sammie did. She hasn’t stopped eating the way that Sammie did… but everything else is starting to fail her and I know it.
Maybe it’s because I just don’t feel right being one of the people to make the decision that her life has been a good one and now it’s time to go. Who am I to decide that? Should I even decide that? Will there one day be repercussions of my helping make that decision… these are the things that are running through my head… and yet… another voice keeps asking me -“Is it okay to keep her locked up when ever you are not in the room, which is often, because her bladder can no longer be trusted? Is it okay that she is basically confined to one part of the house, because it is the easy clean-up room? Is this the way that you want her to spent her last few days or months?” The answer to each of those would have to be no.
I can not expect her to take the decision making away from us the way that Sammie had… that day in December of last year, when I had made what was to be her last appointment… and she passed away 2 hours before it was to happen… in my arms. Snickers in not in the same situation… she doesn’t have the same condition… and that will not happen this time. And so now I must be strong… for my husband and for his dog… and at 2 pm today I stood there at the vet with her just one last time and I played God.