Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Trying to end on a good note....

Losing a pet is never easy. Losing the most beloved of all that you have ever shared your life with is excruciating.

After Rick tried unsuccessfully to get enough blood Monday morning to run a chemistry panel and CBC, he told me to take Rosie into a small animal clinic to have that done, as well as chest and abdominal x-rays. Our "regular" small animal vet isn't in on Mondays, the second one I called couldn't do it because their x-ray processor was down, so I drove Rosie to a third vet Rick is familiar with who had an afternoon appointment available. The lab results looked good except for a couple spikes that could be attributed to the prednisone we've had her on; no pancreatitis. But the chest x-ray showed a large, undefined mass in her chest that was displacing her trachea way over to her right side, explaining her difficulty in breathing. Obviously something that large didn't happen overnight; apparently she's been compensating for it for a long time before her "crash" on Saturday.

The vet sent us home with a couple cans of easily-digested prescription dog food; I softened it even more with warm water and got her to eat a bit from my hand that evening. She ate from my hand again Tuesday morning, enabling me to get a dose of prednisone down her. That helped her feel better; by Tuesday noon, although still weak, she was able to stand up and eat warm, softened food by herself.

Meanwhile, Rick sent her x-rays to a classmate from vet school who is now a board-certified radiologist at the WSU vet school. Dr. Roberts advised we get Rosie ultrasounded at a referral clinic to get a better idea of what we were dealing with. Some kind of cancer was the most likely diagnosis, but a treatable cyst was another. So today I drove Rosie to Portland. It was so hard to deny her food and water when she was now perky enough to want both (she's actually been drinking well all along), but I had to in case anesthesia was needed (it wasn't). There we got the news we were dreading; a large, inoperable, heart-based tumor that was putting pressure on her trachea and other structures, and causing fluid to collect around her heart. Rick and I conferred by phone. Since the referral practice doesn't do euthansias anyway, we decided to bring her home, make the most of her steroid-induced comfort, and lay her to rest here. Before leaving, I asked for a bowl so she could get a good drink and gave her a dog biscuit I had in my purse. When we got in the car I gave her a tennis ball I had stumbled upon under the seat; she happily gnawed it into little pieces. I swung through Burgerville for some sweet potato fries, which we shared. When we got home, she got another drink, a nice, big dish of warm, soupy canned food (with another prednisone), and a new toy to chew between rests. She even played a bit of tug-o-war with me. Now she's dozing next to me on the couch. Brian is out and about with his Aunt Kristine (bless her!) so I can spend this time with my "Baby Dog;" Rick is not yet home. Tonight after he has a chance to dig her grave, I will stroke Rosie and tell her how much I love her while Rick administers a final mercy and I fall apart for the umpteenth time since I realized a few short days ago I might lose the best dog I've ever had. One final blessing for all three of us: the catheter used to give her IV fluids Monday is still in and open, so we can do this without any final poking.

For now I am going to close this without any photos, because I can't bear to look through my files and think of how much I am going to miss this dog -- my dog. I am going to sit here and absorb every bit of being with her I have left. Seven years has not been long enough....

21 comments:

Allena said...

Michelle,
I'm so sorry! Losing a beloved pet is really rough. There really isn't much to do, but hopefully the pain is worth all the joy you've been able to share.

You are also so lucky to be able to be there and say goodbye to her. I lost a very beloved pet once, a cow of all things, and I didn't get to say goodbye. I have tears right now, 24 years later, it's always with you.

But, on the other hand, I still get a heart full of love and joy when I think of her, and when I remember all the tender moments we shared. And those times, were worth the pain, because I still carry the joy she gave me within my heart. I treasure it.

Beth in WI said...

Oh honey, I'm so sorry.

Sharon said...

I had to get up and walk away, wipe my eyes and swallow the huge lump in my throat to type this. We lost all three of our dogs in a six month period. They weren't young but it didn't make it any easier. We have two "new" dogs now, but I still love and miss my old guys. It's so hard to lose a dog. My heart goes out to you.

Tina T-P said...

Oh, Michelle - I am so sorry to hear about Rosie - Kathy & I talked about it before we went to dinner - but I'm using the computer at the hotel to catch up on some people etc. Our thoughts are with you. Sincerely, T.

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Michelle,
I'm really sorry you are facing this pain right now.

Kathy L. said...

You know I am there with you, dear friend....in sprit, And I hope that that with time, all of this agony will be replaaced with loving, fond memories of your girl.

Tammy said...

Michelle,
My heart hurts for you, my friend. I know it's so hard to lose the little ones. Take care of yourself.
Tammy

Beth said...

I am so sorry to hear that Rosie's time here was over. Our thoughts are with you.

Franna said...

Oh, Michelle,
It is so hard to say goodbye. My heart goes out to you. I'm glad you were able to give Rosie special time at the end.
{{{{{{{{{{Michelle}}}}}}}}}
- Franna

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Thru my teary eyes I finished reading your post; I look at my dogs (we have four) and I dont think I could easily bare to part with any one of them, but least of all Zip, who has always my dog, but Tad was his boy. My heart hurts for you.
Wish I could give you a hug.

melanie said...

Michelle-

I am so sorry for your loss.

Lauren said...

Oh, Michelle, I share in your tears and wish I could do something to make it all better. Since I cannot, I will just say how sorry I am, my dear friend. Many, many hugs.

Woodland Woolworks said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. What a dear sweet doggy, so lucky to have been able to live her life with you. They bring such joy, but it's all too soon that they leave us.

My heart goes out to you.

Diane

shepherdchik said...

Warm thoughts to you Michelle

Nancy K. said...

I feel your pain Michelle. What a lucky dog Rosie is to have been SO loved. There are so many out there that are not. Bless you and may you find comfort in knowing that she'll always be with you, in your heart. My Rocky & Buddy are buried in the lamb paddock and I truly feel that they watch over my flock and me.

You're in my prayers.

Tammy said...

Oh Michelle - My heart goes out to you. Having just lost my little kitty after only 8 years - I know only too well what you are going through - and how short of a time that feels that you had together.
Try to be happy in the fact that she
had a wonderful life with you, and
passed into God's arms while being held and loved by her family.
God Bless you both.

Garrett808 said...

Michelle,

I hate it when dogs that are so loved are lost. I wish they could live as long as I do so I never have to be without them. I almost lost my Sadie last year to a Grandpa who wasn't watching where he was going and ended up selling my car to pay for her medical expenses. We now do agility and other performance stuff, but she is still here. I only wanted another year, or month or day with her. I've been so lucky to have her as long as I have. Big hugs to you and your family. You are in my prayers.

sheila said...

My thoughts are with you...she was lucky to have you and your family to love her..

Juliann said...

Michelle,

I'm sorry. I know how hard it hurts. You'll see her again someday, she'll watch over you in the meantime.
I lost my chihuahua in March from the exact same thing, only we didn't catch it before she was gasping for breath, her trachea pressed up into her spine.
You will be letting Rosie go to her rest before it gets into the worse stages, I'm sure she'd thank you for that if she could.
Tears are falling for you, and prayers will be said for Rosie and all her loved ones.

Corinne R. said...

I am so sorry that you have lost your dear friend. I am sure that she will be watching over you and your little flock.

Jen said...

Hi Michelle - I'm sorry about Rosie. Your entry was so touching. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jen