my dog. my poor puppy. i have such mixed feelings right now. this week will be his final. he can barely walk anymore. i am angry that he has lived so long -- that he is deteriorating but won't... but won't die. i get angry that he is making ME make this decision. but i know that's stupid. i feel so terrible. there isn't anything so catastrophically wrong that this is OBVIOUSLY the best decision. he isn't whimpering in pain. but he can barely walk. he cannot see or hear (but I carry him everywhere). he isn't eating much anymore and he seems to be having more and more problems pooping (he has a tumor on his anus). but he still seems to love having me hold him and pet him. he still sleeps dilligently beside me on the bed snuggled up with my teddy bear. he still follows me (he knows the house well and follows be my smell) everywhere i go. but at the same time as all these feelings go through my head -- i wonder if i am selfish to have kept him around so long. he's been deaf for well over two years, going steadily blind for over a year. he's had cancer for quite some time. he has a big tumour on his arm which he chewed on so much that we had to get a silly collar to keep him from doing so. i wonder if these things have made his quality of life low.
i don't know. i just don't know. i am sad. i have had this dog for 17 years. almost my whole life. when he first started to get sick my mother took him to be put down in 1995 -- i was living at college and when she told me i drove home and took my dog out of the vet clinic -- he was sick with bloody diarreah but was otherwise still healthy... i decided then i would never have him put down as a matter of personal convenience. i have stuck by that. in the past five and a half years since he has been messily-sick several times. dilligently i clean up after him, take him to the vet, get him some medicine and give him a good dose of love. but now that it seems he simply cannot go on -- i cannot help the thoughts that pop into my head. i won't have to steam clean every day. i won't have blood on the carpet and in my bed where he licks his tumour raw. i HATE having these thoughts. they make me worry that i am doing this as a matter of convenience but justifying it with his inability to walk, see and hear. i can carry him outside to go to the bathroom. i can carry him around the house and make him reasonably comfortable.
but i don't know if he really is comfortable or not.
i have made an appointment for tomorrow afternoon at 5pm to have the vet help me to be sure that this is the correct thing to do. i know it is not uncommon for people to put down dogs who have lost their sight, however for a blind dog he gets around the house reasonably well. but. i still feel. awful. simply awful.
this is the week of the danners -- dedicated to making sure he is as comfortable and as happy as possible. the collar to keep him from chewing his tumour has come off. he can lick at it all he wants to, blood on the carpet be damned. the collar was uncomfortable for him. he is getting the best canned food, heated up nicely and mixed with noodles. the electric blanket is his and his only for this week... he loves to lay on it's warmth. the teddy bear is now his -- i don't sleep with it, i let him curl up on it. i think he can smell me on it and so he likes to stay close to it. my bathrobe is now his blanket. i will be working from home to stay near him and comfort him.
when the time comes, he will be cremated (with all his cancer, he'd be an interesting disection for a vet student, but he is more than a dog and the idea of strangers pouring over him in such a clinical manner and with no awareness of the wonderful pup he was kinda freaks me out). i will get his ashes (despite the extra $190 cost of doing so) and the ashes will be mixed with paints in a portrait of him.
i feel like when he passes so does my childhood. like without him around i now have to be a real adult. i am tempted to have my teddy bear cremated with him. i am ready for none of this.
and in a lot of ways i feel retarded for being so affected by this. a lot of people would say "he's just a dog". and in some ways i feel like i should be more composed. but that dog is a symbol of everything cool about my growing up. i moved around so much as a kid that i feel like i have no real home -- but danny was always with me. this is like seeing the house you grew up in demolished. memories. wonderful memories just destroyed.
my biggest fear is that he will know -- i will take him to the vet and he will have an acute understanding of what is going on and that i made the decision. i have been calming myself by thinking this way: lately i have almost wished he would die quietly in my arms, comfortably and peacefully with me, the one who he loves (and loves him) most. having him put down would allow me to accomplish this, i would be able to hold him as he fell asleep in my arms. there isn't so much difference, there is a gentle falling asleep in a spot where he is most comfortable. i was feeling very calm when i first viewed it this way. but this image is shattered by the fear that he will KNOW. that i will see the sadness in his eyes as he falls asleep in my arms. that i will see a look that says "why'd you give up on me? don't you love me?"
right now i am completely non-functional because of the impending death of my dog. i have decided to do it at the end of this week for several reasons:
- to give me a chance to have a final week spoiling him and loving him and making myself a bit more comfortable with the situation
- to give my mother the chance to come down and say goodbye
- i have been wishfully thinking that he has been hanging on to his life because of how much i love him and how much i want him to live forever. i, in some ways, hope that he dies at home now that i understand that life is no longer very pleasant for him. i wish he could understand people-talk (if he could still hear). i'd say "it's okay for you to go now if you are hurting. i will be very sad, but i know you will still be with me in spirit because you love me as much as i love you. it is okay to go, you have two friends (pepper and bucky) waiting for you up there to show you around".
i was supposed to go skydiving on wednesday but i think i will cancel that in light of this situation. i think i will do pretty much nothing but focus on my dog. i want to make sure he knows that i love him. i want to make SURE he knows.
please forgive me the lack of links. i am writing in a rush to get all this out of me. this is both cathartic and upsetting. please, though it may seem silly, please spare positive thoughts/prayers for the dog, danny, that he isn't in too much pain. spare me positive thoughts/prayers so that i may have the strength to do what is best for the dog. thank you very much.