In other news…

…I think ol’ Bud may finally be heading for the South Seas, possibly today.

Could be he’s still coping with an odd dog flu he and Annie picked up last week, but his appetite has stayed disappeared while hers has returned, and he’s looking severely emaciated, acting unusually weak, showing difficulty remaining upright or walking, or getting up after falling.  Can’t hardly stand in place to eat or drink, and his interest in food even brought directly to his mouth is non-existent – even in deli turkey that up to a few days ago he would have snatched right out of my hand.

I suppose there are various measures he might respond to – IV feeding, say – but I think his quality of life is just too low to justify strenuous efforts to restore whatever fraction of it. In recent weeks when he has had more energy, he’s used it for pacing in counterclockwise ellipses – possibly symptomatic of a stroke or dementia, but possibly related to other afflictions.  When not circling raggedly, he’s been sooner or later trapping himself in some crevice between furniture or in some corner or at some mere obstruction, apparently having lost the ability or will to back up.

If I were in his condition, I’d say, “Please someone shoot me full of morphine and LSD, and toss the remnants out with the garbage when it’s all over.”

He’s in my lap now, collapsed, the main signs of life being his stomach growling and his legs shaking. I’ll be taking him to the vet this afternoon.  Not sure if I can get morphine and LSD, but they probably have something. Or maybe a shot of vitamins and some concentrated nutriments will re-invigorate him… a little.  Not sure that’s even desirable.

I pet him, and tell him he’s a good dog.  Which he is. Anything else I should be doing?

6 comments on “In other news…

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  1. Anything else I should be doing?

    Sounds like you’ve got it covered.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Buddy.

  2. Thanks for the kind and consoling words, but I’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this. 17 years is a good long life for a dog, not record-setting, but well into overtime.

    Ever since his forced retirement from The Fetch – his true calling – his life has been increasingly a burden to him. When he went blind, he was I think too old and arthritic to adapt well. Since then, it’s just been getting patheticer and patheticer for him, a real assault on the dignity of a dog who used to fight far above his weight – no longer even able to chase cats and squirrels, much less piss off the big dogs. For months, he’s just ignored other animals, not even sniffing them. Not interested in people either, even strangers. I don’t even remember the last time I heard him bark. With his leg strength gone, he can’t jump, or even climb, into a lap or bed This is a dog who used to be able to propel himself as high as my shoulder from a sit. In recent months he’s had to sleep on the floor, since he’d sooner or later tumble out of bed, or, even worse, fall into a crack between bed and wall or furniture. Many nights, almost every night, I’ve awakened to see him pacing and pacing in his back-, leg-, hip-, and foot-sore mincing circles, bumping into the walls or tripping over anything. There are more than a few times that I’ve lost my temper, especially when he’s been keeping me up, and pushed him down or aside harder than strictly necessary. I won’t go into the end of housebreaking and what it’s meant for us both, but you can probably imagine it for yourself. In short, it’s not a good situation and hasn’t been for a while. I’ve met people who’ve had their dogs put down long before things reached this point. The fact that I work at home means that I could put it up with some things that other people would have found a lot more difficult, if not impossible, but I’m no longer sure at all that it’s a kindness to anyone, dog or man.

    (As I re-read this comment, I’m starting to feel guilty for having let it go on this long.)

  3. @ CK MacLeod:
    One thing is for certain: “guilty” is bullshit. You know that. Buddy has been hugely lucky to be with you. It’s the “afternoon” now and I’m going to assume that Buddy is no longer physically with us. You have my deepest sympathies, Colin. Having a vet for a brother who tells me these things, the death of a beloved dog hits quicker than human death. Help yourself out by letting go of guilty thoughts and the rest. That much you can absolutely do. Be good to yourself.

  4. @ CK MacLeod:

    You soldier on with them, MacLeod, until they won’t eat. That’s the time.

    That’s what we did and then we cried like babies and couldn’t drive home.

  5. @ fuster:
    Pretty good rule, though obviously there would be exceptions for some unusual cases. I think Buddy was (see update, soon) pretty close to one of those, what with his arthritis, blindness, incontinence, demented behavior, general joylessness and disinterest. I wouldn’t harshly judge anyone who acted earlier than I did in a similar case, even though up until a few days ago his appetite was pretty good.

    I made a point of getting my crying done before heading out with him.

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