Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We Just Couldn't Do It

Today we were supposed to put down Lady, our 10 year old mutt.

Many months ago she lost the use of her hind legs. Indications of the impending loss began while we lived in the Upper Peninsula. She'd trip often, fall going up steps, and favor one rear leg over another. At first, Sweetie assumed it was the ceramic tile floors. As time went on we noticed similar behavior outside, we took her to a vet. "A little arthritis," was his diagnosis.

Eventually she started dragging one rear leg. Then both. Sweetie grew impatient with her and kept trying to get her to stand. He can be a tough old bugger at times. I'd tell him that Lady couldn't help herself, the muscle was obviously deteriorating, not the bones.

A few months ago we took her to the vet here and the prognosis was grim. Her left hip had totally deteriorated. When manipulated it sounded like stones crushing. Her backside has become boney and her paws curl under. Yet, the vet said she could live a long time "as long as you two are willing to care for her."

Lady's care has increased as time goes on. Thank God we have old stained carpet in the living room. I lift her by her hips and she'll walk wherever she wants or is directed to. Every few hours I walk her out the door to pee. Bowel movements are anther matter. Little by little she seems to have lost the realization that she's got to poop. For the last week I've laid blue pads beneath her.

Aside from her physical ailments, she's the same loving, faithful dog we've always known. She follows Sweetie everywhere pulling her back legs behind her. She has a recliner identical to his and sits there with one eye on him and an end table between them.

At night she follows us to the bedroom where her blanket is folded at the foot of the bed. After we've petted and talked to her she lays down to sleep. If Sweetie is in the bathroom too long she goes looking for him. When he goes outside he either takes her with him or he tells her to "take care of momma" while he's gone.

When we both leave we repeat the same routine. As we pull in the drive we hear her yelping for us. The sound continues until we hug her and tell her how glad we are to be home.

During supper, she eats her dog food mixed with chopped chicken liver and she and Sweetie share an oatmeal cookie.

Perhaps we were just so exhausted last week or the humidity had worn us down. Whatever it was, we to put her down when she'd finished her bag of food.

Obviously, we just couldn't do it. Today we're so relieved we can't get enough of her company.


Anonymous said...

This might help Lady.

I've been using it on my arthritic dogs for over a month, now. They will always limp, but with less pain. The vet dispenses one for dogs called Lubriflex but its expensive and I find this works just fine.

No afflilation with the company, just a happy customer.

Patty said...

What a sweet, loving post. I lost my precious dog to cancer when she was just 7 years old. I wish I could have done something to have her with me longer.

Many blessing to you and your fur baby

HossBoss said...

I'm not sure how handy you are with things like this, but you could build her a little 'butt cart' so she could get around on her own. A simple wood box with a floor and low rails on the back and sides ...a set of wheels for a golf bag (the kind you pull a golf bag by hand with) would be sturdy enough and about the right size. Maybe you could find a set on Craigs List for little or nothing. I wish I was close enough to help. I know we could rig this up.

She would need a seat belt so the cart would stay with her if her she walked off using her front legs but she would probably enjoy the renewed independence. What do you think?

You could use those blue pads to fashion a sort of diaper for her too. Just a thought.

Adventures in Self Reliance said...

I'm sorry to read about your dog. My Pekes have back problems the discs swell and cause weakness in the hindlegs. Thankfully steroids have kept them going and out of pain.
Often they seem to mirror me when I have a bad day and I can give them a 81 mg asprin as my vet recommend and it really seems to help.
Amimals are a part of my family as long as they aren't in pain I'll do all I can do to keep them going. So I understand.
Keep the faith

Craig Cavanaugh said...

I know how you feel. My Gizmo (blue heeler/Jack Russel (?) mix is going on sixteen years old. She has her "creaky" days, but she's still pretty spry overall. But occasionally the thought of the inevitable crosses my mind, and it brings a tear to my eye. I can't bear the thought of having to put her down...

Sixbears said...

Hope you find something that helps.

Keep your spirits up.

HermitJim said...

Hard decision to make when the time comes, but you will know if and when it arrives!

You can tell she is loved!

vlad said...

When John Ross killed Molly it was an
act of love.

Anonymous said...

Another thing you could do is use vitamin C. Purchased in bulk powder form at a feed and tack, and spread it on the food. An older article in Outdoor Life magazine described it's use on gun dogs. Ive used it on my Rotties in the past and it seemed to work.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the height would work ,but we used one of those cheapo umbrella strollers*a yard sale find) which has the seat belt in it and strapped our doggie in it and she could go very easily and if she needs help the umbrella handles make it easy for you to help her.
The dragging will eventually make raw spots on the legs.
Good luck to you all.
It is definetly hard to let them go and hard also to watch them go much harder when they are so with it otherwise.
We started ours on vitamins, just a multiple doggie vitamin and that really helped him when he started to falter and sway in his back end. Sounds as if yours has bone loss, so it may not help at all. B.