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.