The end of your pet’s life
You think it’s game over but sometimes it isn’t. The case of one old hound.
Talk to any pet owner and their number one fear is waiting too long to euthanize their pet. It’s the fear of being unfair, selfish and unwilling to let your furry friend go, even though they are in pain. Who wants to be that person?
But what about when you are ready. You’ve screwed up your courage, set up the appointment, cried your eyes out, alerted those close to you, yet it turns out you’ve jumped the gun. Your pet, according to professional opinions, is not ready for the rainbow bridge.
My husband and I are real softies when it comes to animals. But our approach to pet care is radically different. John is frugal and when anything pet related is inconvenient or expensive he prefers not to acknowledge it in hopes the problem will go away. I on the other hand scrutinize every itch, limp, or cry. Is it gas or is it bloat? Is this lump lipoma or lymphoma? We better check! Time for the vet! Some of John and my best battles take place in the veterinary office.
Enter Freckles the Basset Hound. She is now 13 and we’ve pointed her in the direction of the Rainbow Bridge — not once, but twice.
Freckles has without a doubt been one of the more extroverted, happy, bossy and loving dogs we have ever had. She wags her tail, barks orders, waits outside the throne room for John in the mornings. In her youth she was unstoppable. She was lean and could step through page wire squares in the fencing. She ran every square foot of our 37 acres chasing rabbits. When she was on the scent of something you could wave a steak over her head and she would not acknowledge its existence.
When the day came that she couldn’t move, she cried when we touched her, and couldn’t even wag her tail — we both decided to be good parents. We took her into the vet expecting the worst. Xrays and imaging were done — her bladder was overfull and the images of the arthritis throughout her body were obvious.
We took her home, gave her her meds, she seemed okay for a short time and then it happened again. John and I were in agreement. No amount of her pain was worth the opportunity to see her tail wag again. With deep sorrow we booked the appointment to have her euthanized.
The day we’d booked it was a sunny morning so I dragged her bed (with her on it) out to the deck so she could feel the wind on her face and enjoy the last fragrances the world had to offer her. I also alerted my facebook friends of her impending doom. The warm thoughts and sympathies came rolling in.
There’s an hour to go before her appointment. I‘m in the kitchen washing dishes. I go out to check on her and she is GONE. As in ‘not on her bed.’ Imagining the worst — a cougar must’ve grabbed her and taken her away (we live in the wilds) I scream out to John whose in the field prepping her grave. “Have you seen Freckles?”
“She’s with me!” he shouted back.
I headed towards the field. Freckles, the so-called invalid, had gone down the stairs, under the fence and over to John. She was walking around, wagging her tail, sniffing the grave, as of to say, “Nice hole. What’s it for?”
I whipped my cell phone out of my pocket, called the vet and told him the euthanasia may end up being just an assessment.
John and I had been (it’s a miracle) in complete agreement about putting her down. But when she got to the vet’s office Freckles was downright happy and moving freely. We all decided that she may just be fine. John and I were gobsmacked but happy to have our little dictator back. Soon she was bossing John around again, and stalking him during his daily constitutional. She was fine for the next year and a half.
Then came another morning where Freckles wasn’t herself. Glaucoma had claimed the vision of her remaining eye. At the ripe old age of 13 (a long time for a Bassett Hound) we assumed this would be it. For sure. No questions asked. Again, John and I were devastated by the prospect and were sad all day. Facebook friends were waiting for the shoe to drop. I had even made the call to cancel her pet insurance. We arranged for the vet to come to our home at 4pm. (I will not lie. I was looking for an upside to losing Freckles — like less poop scooping, no more insurance premiums … but still.)
The vet, one of the best, did an assessment. Freckles, more eager to please strangers than us, found her way down the stairs, took a pee, wagged her tail.
“There’s a lot of life in her yet,” was the vet’s pronouncement. We looked down at Freckles and the vet was right! John and I agreed, we wiped our tears, shook our heads, hugged in disbelief, and raised our eyebrows at Freckles, who clearly could not be trusted to ever die.
Then there were my facebook friends. I almost wanted to euthanize Freckles to save face — as this was the second time I’d cried wolf. But everyone was very happy that the adventures of Freckles were not yet over.
In theory Freckles will not last forever. We will eventually have to make the call again — unless she beats us to it and passes away in her sleep. Meanwhile she bosses us around dispensing lots of love in the meantime.
Making the decision to euthanize your pet is not simple or easy. Not all pets win the the kind of reprieves our Freckles won.
I wonder if anyone else has been on this roller coaster before. I’m betting yes. Meanwhile on with Freckles adventures.