Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Our Dog

About 2 months ago, our dog started showing signs of her age big time. She would be 12 in November, Chinese Shar Pei's typically do not live past 12. She's been suffering with vision loss for a year, and has been totally blind for at least 6 months.
She got around just fine, she knew where everything was in our house. However, about a good two months ago, she started acting more feeble, acting tired, and acting old.
She no longer wanted to go on walks, she barely ate, no matter what we fed her, and she started having a hard time going in and out of the doggy door. She would have to take a couple steps and get her balance to go out of the door.
Several times from her behavior, I wondered if she was having problems with her hearing. The lawn mower didn't seem to bother her, and she no longer barked at the door bell.
Well, we went away for 2 nights and when we came home, she was having an issue where she was dragging one of her back legs when she walked. She would drag it for a bit and then she would walk fairly normally. We kind of just chalked it up to arthritis. But we started the end of life discussion.
Yesterday, early in the evening she was dragging the leg again, but later in the evening, we noticed that she was trying to walk, but her back 2 legs were not working and she was basically dragging them. She stood up a couple times on her own, but couldn't take more than a step. We could not really determine what it was that started this, but before we went to bed it was clear that she wasn't going to walk normally again.
Apparently the back part of her body lost all feeling. She was peeing on herself because she lost all control of her bladder.
We made the decision that we couldn't wait until we were both available to both be there. We had to do it the next day. So today when I got up this morning, I knew what I had to do.
She seemed ok, that is the weird part. She was up looking around watching me walk around in the morning, but I noticed her back legs were still positioned the same way, she couldn't stand, and she wouldn't move.

I went to work and came home at noon to take her to the vet. I chose an emergency place that would not require and appointment and would do it without questioning me. I came home and changed clothes. She had moved some. She was trying to slide with her 2 front paws, but she just couldn't get very far.
I wrapped her up in a towel, because she had no control of her bladder and I did not want urine all over my car, and then I put her in the back of my SUV.

She was never a "pick me up" kind of dog. But today when I wrapped her up in the towel and picked her up, I felt her really hug into me, as if to say, "Its OK". She knew where she was going, I got to the place and went in and filled out the paperwork before bringing her in. She has never liked other dogs, and since she could not stand, I just left her in my truck while I filled out the paper work. All she could do was lay there so I was afraid of her getting out.

It took a few minutes to fill out the paper work and discuss what I wanted. Then the vet staff went out with me to get her. She was so skinny I had no problems carrying her, but they carried her for me.
They put me in a room and explained what would happen. I of course was crying my eyes out. I got through the paper work with out crying, until the very end.

They took Tyra and put a catheter in her in another room. The doc explained what the procedure is. Then they brought her in to me. They had covered her with a towel from the vet and they let me be with her alone for a few minutes. She knew what was coming. I could tell, she was letting me know she was ready.
I however, was not ready.

The vets came back in and I held her. She kind of looked in the general direction of her leg, like she knew something was going on, then looked back at me, and then fell asleep.
It was quick and I felt the relief from her that it was over.

Why is it that my dog was ready to die, but I was not ready to let her go?

After the vet office, I went to my car and just cried and cried. I went back to work because I really did not want to go home and see an empty bed, or her food bowls.

After work, I came home and took care of getting rid of her bed, blanket, leashes, etc. We have some unopened food that I will donate to a shelter.

She had been there for me, through thick and thin, morning noon and night, whenever I needed her.
I felt so bad for her to loose her ability to walk or move. But I was still not ready to let her go.

I have no idea how I am supposed to sleep tonight. I am used to getting up in the night 2-3 times with her to let her out. I am sure I will hear her scratching at the door.

Of course, today was duty day and I have had to deal with loosing our dog, all by myself. He was not able to leave the ship at all. I have talked to him, so he does know what happened.

I really wish that she could have lasted one more day, I wish that he could have been there to say goodbye. I can't even imagine how he is dealing with her loss, knowing that he wasn't there.

I am going to bed now. Hopefully, her scratching at the door in my mind won't wake me up.