Sunday, July 19, 2009

Relying On Each Other

Star and Minnie Lou have become unlikely companinions this week. Star and her brother Hutch were from the same litter. When he died this week, I feared mostly for Star.

Hutch was the quiet, almost stoic dog who protected his home. Star is kind of a silly, sweet dog with a touch of ADD. (Look, there's a squirrel!) Both lived mostly outside unless the weather was bad. They were both trained to behave inside, but at 80+ lbs, were happier romping around our half acre backyard.

Minnie Lou is the inside dog, who's job it is to alert me of suspicious noises in the night (or so she thinks).

Scott suggested I leave Star inside for a few days to help adjust to Hutch's absence. What a great idea! I left her in Friday while I worked, wondering how she would do. My answer was immediate upon opening up the door. Both Star and Minnie Lou were side by side to greet me. They haven't separated since.

It's a good thing, having those you can rely on. Death, even in an animal can be upsetting, and even a shock. How reassuring it is to know that regardless of the circumstance, you have those who care about you, and will be there for you to see you through the hard times.

Maybe I'm a little fixated on my dogs??? It's possible, but I see that I need to draw closer to those around me and let them know they are appreciated more. I also need to remember I can rely on them as well.

Troubles come in many forms, not just death. Our society is so obcessed with material wealth, that I wonder if most are aware of what really makes one rich? It isn't money, because money cannot take away cancer, blindness, or bitterness. But to have family, and the support that comes with it is something money cannot buy. It's a treasure that is too often not sought until it's too late, or taken for granted when we focus our desires on what the world has to offer.

May we be thankful, even grateful to God for the little blessings each day, for the compassion of friends, and the joy of family.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Euthenasia- It's Not For Everyone

Tomorrow I will meet my husband at the Veteranarians Office to have our beloved Rottweiler *Hutch* put down. (Hutch in picture at right, with sister Star)

This descision has been a tough one. Hutch ate something toxic (we will never know what) and has Acute Kidney Failure. I've been keeping him alive since December on a homemade concoction of pumpkin, yogurt, barley grass, and vitamins. He does eat bread, chicken, and occasionally a prescription dog food, however he has dropped nearly 30 lbs.. In addition to the diet, I give him Sub-Q injections of Normal Saline daily. Sadly, he is not thriving. He's lost most muscle mass and is shaky just standing in one place.

I've talked to people about Euthenasia, and I get mixed responses. Some say they would never do something *like that* to their animal. Other people seem to think I should have put him down months ago, due to the stress of the situation, and the financial upkeep of the process.

Scott and I came to the conclusion that we would keep him comfortable for as long as possible, whatever that means? Dogs do not show pain like humans do. It's hard to know when they are in pain. Obviously, we decided to wing it.

At last visit to the Vet, Hutch's bloodwork showed a BUN level of 9. (40+ is healthy). The Vet said it is rare to see a dog up and around like Hutch is with that lack of kidney production. She said it's Cats that usually hang on and refuse to let go.

I realized Hutch was hanging on, because of all his good traits, he is obediant above all. Here I have been, day in and day out telling him to try to eat, try to fight, C'Mon buddy, you can do it! He's not supposed to BE alive according to his bloodwork. But Hutch lives to please us. So, we are going to put our selfishness aside tomarrow and let him rest. He's worked so hard, for so long. He deserves to be pain free.

Frankly, I'm not looking for approval on the subject. Those who believe they would never make this choice have either been lucky enough to have a dog go in their sleep, never been in the situation to know first hand, or keep the animal regardless of the pain its in. I can't bear to see him suffer anymore. Is this choice the right one? I don't know... It's the right one for us. I can't say that it would be the right choice for everyone. Each situation is different. If I could be there with him 24-7, maybe I would chooce differently? I am just guessing. I put Muttley down because she was howling in pain for hours. I just can't bear to witness pointless suffering, so I rushed her to the animal ER and I've never regretted it. It was the last act of kindness I would be able to give her. Hutch deserves no less.

The thought that; I could probably keep him going for another month or two flits across my mind about every 20 minutes, but because my husband travels, if he were to die at home, I couldn't bury him. It's just too big of a task. So this is the best solution for us. It breaks our hearts to know he has less than 24 hours to live... and so sad to see him go. But there is peace in knowing he won't hurt anymore, and he's not living for the sake of pleasing us. He stopped playing several months ago, and spends most his days just sleeping.

Keep us in your prayers. It's a hard choice to make. But I believe, childish as it sounds, that Hutch will be reunited with Muttley, and Landry, and Friday... all the dogs that have passed on before. And if heaven is even one smidgeon as grand as I believe it is, there is plenty of room for our pets there too.

In Him,