Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Quality of Life—my Quincy Blu

I wrote this piece for myself really, the day before I put my dog to sleep. I needed to speak the truth of his health, because to the outside world I think he looked pretty good. Perhaps it was my imagination, but when I announced to my dog park friends that I would be putting him down on such and such day, many of them gave me a look like—really? He seems fine. Why are you doing this? Like I said, maybe it was my imagination, but I got this feeling from many of the people I told. So the following is me justifying what I did, now 2 years later and upon reflection, realizing that perhaps I could have put him to sleep sooner. To end his pain a little earlier.

Its been an interesting road, letting people know I am putting my dog down in a few days. Its interesting how I am reacting to their reactions. If I was in complete knowingunshakably sothat I was “doing the right thing and even tougher at the “right time, I wouldnt let what other people may be thinking get into my head. And are they even thinking anything?

My dog, on the outsidewhen outsideseems to be old, slow, and still mobile. He still sniffs around, digs for slugs in the grass, and even trots around and rolls on the grass most days. To the outside world, he may look like he has a pretty good quality of life. But, alas, his quality of life is severely diminished and steadily going down hill every day. I have this information because I am with this sweet being just about 24/7, 365. I know him and he knows me. I know his quirks and foibles, his silliness and his state of health.

I have been to the vets office time after time over the years, and especially a lot lately. I know the injuries hes had, the medications he is or has been on. I know how he feels if even only a little bit. I know this dog better than anyone else in the entire worldbetter than everyone. And I know this dog is better off going to sleep forever starting tomorrow afternoon vs. living the life his is currently living. As for the quality of his life now, here is what I know:
  • He cant drink enough water to satisfy his kidneys. (He was diagnosed with kidney failureexactly one month ago.)
  • Therefore he has to pee a lot more and a lot more frequently than ever before.
  • Peeing involves going down then up about 15 stairs; something that has never been easy for him and now is super difficult. Sometimes resulting in him falling down backwards as he is making his way up. (Tonight he fell on his way down...)
  • Speaking of falling down, I cant count the number of face-plants he has experienced just in the past week. They are becoming more and more frequent as the days roll by.
  • Up until recently I couldnt get him to eat very much. He stopped eating his kibble a month or more ago. Wet foodno. He wont eat anything other than a grilled chicken breast and mini Milano cookies and some dog cookies.
  • I have been giving him subcutaneous fluids daily for the past several weeks. Trying to keep his kidneys happy and his system detoxified.
  • Recently, when I go to put the needle in to administer the sub-Qs, he looks at me as if to say, “Please dont poke me! Today, since he will be going “home tomorrow, I will not poke him.
  • He can no longer get up on his couch. I put a dog bed next to it in the living room.
  • He can no longer jump in the bottom part of the car. I lift his front legs in first, then his back. And usually he can make it up onto the seat, although not gracefully and sadly not all the time. Falling for him has become a daily occurrence.
  • He sleeps a lot now. More than ever before. And it is deep, deep sleep. The kind where the skin over his eyes shows and he cant hear me when I move or get up.
  • His hearing has been waning for monthsif not a full year now.
  • His eyesight has never been very good at night and now if Im too far away he cant see me and gets a bit frantic.
  • He seems like he is losing control of his limbs. He mostly walks like hes tipsy and sometimes like hes drunk.
  • The mornings are pretty good, for the first few minutes anyway. By the end of the day its just sleeping and sleeping and that deep deep sleeping.
  • When I come over to him he makes noises almost like snoring, but hes fully awake. I sometimes think he is talking to me. Telling me, heyits time to let me go. Ill still be with youalways.
  • The diarrhea has almost stopped; it went on for weeks and weeks. Emergency runs out the door, and diarrhea-ing everywhere he needed to.
  • The throwing up has all but stopped. Altho every now and then Ill find one.
  • He now has two peri-anal fistulas—open sores that are painful and ooze puss every day. He licks at them incessantly, poor guy. I do what I can to clean and attend to them and have for many months. 
I dont know. Is his quality of life great? No. Is it poor. I would say it is no where near optimal and getting worse every day. He is ready. I am ready to let him go. He, I have no doubt, is ready to go. To sleep, pain-free, till the end of time.

For more articles on this sweet pup, see: