Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Deadly Dance

She's been getting more and more frail for many months. It happened slowly, ever so slowly, like ice freezing over a pond - by inches, sometimes millimeters. Joint problems, cataracts, deafness, and the worst thing to watch - dementia.

For the last 2 to 3 years she has suffered more and more from osteoarthritis in her toes right up into her hips. Anti-inflammatories still didn't help when she went to make her way down the stairs of our deck. When the weather was bad, she'd refuse to go out and then she'd eliminate in the house. We weren't happy, but it didn't happen often, so we cleaned it up and hoped for more success the next time. 

In the winter, she started going out the door to the deck itself and doing her business there in the snow. After the snow left, though, we wondered what would happen. 

This spring, she was doing fairly well, because our daughter had injured her knee and needed to use a wheelchair, so we had a temporary ramp over the stairs. But a little over a week ago, there was no need for the ramp, so hubby disassembled it and took the bits that couldn't be re-used to the dump. Within two days the occasional "accidents" became more and more frequent to the point where she was going in the house several times a day, without even asking to go out.

This is upsetting for us especially because there had been a few falls over the years associated with wet spots on the hard surface flooring (from previous incidents with various pets), and equally because our daughter is on crutches and the wet spots pose a serious safety hazard. 

Shari - December 2012.
So, I am faced with a difficult decision, one I discussed with the vet the last time I needed to call - for a seizure she took a couple of months ago. The vet said seizures could happen more and more often.

Now this.

It may be time to take that final walk. 

I looked at her this evening, really saw her, for what might be the first time in several weeks, perhaps even months. She is not a happy dog. She sleeps most of the time, and when she moves, she moves slowly. Her coat is scraggly, she can't hear unless the noise is low, loud, and very close. She coughs - hard - after any kind of excitement or anything-more-than-sedentary activity, sometimes to the point of vomiting. The vet said this was probably due to some fatty tumors pressing in on her heart. 

We've been - I've been - dancing around this issue for far too long.

Her quality of life is slipping.

So is ours. It's not an easy decision. We'll see what happens.

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