Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tough Week

Not sure I will have a lot to say this week.

It looks like we might be losing Buttons this week.

We noticed late last week that she was drinking a lot more water.  Planned to call the vet Monday so we could schedule testing for her Cushing's to see if things had kicked up a notch.  Figured we'd have to adjust her medication.

Saturday afternoon, she got out of her cage while we were gone.  And she went on a binge.  And I think it was driven by the Cushing's- which drives her feeling of hunger.

This little 15 pound dog opened a cabinet door and dragged a 20 lb bag of dog food across the bathroom floor, tore it open, and ate a good amount of it.  She went to the kitchen and dragged a box of old cookies and a bag of white chocolate chips from the kitchen to the living room where she proceeded to tear open the packaging and feast on the sweets.  Then it all caught up with her and she puked her body weight on the living room floor.  Then to the hallway where she puked more.  Then the bedroom for a bit more.  Hallway and bedroom- she tried to cover her mess with some laundry sitting close by.  And she peed on the floor by the kitchen.

We came home and found the chaos.  Surprisingly, she greeted us at the door, wagging her tail.  We sent the kids to their bedroom and the dogs were sent outside and my hero, my husband, cleaned up all of the grossness and shampooed the carpets.

Buttons refused to come inside.  I set up a little area for her on our deck- bed, blanket, water, shade, and set up a fan since it was almost 90 degrees that afternoon.  She spent the rest of the afternoon, evening, and into the night on the deck.

Since then, she hasn't recovered.  She is struggling to get up and down the steps to get to the yard.  We can't pick her up to help her because she is in pain on her underside and yelps if we attempt to pick her up.  She shivers 90% of the time.  There is a strange palpitation in her chest.  She is lethargic.  Her breathing becomes labored at different times.  We called the vet on call Sunday afternoon.  He wasn't sure if it was something more serious, something related to Cushing's, or if she was still recovering from the binge on Saturday.  We agreed to wait until Monday morning to see how she did.

There's been no change.  She hasn't gotten worse, she hasn't gotten better.  She does eat and drink but only at her designated meal times.  She is showing no interest in food unless offered to her (this is very unlike her).  She can do nothing but lay in her bed or on a blanket.  Previously, she laid around a lot, but she also liked to follow me or Jeff to the bedroom, wait outside the bathroom door, follow us to the basement.  She stayed mobile and would then rest wherever we ended up.  Now, she just wants her comfy bed.  The labored breathing and the pain is our biggest concern.

We take her to consult with the vet today.

We have been talking with the kids about Buttons since we decided to look into adopting her.  We adopted her knowing that we would be her final family.  We knew that her age and her medical condition weren't a formula for any sort of longevity.  We knew we had a home with a quiet and loving companion (Sassy) and kids who would be sweet and gentle with her.  But we have talked openly about death and that we won't have Buttons for long.

But I think we were all counting on having a happy and healthy enough dog for the summer.

Teagan had some moments of deep sorrow and big crying.  But we've continued to focus on relieving Buttons of her pain and sickness.  We've been talking a lot about Dog Heaven and what it will be like when Buttons gets there.  We've decided that Buttons will get to meet Ginger- our dog who passed very unexpectedly back in 2007.  Since we didn't know Buttons when she was younger and healthy, we don't know what kind of favorites she had for toys and treats.  We are imagining what she will look like without a bloated belly and without her aged white furry spots.  We think she will enjoy an all day long diet of steaks and cookies and will play with squeaky toys and chase squirrels.

Seeing that Buttons is hurting seems to be helping Teagan come to terms with what we think will happen.  Of course we will be sad and there will be tears.  Jeff will cry, Teagan will cry, I will cry.  But my hope is that the tears are just sadness at losing a loved one and that there is understanding of what we are choosing.

Jeff and I have been trying to figure out the logistics of this choice.  With Ginger, it was sudden and an urgent decision had to be made.  With Buttons, there seems to be time for goodbyes and planning.  We will know more after meeting with the vet today.  But our thinking is that we have a final goodbye at home and then Jeff or I will be the one to take her to the vet and stay with her until the end.  I was with Ginger at the time her life ended- I saw the light leave her eyes.  My face was the last thing she saw and that's how I want it- that there is someone there, loving Buttons, someone she knows and loves with her.

It's a tough week with tough decisions ahead of us.

Edited to add: Our vet confirmed our thoughts.  In addition to what we are seeing, he also thinks she now has heart disease.  Buttons will be going to Doggy Heaven later this evening.  The family is together for the afternoon.  We got cheeseburgers and ice cream to spoil her rotten. We are curler up watching a movie together.  We have decided that this day is about celebrating Buttons and her having been part of our family.



Alison said...

I'm sorry, Liz. But it sounds like you're prepared to do what needs to be done, which means that Buttons is in a good home, regardless of how long her stay.

My thoughts will be with you all.

Call Me Cate said...

Aww, I'm sorry. Even if you knew this day would come before too long, I know you weren't expecting it too soon. I hope the vet is able to give you the information you need to help Buttons feel loved for whatever time she has left with your family.

C. Beth said...

I'm so sorry, Liz. I'm glad she had an awesome family to stay with for her last months of life. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to all of you. Every dog needs a family, and every family needs a dog (my theory). I'm so sorry for the loss, its hard and its sad but you're doing the right thing for her.

KPCL Girl said...

I saw on Facebook that what you feared would happen, did. It sounds like she was truly suffering and now she's in Good Dog Heaven. Dogs are truly part of the family. Sorry for your loss, Liz.

Mrs4444 said...

Sorry to hear you had to make this tough decision, Liz. Hugs to you and your family.