to one of your best friends. To one who has been so faithful for his short life. Short for us, anyway.
I wrote in a previous post that our dog, Gruff, is dying. He has been in kidney failure for the last few months, at least.
We took him in for a routine dental cleaning, and found out about the kidney failure. His lab work at that time was in the "low" range. Meaning he was still in pretty good shape.
We changed his diet. He had to start eating some nasty "special" (aka: really fucking expensive) dog food. He would only eat the dry dog food if we put in the wet dog food too. Unbelievably, the canned dog food is over 2 bucks a can!!
Not the point. Money doesn't matter when you're trying to give a loved one the best quality of life during the rest of their limited time.
The 2nd time we brought him in to check labs, about a month later, one number went up, the other went down slightly. The number that went up brought him into the moderate range of kidney failure.
So we had to start giving him IV fluids under the scruff of his neck twice a week. Not as hard as it sounds, other than it sucked to have to poke that needle in knowing it had to hurt. And sometimes he had to be poked 3 or 4 times to get the required amount of fluid in.
One month later. His labs are now in the moderate-high range for both numbers.
So futile to do everything you're supposed to and the numbers just get worse and worse. And fast.
They just told us to prepare to say good-bye.
We have watched Gruff get progressively worse. Sometimes we were even able to see a huge decline day to day.
But he was still doing okay. Eating. Drinking. Every once in a while he would even get enough sprite to chase around our little Chihuahua/Jack Russell puppy around the back yard. Her name is Hua Hua (aka: The Rat).
But now. Now he won't even greet my husband when he gets home from work. He would always be waiting at the door. He would wait for Mike to come inside, then gently jump up and place his paws on Mike's shoulders. His way of giving a hug. I'm jealous to say that Gruff had a special bond with Mike. Not with me.
He hasn't even gotten off the bed in the last week and a half to two weeks to even stroll to the door to say hello when Mike got home from work.
Today Gruff started doing this tongue thing. He looked like Yoshi. Funny and freaky, all in one. We noticed he couldn't keep his mouth shut. Or even close his mouth to grab a piece of Mike's hot dog bun (apparently in our house, bread is a special delicacy for our dogs, only surpassed by a tasty tidbit of shit from the backyard).
He was able to eat some of his dinner, but can hardly drink water. Rather than try to syringe feed him water, for fear of choking him or having the water accidentally aspirate into his lungs, I gave him an extra IV tonight. He was so thirsty, but just couldn't get his damn tongue to lap up the water. And what little water did make it into his mouth wouldn't stay because he can't shut his mouth.
I did call our vet. Over the phone he said it sounded like it was a condition commonly referred to as "drop jaw." Doing some research, it looks like this can occur out of the blue, because of neurological problems, or trauma. I'm sure it has something to do with his kidney failure. It also looks like it can go away within a few days, weeks, or months.
This would be comforting news. Except. With what he is going through anyway, already looking emaciated and low on energy. And just dying from the toxins that aren't being flushed from his body by his kidneys.
Is it fair to keep him alive? Has he surpassed the stage of having any "quality of life?"
I think he has.
As much as it pains me, I think we will have to help our loyal friend cross over.
I don't know how I'm going to be able to do it.
What I know for sure, is that right now, I can barely breath.