Sunday, 24 April 2011
*Insert swearing here.*
My beloved girl dog was, up to her thirteenth year, an absolute cracker; she ran and jumped and I was regularly asked if she was a puppy. She has been in decline for almost a year. First, she began to drag her front left paw. When I got home from New York last October, she had a disconnected look in her eye and wouldn't be held, preferring to pace and wander. Her gait became increasingly wobbly and crabbed, and she fell over. She began to sleep on the floor to the side of the cushion in her bed, with just her head resting on it, and no matter how much floor space I filled with her cushions and blankets, she lay to the side of them. She lost an alarming amount of weight and we fed her up and she put some of it back on again, but remained wizened and shrunken-looking. She failed to respond to commands she had known and followed all her life. She stopped grooming herself, which meant I had to have a surprising discussion with the male vet about gynecological hygiene.* She developed a series of opportunistic ailments which meant she was pretty much always on a bland** diet.
Despite having been in and out of the vet's office over and over again, nothing out of the ordinary was found and pretty much everything has been chalked up to age. I've seen three different vets (from the same practice) for three different reasons over the last six weeks, and the last was the only one to tell me that my dog probably had a lesion on the brain and I needed to think about my "options" sooner rather than later.
On Good Friday I had a total and complete meltdown saying we'd have to have her put down on Saturday. The next day. What if she were suffering out of office hours and we were forced to ring the emergency cover veterinary service while our usual vets were enjoying their Easter holidays? Hi, you don't know me but can I come over so you can kill my dog? Will you take a cheque? Then, taking advantage of a brief gap in my wailing and rending of garments, we took her for a long walk in the park and she seemed perfectly fine, so who knows. By perfectly fine, I mean no worse than normal. Does that mean I've acclimatised to her being this fucked up and I'm prolonging her discomfort? She seems to enjoy eating and going for walks still. Is that not a good enough reason to let her carry on? That, and the fact that I am a gibbering, blubbering wreck at the prospect of life without her?
I've adopted the totally mature adult emotional response of eating stuff I don't really want and compulsively wandering about the intertubes, reading, browsing, shopping and lurking. I exhibit the demeanour of someone who reasons that averting their eyes and whistling means it isn't really happening. Lalalalalalalalalalalala can't hear you lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala. So that's working then.
*Not mine. Ha ha she laughed cheerlessly.
**Read "homecooked." She's probably doing it on purpose for the good grub, the wily minx. As if I want another three fresh meals to prepare daily.