I haven’t posted in quite awhile…
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a happy time here on the beach in Puerto Penasco. We had three pretty major rain storms with wind gusts up to fifty (50) m.p.h. That certainly puts a kink in enjoying being by the Sea of Cortez. In addition, the weather here has been on the “cool” side.
However, the most difficult thing is Cali got slowly progressively worse. Her kidney disease numbers spiked and she spent five days here getting I.V. fluids. After the “kidney flush,” I started giving her fluids subcutaneously (a needle poke under the skin). However, soon her appetite waned and I was desperately trying to get her to eat something. Since she was getting fluids and somewhat weak she was in diapers.
I basically spent my days trying to get her proper medications, services, etc… When I wasn’t doing that, I was frantically trying to communicate with my vet at home, or on the computer getting feedback from Yahoo K-9 Kidney group.
Some of you know that I had a chow-chow about twenty or so years ago with kidney disease. However, she responded well to treatment and lived for 1 1/2 years after diagnosis – happy, in good spirits, and running about. The major difference in this scenario is that Mei-Mei was five, and Cali was fifteen. In actuality, Cali (a rescue) was more likely 15 1/2 since I adopted her in October of 2001. In the lifespan of a dog, that made her a pretty old girl.
I got tired…
Cali was truly my “life companion,” as I have no “significant other,” and no children. She traveled everywhere with me, and was my solace when I was afraid, hurt, or lonely. She was the one thing in life that I could always count on.
However, the stress of desperately searching for options to help her as well as the “nursing care” aspects have taken a toll on me. I’d forget to take my own medications, and spent fitful nights lying on the floor by her dog bed in my sleeping bag. Simply put, I felt the strain physically and emotionally.
Two Years Ago…
On my way traveling to Oregon 2 1/2 years ago, I noticed a small lump on Cali. However, after a couple of weeks it grew in size and I had a bad feeling (it was firmer than her old age lumps that I always had needle aspirated and checked). It turned out to be a malignant fast growing stage 4 soft tissue sarcoma. The vet in Lincoln City, Oregon removed it, and the pathology report came back that the edges were “clean” but tight. The vet immediately did a second surgery to “widen the edges.”
I bargained with God/Spirit/Universe that please, please, please give me one more year with her. The tumor never returned and I got 2 1/2 more years. However, I was crying and wailing at God/Spirit/Universe last night that she was now gone. I need to refocus and be thankful that we had another two wonderful years together.
Barb of Barb’s Dog Rescue was ready to provide me with more subcutaneous fluids, so I drove out to the facility with Cali. However, when I got back to the RV and tried to hand feed her she refused. In the past I would syringe feed her if this happened, but she even refused a dab of peanut butter. You have to realize that if there was anything that Cali loved (even when she was desperately ill) was peanut butter.
That was my “sign” that it was time.
There’s an organization called Compassion Without Borders that helps provides free/low cost services for animals. There’s an offshoot here in Puerto Penasco called La Clinica Esperenza that thankfully has an English speaking vet. She was familiar with Cali, because earlier in the month she had given her one day of I.V. fluids.
I told her I thought it was time, and she said I could come with Cali immediately. I took this as another “sign.” I asked her about the exit process and she said Cali would be put to sleep and then another drug would be administered to let her pass peacefully. I asked what happens afterward, and she said I could have Cali for burial, or they have a large freezer (and sadly) when it is full they bury the dogs in a group grave. I chose the later.
So, I took Cali and put her on the table. I clipped some of her fur to keep in a little tin, kissed my girl good-bye and walked out the door. I couldn’t stay for the process, but I know Cali would have understood.
The Right Thing…
It’s difficult when you love someone to let them go. I wrestled with “when,” but feel absolutely sure there were no real options left. If I prolonged my “best girl’s” life even a day too long, I would have done her a great disservice and given in to my selfish desires.
Yahoo Group’s K-9 Kidneys…
I hope you never find it necessary to be a member of this group, but K-9 Kidneys proved to be a life-saving resource for me in my battle with Cali’s kidney disease. When the people around me were just telling me to “put down” my best girl, the members and moderators gave me indispensable advice and most importantly support.
Seriously, I don’t see how the moderators do it because they really are quite adept at giving advice about blood work, etc… Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough for the hours they spend helping precious pets live a better quality of life.
At the moment my heart feels broken into a million pieces. Sometimes I sit, and I feel tears start to flow down my face.
The weather here has finally turned nicer, and even though my best girl didn’t get to romp on the beach I plan to take in the blue of the Sea of Cortez and try to feel Cali’s presence in the beauty of a sunset. I think it will be quite a while (if ever) that I ever own another dog, but while here I’m going to try to go to Barb’s Dog Rescue and play with and socialize the pups.
As Isak Dinesen said:
The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea…