I called the vet at 7:07 AM this morning and much to my surprise, someone answered. Remarkably cheerfully, too, considering how early it was. He gave me — well, not quite an appointment. But the information that the vet would be in at 9.
By 9:05, maybe even a little earlier, they had Bartleby in the back on oxygen and an IV. Oxygen is remarkably expensive considering how readily available you’d think it would be. By 9:15, they’d upped the time that they thought he’d need to be on it from an hour (billed in 15-minute increments) to an open-ended “let’s see how it goes,” also adding a slew of other charges to his bill. I don’t even care.
I really thought I was going to be all grown-up and responsible about the economics of having a dying dog and an uncertain income, but nope. If they said, “It’s going to cost $1000 and give him another month of good life,” I’d hand them my credit card without another word. Emphasis on the good life, though. Another month where he struggles to breathe and turns away from his food will break my heart on an hourly basis.
And, of course, they really can’t know what that $1000 would buy and neither can I. But two days ago, B was still wagging his tail and kissing my face, and last night, he was willing to gobble down some chicken even if his regular food didn’t interest him, so today, it’s oxygen and x-rays and medication and whatever $$s it takes to give me a chance of some more snuggles and tail wags.
The other day I looked up the difference between worry and fear. It sounds like something I should know, right? It sounds like the difference ought to be obvious. But I wasn’t sure it was. Because I’m not worried — I already know the outcome, how can I worry about something that is inevitable? — but I am afraid. Afraid that I will make the wrong choices, that he will suffer more than he should or live less than he should. The internet let me know that fear is involuntary, but worry is a choice. So I am choosing not to worry, to trust that I will make the right decisions, that I will know what to do when the time comes. But I am still afraid.
And very, very sad.
This saddens me to no end… blessings and courage to you.
Barbara Gavin said:
Ohh, Wendy, I’m so, so sorry. Wishing you strength and clarity and peace.
To have a senior dog is to cherish every moment with him or her. I had asked Mr. Shadow to stay until Harper was trained enough to replace him in taking care of his people. I told him Harper needed his AKC Championship and his Senior Barn Hunt title. Harper got the championship at the beginning of August 2015 — and Shadow started slipping. Harper got the Senior title in mid September — Shadow walked into the trials with us, but we had to carry him out. He did better without stress at home. Thirteen days later, he left us. He was struggling to stay. He was next to my chair in the computer room, and I leaned over and told him, “Shadow, I don’t have the courage to send you on ahead. I’m not that brave. But you’ve done everything I asked, so if you want to rest, it’s okay.” He took two breaths… and was gone.
May B’s time with you be blessed, however long or short it is — and perhaps when he crosses, there with be a red longhaired Dachshund there to greet him and show him around.
Made me cry. I don’t know how they know, but they know. And, dogs at least wait for us on the other side. (We’ve never seen a cat.)
Wendy, I hope you know that the day Beebs crawled under your fence was his second life, his glorious, care- and worry-free second life. And I have faith that you’ll know what to do.
Rachel S said:
Oh, I’m so sorry. My family is going through a round of this with a kitty in kidney failure, except with a heaping side dish of guilt at wanting it over with (he is peeing whenever and wherever the mood takes him and still bullying the other two cats). It’s agonizing trying to figure out where to draw the line. If there’s still tail-wagging, if there’s still purring, if they’re still fighting tooth and nail then how do you know when to say, no more?
Judy, Judy, Judy said:
The decision not to worry seems wise. Frees you up to enjoy what time remains.