Thursday, October 06, 2005

Oh no Moto

Oh no Moto!!

Today I did the toughest thing I ever have had to do…I had to put my dog down. Part of the reason it was so difficult, was that it was bloat. When I let her out at 5:45am, she seemed to be ok, maybe a bit stiff and slow, but hard to tell after just crawling out of bed. Not to mention the fact that she is a 13-year-old Akita!

So I let the other dogs out, got the coffee going, turned on the morning news, and let the other dogs in—she usually stays out in the mornings. I get ready and head off to work.

Around 9:42am I got a call from Sue asking me if Moto looked all right this morning. I told her she seemed fine (I may have mentioned her being a bit stiff, but I really don’t remember). Sue then told me that she was not responding well, was drooling quite a bit, seemed a bit bloated and asked me what I wanted her to do. I told her that if she though she needed to be taken in to go ahead and make the arrangements.

When she called back about 15 or so minutes’ later saying that our regular vet was out for a week, and the referral was someone who is not on our top 10 list, she wanted to know if I could do another vet (with some, they want payment in full if you are not a regular client). I told her to go ahead.

It is very unusual for Sue to call repeatedly about animals unless there is something very wrong. I finished up what I was working on and got myself out early and on the road, probably before 10:30. I was on my way home when Sue called me on my cell, she didn’t know that I had left, to tell me that she had at least one appointment for late in the afternoon, but she had just gotten a referral to a friends vet, so she was going to call them.

I was almost home when she called my cell again to tell me they would see Moto as soon as she got there, and that they had just left the house. So in just a few minutes, I was on my way there to.

We pretty much got there at the same time. I got poor old Moto out of Sue’s truck, and it was pretty obvious that she was not well. We got her out of the truck and into the vet’s. She pretty much just collapsed as soon as we hit the lobby, and just lay there panting. A couple minutes later and we were in the back (Moto needed to be carried) and waited for the doctor to show up.

It didn’t take him very long, a check to her heart showed irregular heartbeat, her gums were pale and cool, and her abdomen was distended. Then he said “I hate to do this to you now, but she is bloated and we need to know now if you want us to attempt surgery or if we should euthanise her.”

I looked to Sue for advice, but all she could say is that she was my dog. I don’t think that Sue understood that I was trying to get her view on what Moto’s chances were. Then the doctor spoke up with something I could understand—he talked numbers.

“Based on her current condition, I’d say she has a 50% chance of surviving the anesthesia, and maybe another 50% chance to survive the actual surgery. Depending upon how bad things are, we will probably need to remove some intestine and her spleen. Her recovery will not be easy. Then you also have to take into account her age…”

Once I heard that, the decision, while not easy, was quite obvious. 4:1 against her surviving the procedure weighted by the fact that she is a 13 year old Akita, a breed that normally has a span of 10-11 years. Somehow he managed to understand that I said, “Then I guess we have to put her down…”

“That’s the right choice” he said.

A few moments later and he had shaved a spot on her arm, tied it off, and put in a needle. The next moment, he had pushed the solution, and after a few more pants, she was gone. As her body settled, some of the gas that had built up gurgled out a bit, and then I knew that my Hashiimoto was gone.

Just last night she was all bouncy and happy, as animated as ever. I would guess that she was starting to get uncomfortable around 5ish in the morning when she woke me up. She didn’t show any signs, she just seemed less than her usual chipper self. A few hours later and she was gone.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved that dog. She is simply one in a million. There isn’t a creature in this house that didn’t love her, and I’m sure that before too long they are all going to realize that she is not here anymore. I’m pretty sure that her sister knows already, you can tell by how she looks at the door every time it opens and closes and Moto does not come out.

The cats will all be missing her quite soon too. They would always rub up on her and it was not uncommon to see a cat curled up with her when she was lying down and sleeping. Heck, even the pig will miss her, she was the only one who would let him sleep by them and she also tended to never finish all of her kibble, so he would always have something more to eat when he was done with his pig food.

I think one of the last things I said to her other than “I love you” was “thank you.” She brought me more happiness and joy than anyone has a right to expect. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be there with her at the end. She gave so much she deserved that much.

And now tonight will be the first night that I go to bed without my dog…


oh evil one said...

I can only imagine how hard this must have been for you. I have a white boxer that I just adore. He is only 6 now, but I sometimes wonder what I will do if I have to make that kind of choice some day. Hope things get easier with time and keep your chin up.

Budohorseman said...

Thank you for that. It was quite sudden. I know that it was the right call to make, but it sure doesn't make it any easier. Well, actually it probably does, because if I had made the wrong call I'd be beating myself up for putting her through that!