It’s Sunday evening and I’ve had a long weekend since we had Veteran’s Day off at work. I’ve slept maybe 10 hours in that time of actual sleep. I’ve tried napping but emergencies keep happening. I’m having prodormal labor so from about 3 PM to 1 or 2 AM, I find myself off and on in pain. This has been going on for about 10 days. I never get the contractions to be regular enough to amount to jack and go into L&D.
In the last week, we were dealing with pest control for mice (our fucking neighbors are asshats who keep trash in their garage) and in the past few months, our elderly chi mix (he’s 12 or more years old) has been having issues that our vet described as likely “doggy dementia”. My husband has had to do most of the dog care since I’ve had a complicated pregnancy and can’t bend or lift the dogs right now. But in the past couple of weeks, our old man’s condition has absolutely gone down the tubes.
By Friday, he was unable to go 6 hours without an accident, was basically catatonic or even aggressive when prompted with leaving the house, wouldn’t get in the car, wouldn’t go happily on a walk, and seemed to be only a shell of his former self. We had blood tests, a UA, and stool sample done after the bad weekend before thinking it was a GI thing but nothing was turned up. The vet thought it could just be a bug or his anxiety. After bathing him for the 3rd time in 24 hours, I called the vet’s office and got the first appointment I could. My husband and I talked briefly and he said “if you have to PTS, call me, I will leave work and come there”.
So, 37 weeks pregnant and while not allowed to carry my small dog who would not walk across the parking lot, I bring him in, have contractions in the waiting room, and get a lecture from my vet about how we aren’t trying hard enough, should put him in diapers, or should give him up to an organization that can take care of him. I had asked if there was anything she actually thought they could do to make him feel better because right now, he appears to have no quality of life and is always on edge. I explain that we aren’t going to pour another $500.00 into tests which won’t tell us shit, we aren’t putting him on “special” food with corn when he’s already not eating table scraps (so unlike this dog and these are special because we NEVER feed him table scraps) and can’t control his bowels, and I can’t fathom spending more on dog medication than we do on ourselves right now (we were quoted a medication that “may help a bit” but was going to cost 2 grand a year and would probably take a month to see results). I ask if we can PTS now, compassionately, before there is a newborn in the house, while we can still give him all the attention he deserves, before my in laws have to take him and his sister and completely disrupt his routine while we are in the hospital. She tells me again to put him in foster care or “long term boarding” where people can “actually care for him without the worry of babies”.
Guys, this dog has been through hell before me. He’s just been through hell. I adopted him when he had been aggressive in the shelter (due to anxiety) and had housebreaking issues I spent YEARS fixing (submissive urination). I was not going to put him into another shelter or multi-dog household in his old age. Was this vet insane? Am I some sort of monster for wanting to PTS? I was befuddled and I felt dirty. I agreed to try Prozac and give it another “few weeks” even though we don’t even have 3 weeks. Since then, there really hasn’t been any improvement. Every time he perks up for a matter of one or two hours, I feel like maybe it’s for good, but it’s never for good. This morning, he lost bowel control before I even woke and when I finally came downstairs, he refused to look at me. I sat on the couch crying. He proceeded to growl at me angrily and just remain there, shaking. This is so not like him. He’s still sleeping - hidden. He wouldn’t eat today. I’ve made him a chicken. He won’t eat.
I came home from that vet and cried and I’ve been having worse and worse contractions ever since. They hurt, I can’t sleep, and I can’t just go to the hospital with this dog like this, guys. My poor in laws, god bless them, told me they would call their vet and see if that practice (a small town small and large animal vet practice) would PTS an elderly dog compassionately no questions asked, no more tests, etc. They are just as worried about him as we are. I think the vet thinks we just want to get “rid” of the dog because it’s inconvenient with our daughter so soon to arrive but that’s not it. I have worked for rescues. I know people disown their animals when they have a new baby and it sucks. But we still have a much more energy-demanding, younger Scottie. This is my husband’s 3rd kid. We understand what it takes to have kids and dogs because we’ve been doing it. But I think it is totally unfair to end his life with such confusion. He seems so miserably not himself. While I want him to meet our baby for my own selfish reasons I know he will not be able to handle that change. And I worry he might just wither away and suffer in the meantime, especially if we end up in the hospital a number of days (it’s been a complicated pregnancy and my labor may be more complicated yet). I would never forgive myself. So, I can’t sleep. And I’m so fucking tired. But I can’t sleep because by the time I close my eyes, I hear him yelping in fear from being alone in the same place he has always slept or his crazy water drinking which leads him to vomit after anxiety or the sound of him frantically trying to find a way to the door and then pooping everywhere or peeing on himself out of confusion.
It’s time, right?