It's been a hard day. Ruby has a massive ear infection in each ear, but is thankfully on amoxicillin and will be better in a couple of days. This was the morning.
In the afternoon, we had to put down our dog, Page. This was tough. Very tough. We had been deliberating this for at least a month, perhaps really since she had a cluster of seizures a couple months ago. She has lived with epilepsy for most of her life -- she wasn't quite a year when she had her first seizure. We treated it with phenobarbitol until the cluster. When the cluster came, we had, in fact, already discussed a change in medication with our vet. Her dosage had gone up to 240mg! This was a cause for concern, so we decided to switch over to some potassium bromide. Because this wasn't on our vet's shelf, and because there was no immediate cause for alarm, he had to order it. However, it didn't arrive in time. Still, the vet hospital switched her over when we brought her in.
This worked well to control her seizures; she only had a few during the two months she was taking it. However, her liver panel suggested some stress from the years of Phenobarb and the KBr wasn't going to do much good, either. Furthermore, she could no longer walk well on the hard wood floor, the linoleum, and sometimes the carpet (probably from the KBr). When she was on the carpet or outside, getting up for her was a chore. When she was on a slick surface and sometimes outside, getting up was impossible. She would often become stranded and simply bark incessantly until someone moved her.
So, we chose euthanasia. It sucks. It not at all how I expected it to end. It is still hard.
I'm working on an obit, though, since there are so many people who loved Page and love us but are far away. They will want to share in the passing of a dear friend. Here's a draft:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
-- Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”
Page Kayenta Arizona, 1995- 2007.
A survivor in spirit, a gentle heart, a friend, died January 30, 2007. Rescued from under a porch in the high desert of Arizona, Page was what locals there call a “purebred Navajo Shepherd.” She lived through the mange, epilepsy, and a corncob lodged in her intestine, but was never defined by these things. Until the end, she fought back at the squirrels and loved to be outside whenever possible. We are happy to have given her twelve years she would otherwise never have seen. With great remorse, we chose to euthanize her after continued complications from a cluster of seizures two months ago. We plan a memorial service in the spring. All dogs will be welcome.