Thursday, June 1, 2017

Day 2716 - Dot's last day

More than anything else, this blog has been a chronicle of my love for two very special Dalmatians. One of those dogs left this earth at 7 PM this evening. Dot will be missed more than you can possibly imagine. Dot was a rescue. We don't know where she spent her first two years, but for almost fifteen years she has been my constant companion. Over time, I've grown to understand Dot better than I understand the people in my life. Her boundless enthusiasm has kept me going during my darkest hours. She has been the glue that kept our family together through thick and thin. Dot provided solace for Petey during his final years, and when Dash joined our family, she helped transform him from a frightened rescue pup to an assured and confident adult. Dot has always been the alpha dog. She not only groomed and set the ground rules for Petey and Dash, she immeasurably improved the lives of Janet and myself. I honestly don't know where I would be today without her.

I've never seen a dog with more tenacity or desire to overcome adversity than Dot. She survived abdominal cancer and a ruptured disc in her spine that required a neurosurgeon to repair. As she grew older, she outlived the expectations of every vet who ever treated her. Even when she began to show signs of dementia, she refused to give up. Dot loved her daily walks and the time she spent with her family until the very end. Even when I had to spend hours hand feeding her one piece of kibble at a time, she still wanted to stay among the living.

It breaks my heart that Dot wasn't really ready to go at the end. Her spirit never wavered, but her body finally gave up. Dot has been eating less and less for several weeks now. We gradually ran out of things that would interest her. When she lost interest in cheeseburgers and fried chicken, I began to become seriously worried that she wasn't getting enough nutrition to survive. Dot never gave up. On days where I thought she had given up eating entirely, she would miraculously rally and manage to eat just enough to survive to the next day.

Janet and I knew this couldn't continue, but it was equally obvious that Dot wanted to stay with us a bit longer. We controlled her pain with strong medication and let her eat anything she wanted. Even on days where she had no appetite, Dot still demanded her daily walk to the edge of the park.

Two days ago, Dot began throwing up what little she managed to eat during the day. We could tell she was becoming alarmingly thin and there were signs that her pain medication was losing its effectiveness. Last night Dot was miserable. She threw up everything she ate during the day around 3 AM and even that only provided partial relief. Dot had lost her battle to live.

This morning Dot wasn't even interested in bacon. I gave her an anti nausea pill and her pain medication and then fed her some water through a syringe to make sure none of the pills got stuck in her throat. She rested comfortably for the rest of the day while I made her final arrangements. I hate making life or death decisions, but it would be cruel to let her starve to death. I knew this morning that it was time. It is comforting to know that Dot has led an extraordinary and very happy life. She truly enjoyed being the alpha dog in a family that loved and appreciated her. Dot, I'm sorry I can't take you on a walk tomorrow morning. I really tried, but time just ran out on us.

Dot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day