Saturday, April 13, 2019

Day 3397

We lost Dash today. He passed away around 11 AM this morning. We knew Dash was sick when we took him to the vet this morning, but we fully expected him to come home with us. We were even slightly optimistic because we had finally been able to get him to drink water and eat a little food yesterday evening. It wasn't meant to be. When the lab results came back this morning, it was clear that Dash was suffering from kidney failure. The vet told us that they could put him on IV fluids for several days and possibly clear some of the toxins from his system. The real danger was excessive levels of phosphorus in his blood. Even if the toxins could be removed, the problem would return because Dash's kidneys weren't operating properly. Even after IV therapy, Dash still might not eat and probably would be very uncomfortable.

Kidney failure explained a lot of things. Lethargy, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, urinary incontinence, bad breath, and ulcers in the mouth can all be early signs of kidney failure. Dash had all of these symptoms. Increasing Dash's pain medication wouldn't help at all, since the Rimadyl he's been taking is hard on the liver and kidneys to begin with. We had to make a very hard choice today. We could leave him in the ICU for four days, fill him with IV fluids, and if we were lucky, get to spend a few more days or weeks with him. Our vet, a gifted oncologist who helped Dash survive cancer, didn't think he could survive more than a month no matter what we did. Our other choice was to say goodby today.

We never wanted any of our dogs to suffer. In the best of worlds, they all would have died peacefully in their sleep. That never happened. I have so many vivid memories of dying dogs that it's hard to remember all the good times. There were definitely lots of good times. Dot and Dash were both amazingly good dogs. We were lucky to have both of them. Dash was very tired after his exam. I took him outside one last time in the rain to smell things and then we returned to the clinic to say our goodbyes. He lay quietly on a warm blanket in the exam room when we returned and I could tell he was exhausted. As he went to sleep with his head in my lap, the vet prepared to administer the Propofol that would relax and sedate Dash and then the Barbiturates used to stop his heart. Dash was very peaceful as he made his journey to the Rainbow Bridge. He yawned once as the Propofol began to sedate him and just like that, he was gone.

It was very strange to come home to a quiet and empty house. We've shared our home with a Dalmatian for over 32 years. Living with dogs has become a way of life. Living with a sick dogs becomes a way of life too. It's been almost five years since Dot first became sick. There have been a lot up ups and downs along the way, but I wouldn't change a thing even though some days have been extremely hard. I really think we did the best we possible could for all our dogs and they definitely returned the favor. I just wish that dogs lived longer. They capture your heart and then they're gone.

I don't think we will realize for months just how much life has changed. We are both getting older and have our own medical problems. Dash might be our last dog. It's way too early to make that decision now, but we do need to rest and recuperate. It's been a long four years. Rest in peace Dash. I hope you knew that you were dearly loved.

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