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Monday, January 15, 2007

A slippery slope

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

It’s been a rough four days. Our dog, Bart, is on what I would call a slippery slope. There is no way back up for him, and every day he slips down a little more. But then he surprises us, and just this morning walked down the stairs with the rest of the dogs and nearly made it down the front steps. Rick has been carrying him up and down the stairs, both inside and out, for several days now. He really is not much more than skin and bones. Bart is dealing with kidney failure and cancer at the same time. To watch his courage in the face of what he is going through is inspiring.

Bart just doesn’t have enough energy to do much on his own. We spoon feed him baby food three to four time per day. We’ve been giving him subcutaneous fluids since Thursday, and I think they help him to stay hydrated and feeling somewhat more comfortable.

Why not just euthanize him now? you might ask. Well, we feel it’s not what Bart wants. We’ve gone through many deaths with our dogs over the years and have always gone by our ‘gut’ feelings. Each one has been different and under their own set of circumstances. Especially if we thought the dog to be in pain or under undue stress from his or her condition, then we would have to decide to act. Bart does not appear to be in any pain. He just lies there quietly. When we say his name, his cute little brown eyebrows still shoot up and he looks at us. He’s still in there. Everytime we pass by wherever he happens to be laying we give him a pat, some sweet words and a kiss.

It’s not easy. But as ‘parents’ it’s what we do. Sure it would be easier on us and more convenient if we were to just euthanize him now. Would it be easier on him too? We have no way of knowing. All we can do is hope we are reading him correctly and give him his wish to live out what is the rest of his life at home. With us. Where he’s been since the day he was born.

Comments:

I’m so sorry to hear about Bart, but inspired by the love, respect, and compassion you have for him, your willingness to stick with him until he’s ready to go. wow. He is a lucky dog. May he cross over at the right time in a peaceful, painless way.

I salute you!

Thank you for sharing what you did about Bart.  How very sweet - made me cry.  Our animals sure have a way of becoming family.  You and Bart will know when it’s time.  (the picture that you put on your story is very poignant.)  God Bless

You have such a connection with your dogs, I feel certain you are complying with his wishes.  From personal experience, I know he would tell you if he was finished.

I’m sorry for your loss, but happy for him that he has people who love him so dearly.

Blessings to you all,
firefly

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