For them, or for us?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

For them, or for us?

Current mood: sad

I’ll not post a picture because it’s just too heartbreaking to look at, but here goes.

Meet Dusty. A 4 month old fawn marked Boxer puppy with uncropped ears. Now boxers get to be somewhere between 50 and 70 pounds when full grown depending on height and if their owners allow them to become obese in later life. Dusty, at 4 months should have weighed close to 30 pounds. Dusty didn’t. First the little guy came down with Parvo. We treated him for that and he got past it. Then, he wouldn’t or couldn’t produce albumin. That’s an enzyme needed to absorb nutrients in food which is necessary to sustain life. Dusty for what ever reason couldn’t produce any, or lost the ability or something. Even IV Albumin wasn’t helping. So, this poor little pup who wanted nothing more than to be held, was blowing out dark nasty diarrhea on one end and vomiting anything he tried to eat on the other. This is AFTER he got over Parvo, so he was already too thin. After a week of being on three different sets of fluids, a feeding tube was added. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone hooked up to more lines than this puppy other than a dying person in the ICU. We all watched helplessly, doing what we were told to do, trying to make him as comfortable as possible….. for 2 weeks while this little guy starved to death.

I kid you not this little guy was so thin his skull looked caved in on the sides. You could count every joint, every rib, every vertebrea in his back. Nasty green snot ran out his nose and eyes, we were constantly wiping him down to get the feces and vomit off him so he wouldn’t scald.

For those two weeks, I don’t think the owner even came to visit. He might have called once a day to check on the dog. So, he didn’t have to watch this poor little innocent animal dying slowly and painfully in a cage. He had no body fat, so he couldn’t maintain a temperature that was normal. He was surrounded by hot water bottles and fuzzy blankets. HE didn’t have to see those sad eyes every day in so much pain and in need of so much more than we could give him.

Well, Sunday, none of us could stand it anymore. The doctor supervising his case through the holiday week called the owner. We obtained verbal permission over the phone with witnesses to end this little guy’s suffering. Even though it was the right thing to do, everyone there took their turn holding Dusty and saying goodbye. Honestly, I think he knew, and in his own way thanked us by wagging his little tail stub for the first time in days. No one cries alone in our clinic at a time like that and everyone there was sobbing as we said goodbye and gave the last gift we could to an innocent animal….. Peace.

Wednesday before Thanksgiving Dusty weighed 15.4 pounds. (He should have weighed close to 30 pounds.) At the time of his death, he weighed just under 14 pounds. In 4 days, he’d lost 10 percent of his body weight.

The point of this post? When submitting a loved pet or family member to extensive treatment, I beg anyone who reads this to remember that QUALITY of life needs to over-ride QUANTITY. Remember who you are doing it for. If it’s for you… then it’s the wrong thing.

Dona Nobis Pachem

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