Tonight Tasha and I had to say goodbye to our beloved dog, Teddy.
Here’s what happened: two weeks ago, I came home late from a night out with my karate buddies and Teddy was laying in the kitchen looking stunned. He didn’t want to get up, but after some coaxing he went into the back yard and laid down. He didn’t want to get up from there, and I was worried about him but he came in, had a treat and some water, and then went to his normal position by the front door. The next morning, he seemed to be acting normally so we chalked it up to his phenobaribital drugged state and the late hour.
Later in the week (last Wednesday) I went to the vet and they ran his normal battery of blood and levels test, they said his white cell count was a little high but they chalked that up to an ear infection and gave me meds. I explained the problem that we encountered a few days prior, and the vet prescribed some anti-inflammatory pain medicine for him to help his achy old hips. He responded fairly well to that medicine and was back to normal for a few days.
The last couple days, he has been increasingly lethargic but would usually stand back up and head outside. He seemed fine this morning. Tasha told me that he laid in the kitchen in a dazed way, and it seemed like his breathing was a little more labored than usual. When I got home he continued to be this way, and I tried to pick him up to get him on his feet and he put forth no effort to stand or walk. He also refused food and water, except for a bowl of water we put near him when we went out for awhile. When we had come back, he had drank all the water and spit it back up. His breathing was getting more labored and he really didn’t want to move at all.
I had called to get him a vet appointment tomorrow morning, but after seeing that he continued to be in bad shape we took him to the emergency vet clinic. Jessie and Jeremy Robertson came over to help watch Eve (who was asleep) and Jeremy had to help me carry Teddy out on a tarp since he wouldn’t walk on his own. The vet tech took him in to the surgery room to assess his condition, and the doctor came out within 15 minutes to tell us that they had found a good sized tumor on his spleen. They said that 2/3 of the time it turns out to be cancer, 1/3 of the time it doesn’t… but either way they’d have to remove his spleen which is a pretty major surgery.
If he made it through the surgery, it would have only bought him about 30-60 days (most of that recovering from the surgery. The doctor said that he had blood in his abdomen, so the choice was either risky surgery for only a small amount of time, or we could let him go peacefully. We made the right choice for him, even though it was extremely painful for us. We got a chance to say a tearful goodbye, and I stayed with him while they administered the medicine.
I remember the day we adopted that dog. He weighed in at around 117 lbs and looked more like a watermelon than a dog. He quickly took to life outside a crate, sleeping with Tasha and I most nights until his seizures made it hard for him to get up on the bed. He used to love the snow, and would bound around like a puppy whenever it snowed enough for him to do so. In recent years, bounding took the form of rolling face-first in the snow but he still loved it. He used to keep me, John, and Matthew company in the basement at night. He used to love his walks in the open space together, especially when Eve would come along with us.
He was a good friend. He was great with Eve. We were lucky to have him in our life. I’m going to miss him, bad breath, gas and all.