The Family Mutt – From Guest Blogger Patty

The Core Belief

 As I was wondering what I should post on Sunday, I received this e-mail from Patty, one of my dearest friends.  It reminded me of the day we had to put the family dog Chaya down.  I didn’t sleep for a week after I got the news and my Mother freaked out on anyone that spoke in tones other than hushed for that period.

I am a Snoopy man myself and there is nothing sadder than the death of a family dog.  Cats?  Ha!  They are insolent, ungratefui beasts.  Dogs may act like retarded children but no one fucks with a mutt.  A cat would let a killer shoot the family but a dog would try to bite the jugular.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Freya.

Recently our 13 year old dog “Freya” started to slow down. By ‘slowing down’ I mean that she sleeps a lot, has much less stamina, is achy in the morning, and doesn’t like ‘rowdy’ play anymore. Freya is a 60 lb. mutt – probably a Lab/Chow mix – who we adopted from the local shelter when she was about 5 months old. She had Lyme Disease 4 years ago and was successfully treated with antibiotics. In the last few years she developed fatty tissue lipomas that we dutifully biopsied and kept abreast of for growth. Several months ago she started having occasional urine accidents that seemed to cease as long as she didn’t get hold of any ‘people’ food.  

Now comes the tale of 2 vets. One said we needed to clean her teeth (which are still in fine shape for her age) and cut out the lipomas – requiring full anesthesia for 2+ hours; do blood work to check for kidney failure; give her all the regular vaccines; and trim her nails. Add in hospital/boarding fees and this would have cost approximately $1600.

A second vet’s opinion was that the kidney issue should be explored first. He refused to give vaccines until we did a 2 week trial of drugs to address her incontinence. He also implied that putting a 13 year old dog “on the table” for surgery had risks that may not be worth the results. “You have an older dog” he told us. “Let’s see how she does with the drugs before doing anything else” the vet said.

I think Freya is beyond the point of “improving”. She is going to die eventually and we have to face facts: this is an old dog who has had a good life – chasing squirrels, running free through Maine forests, playing with our son, sleeping on cozy beds. My husband and I drew up a list of things she still likes to do: chase squirrels, be petted, eat, play tug, lie in front of the fireplace and get a belly scratch. When the time comes that she can’t do the things she likes most of the time, we will put her to sleep. What is the point of life when there is no “quality” to it?

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