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Alan K | all galleries >> Galleries >> For A Few PESOs More; Occasional Shots 2017 to 2024 > 230211_101641 I Effing Hate The Universe At Times (Sat 11 to Sun 12 Feb 23)
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11-Feb-2023 AKMC

230211_101641 I Effing Hate The Universe At Times (Sat 11 to Sun 12 Feb 23)

At Home. Illawarra, NSW

It does no good, but I do it anyway. Lilly The Wolf was 13 years old last September. She had slowed as senior dogs do, but aside from a few concerns (like her rarely holding her tail up any more) she seemed healthy and happy, especially at treat time. Past vet tests had shown a few abnormalities, but they weren't reflected in how she was in her daily life.

However she wasn't her usual enthusiastic self when I served dinner on Friday. Lucy The Jungle Cat is always fed first (because... cat), and Lilly would dance around excitedly waiting for me to put down her own bowl. On Friday, she just followed me. Also, she didn't eat all her dinner. That was not normal. At all.

Saturday morning, I get home from exercise and errands. She's in her bed in my office, from which she keeps watch over me during the working day. That, you see here; the last "normal" photo of her. (Yes, both her being in that bed and her being upside down are "normal" for her.)

An hour later I saw her trembling. She heaved a few times, and yacked up a greenish-yellow liquid. Right, vet time.

Saturday, 12:30. We arrive at the vet. She's dehydrated and seems to have a stomach bug, so she's given re-hydration and anti-nausea meds and has some blood tests. We come home, and she's enthused about lunch again. All seems right with the world.

Saturday, 14:08. I get a call from the vet. The blood tests look like stage 4 kidney failure. She needs to be brought back for overnight admission and treatment and an ultrasound followed by another blood panel, stat.

Sunday, 10:10. The vet calls. I express a hope that it's good news but the vet's tone suggests that it is not.

It's not.

The ultrasound shows irreversible structural damage to the kidneys. There are issues with her gall bladder. Her kidneys can't concentrate the urine and as a by-product she seemed to be passing dried blood in her stools.

So what treatments are there?

There are none to reverse this damage, which clearly came on fast since her previous ultrasound was only a few months ago. It's not a question of money; there is simply no fix for this. Either she leads an increasingly miserable existence until every system and organ fails, or... the "OR" that I considered unacceptable only 24 hours earlier.

She came home to spend a couple of final hours in a familiar environment (though she was drugged out for most of it), before returning to the vet. She died in my arms at 12:45, because there was no way I was going to let her go while not being held. The alternative of her final moments being alone on a cold table with none of her family around, being jabbed by a semi-stranger just was not an acceptable one.

Rational me knows there's nothing that could have been done. The rest of me hates the universe right now.

So why write this up so soon after it happened? Three reasons. First, it's the easiest way to let anyone who had followed past photos of Lilly what had happened. Second, my PESO is like the visual diary I have when I can't be bothered maintaining a diary. The third and most important one is that 48 hours ago I had a wolf who I expected to be part of my life for another 3 years at least. It has gone from that, to "she's gone" just that fast. Also I was one of the ones who had to make that call. I, who 48 hours earlier was sticking to the mantra "NOBODY is gonna kill my wolf", had to not only allow that to happen, but hold her while it did. Rational me also knows that life can turn on the proverbial dime, for any of us, at any time. It's a fact that we should hardly need reminding of, but one which most if not all of us ignore because we have to if we want to remain functional and sane. However getting my head around it and accepting that it's real is a different thing. In theory writing a post like this should help with that. In reality her bed, where she spent the day while I've been working from home, is still alongside my desk. And if I said that I have my head around the fact that she'll never be in it again... I'd be lying.

Tomorrow morning I have to make the cremation arrangements. Maybe it will seem real then... but I doubt it. Not yet, anyway.

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laine17-Feb-2023 11:36
Bringing pets into our homes and lives also means having to be ready to let them go just as we do with our human loved ones. I'm sure there are many happy memories of better times with Lilly than on the day you eased her pain.
janescottcumming16-Feb-2023 15:13
I am so sorry Alan. It's a horrible decision to have to make. I have worked for a veterinarian for thirty years and have had to make that decision for many of my own pets. I am so glad you stayed with Lilly. It breaks my heart for the poor dogs and cats whose owners won't stay with them. If that happens we hug them and hold them but we are no substitute for their family. You made the right decision by not letting her suffer and being with her. My condolences again to you and your family.
Julie Oldfield14-Feb-2023 01:56
I am so sorry. It is such a heartbreaking decision to have to make. I hope the happy memories never fade. V
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