Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Worst Night Ever

Yesterday we went to the animal critical care facility to get an emergency ultrasound done on Red Dog, because we were at Day 4 of lethargy, temperature, diarrhea and anorexia and a new complication - laboured breathing. My dog had turned into a sack of wheeze and shitting. His face was sunken and he was almost unresponsive.

The prognosis was terrible. I don't remember everything the kind Internist told me, because I was trying not to collapse in a heap on the floor in the diagnostic room at the time, but three sentences kept rocketing through my brain:

  • "This is the single worst case of pancreatitis I have seen in my entire career; on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst, I'd give your dog a 10."
  • "If you had unlimited funds, like thousands of dollars, to spend on blood transfusions and ICU ... I'd still give him less than a 10% chance to live."
  • "Take him home and say goodbye. There is a good chance he will not live through the night."
So last night, I took Red Dog home to say good bye. We removed the catheter and said so long to the IV fluids. I told him it was okay if he had to go and that I'd miss him like crazy. I wanted to say my goodbyes, because if he did make it through the night the vet and I were to facilitate his passing in the morning. For most of the night I sat up with him and then, annoyingly, I fell asleep at about 4AM. I woke with a start this morning, certain he had died while I slept.

But he hadn't. He was, in fact, at the water bowl getting a drink. And when he saw I was awake, he went to the door and asked if he could please go outside. We went for a little walk to the end of the block and back. He growled at a passing dog and had a pee on his favourite tree. He said hello to one of our neighbors.

When we got back inside, he ATE FOOD. And he has eaten every time I've offered it to him since. He then went about the meticulous task of cleaning himself. His catheter site needed to be licked clean. His shaved belly (from the ultrasound) is itchy, so he needed to clean that too. And he cleaned up the floor where he had drooled while eating.

"Piss off bitch. No one needs to see my bed head."

He is not out of the woods yet. All the things the Internist told us yesterday are still true - there is an unidentifiable fluid leaking into his abdominal cavity and the very real possibility that a thromboembolism may kill him is quite strong. But euthanasia for RD is not in the cards today. I called my vet and told her about his change and she said he was rallying and trying to live. She said "It is not yet his time to die."

It may be his last Hurrah. Sometimes dying people and animals have one more spell of good before they give in completely to the bad. RD, that good, kind dog, may be giving me one or two more days to make my peace with his passing. But he might be simply living as well.

I have cautious hope. I'm preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. But I now know that if it is the worst, Red Dog will tell me when it's time for him to go. He will make that choice for himself and spare me the heart breaking task. So all we can do is wait and see.

Thank you, all of you, for your thoughts and well wishes. I'm sure they are helping.


dp said...

I don't envy you, but I do send all of our best thoughts your way. This does not sound like fun.

Anonymous said...

Oh, RD! I'm in tears. If it is your time, know that we are all here for your Food Lady. That said, I hope you've turned the corner on this thing.

FL, peeing is good, right? Maybe the fluid in the abdomen is just ascites and not leaking from the pancreas. Our fingers and paws are crossed and doG be with you.

Giz and the gang

Unknown said...

My very best wishes and prayers for good things to come to RD & your family, whatever the outcome is to be.

Those that know him only as Red Dog have come to love his sweet, gentle, internet presence and will miss him if he goes.

Anonymous said...

Oh Red Dog this entry reduced me to tears. One woof at a time buddy to beat this thing. We send our love and support Food Lady, we are all here for you and Red Dog.

Jitter and Joey said...

RD - you are truly a fighter.

Food Lady - enjoy the time you have, he's very special.

All the best to you.

Barbara said...

Oh RD and RDM and the rest of the Woofs and Woos, even Angry Donut.

My thoughts are with you. I will hope for the best, and give all my pack an extra scritch tonight in RD's honor. And a virtual scritch and hug to RD and RDM.

Barbara & The Bedlams Pack

almost60 said...

Well, dear food lady, you and Red Dog have been on my mind pretty much 24/7 since your last blog entry, and this most recent one brought tears (even though I am at work). Whatever the outcome, I know that you and Red Dog will work things out as only the two of you can. He is secure in your love.. no more to say there.

My last dog had pancreatitis (he also had been on anti-inflammatory meds), and I almost let him go at age 13. However, as a last resort, even though he had been on raw food for six years, I decided to change to a not so popular food (prescription Hills that vet finally agreed to order in)that had kept his predecessor in good health to age 18. There was a sudden, dramatic recovery, and he went on to enjoy life for another three years after that. E-mail me if you want more details. If not, just know that I have total confidence in you, food lady. You are tops on my list of people who truly "get" dogs. Red Dog, whatever your choice, you are SO, SO LOVED.

Schnitzie said...

OMD!!! I just wrote you a worried email...and then figured I'd check here, just in case, and there was word of the miracle I had been praying for. All fingers, toes, arms, legs, paws and eyes crossed that it's not just a temporary rally, but with a senior pup who has health issues, EVERY DAY is PRECIOUS.

Bless you and bless beautiful Red Dog. Very hopeful news. Still sending hugs, prayers, love and PAWSITIVE JUJU!!!!


Anonymous said...

I know any extra time is precious, for sure, especially quality time like RD is having right now. Love on him and tell him how many people out here care about him. We all hope he is turning the corner and has a lot more fun times ahead.

I had to say goodbye to my best friend, Billy Boy, two years ago. Cardiac hemangiosarcoma. It is so hard and I know what you are going through.


Anonymous said...

Oh my! RD is such an amazing dog! I love him. Whatever the outcome of this is, know that he loves you and he's just grateful that you love him and have given him the most amazing life possible. He's so lucky to have you (and you him).

Much love/thoughts/prayers for the two of you as you guys do this together!

Anonymous said...

A food lady and 4 dogs I've never met, I live thousands of miles away, and you and Red Dog have been on my mind almost constantly since your last blog. I laugh when you write your hilarious captions and show your great pics, and now I'm crying. What will be will be. Cherish your time with your wonderful dog and please find comfort knowing many, many people are thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Been thinking of you and RD nonstop since yesterday, willing for his recovery.

This made me cry, I hope with all hope that he gets better.

Be strong, no matter what he loves you and knows what a spectacular food lady you are.

K :)

Anonymous said...

oh dear sweet Red Dog. Ya big shaggy lug you! It's not your time yet brother!

I've never known a more dedicated dog Mom than that Food Lady you've got yourself. Take comfort that she needs you as much as you need her.

I love ya Food Lady and I'm here for you.

meredeer and family

Janet said...

Oh Red Dog, and RDM. My thoughts are with you, however this plays out. Best, best wishes and mojo.

Anonymous said...

I don't really know what to say because nothing is the right thing. I know how the situation feels, but I don't know how YOU feel...but I can tell you to cherish every second you have with your baby. I think both of your thoughts (giving you a few days or rallying to make a comeback) are very very true to life. Either way, your time together is special and precious and priceless and you both deserve the most wonderful memories possible.

I'm not much of a cryer, but dammit I'm all teared up now. I really and truly am thinking of you, hurting for you and sending you every positive anything I can. I wish there was something tangible I could do, but in reality it can almost be better to have some time with almost nobody around.

All I can really say I guess is to hang in there, treat yourself and your babies to something special and enjoy the nanoseconds! Whatever is meant to be will happen and making the most out of the limited time we have on this big ole rock makes it all worth while.

Hugs from Riva and I.

Anonymous said...

Oh...and I almost forgot. Red Dog is a wonderful dog...and wonderful dogs are good forever. He will do what is right for you before him and he will always be there with you. He is a GOOD DOG!!

Dammit...teared up again.

Red are a very very very good dog. You take care of that crazy food lady of yours.

Anonymous said...

Hey Q - just wanted to let you know that you and RD are on my mind, and your blog totally has me in tears at work. RD loves you so much, and whether he is going to pull through and keep trucking or is just rallying to say goodbye, you have loved him well and given him a good life. Enjoy your time with him, all moments are sacred, especially at a time like this.


Rossie said...

Oh, Q! I am so glad to hear he is moving and peeing and consuming good things!

I think I told you that my pancreatitus-having cat started eating the morning he was scheduled to be put to sleep. So, I've been in your shoes before...having a pet stay with you when you were certain they wouldn't make it through another day.

Enjoy him (I know you do)...I will keep RD in my thoughts and hope for a complete return to health.

Anonymous said...

I'm bawling here. What an incredible spirit lives in RD. No wonder you love him so.

My thoughts and prayers are with you both. That sounds so effin' lame, but it's heartfelt.


Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at how much one dog's spirit can touch so many people (including myself) who haven't even met him! What a truly special guy RD is! (I know I didn't need to tell you or him that though!)

My furry clan and I are sending good thoughts and prayers to you, RD and the rest of your furry clan!

Leann and Furry clan

Anonymous said...

RD and you are in my thoughts - we will hope for the best. RD knows how much you love and cherish him and he will tell you when it is his time. Hopefully it is a long way off.
hugs to you and Red Dog


Anonymous said...

RD will do his best for his Food Lady; as she will do her best for her RD.

Continued good thoughts for you and him for healing and peace. My heart breaks for you both.

Laura said...

Wow. RD is amazing. I, too, was reduced to tears while reading this entry. I wish you continued strength for your valiant fight, RD. We're all pulling for you. You, too, Sheena. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Oh, no. I just saw this. I am SO SORRY to hear about the downturn, but I did want to say just one more time that Godiva tested my faith in her not just once, but twice, in those first few weeks with pancreatitis. When OUR internist had given up on *her* level 10 case, I chose to take her home and let her make her own decision, as well, but she clearly said, "Pancreatitis, be d***ed." From everything you've said, though, RD sounds JUST as tough. We believe in him, and Mojo and Godiva and I are REALLY pulling for him. We wish you ALL the best luck in the world!

Anonymous said...

Don't really know what to say, except that we're pulling for you, too.

Anonymous said...

What can I say, other than our thoughts and best wishes are with you all. May you and Red Dog have the strength to get through this.

Michelle, Taj and Tia

Jen said...

You and RD are in my thoughts. You've given him so much more when others wouldn't have given him a chance.

Anonymous said...

There simply are no words. I am crying now as if RD was my dog and in a sense he does belong to everyone who reads your blog thanks to your wonderful photos and loving words about him. "Bed head" or not, he looks so much better and is looking at the world, his dignity intact. I will keep praying for him and you. Safe journey, RD, whether to more time in this world or to another world.

Peanut said...

we are still thinking about red dog and all of you.

Anonymous said...

I've got tears in my eyes reading about the horrific day and night RD and you had. I was scared to scroll down as I started reading.

RD, you are one tough and absolutly magificent boy, you are in everyone's minds, prayers and good vibes directions! Please get better, we all love you!

gdphoto said...

Oh Jesus, I'm so sorry. I'm just crying thinking about you guys. Come on Red Dog! I don't really know what to say but please know that our hearts go out to you both. You will be in my thoughts today.

Anonymous said...

Sending prayers, love, hope, faith, and strength to Red Dog and you. I am so sorry you two are facing this illness. Red Dog is loved through this continent and across nations. Know you are both held in so very many hearts.


Anonymous said...

What a horrible night and amazing morning. Sending good thoughts to RD and the Food Lady. I hope he is able to make a come back but if he can't, he will live on in the hearts and minds of all his fans.

Laura in California

Kristi said...

Oh hang in there, RD and Food Lady! We have all of our fingers, toes and other body parts crossed for you.

Unknown said...

Red dog, keep fighting buddy... your Mom loves you very much. You are in our thoughts and prayers! Be terrier tough!!

The Pit Crew (Betty, Ms Kitty and honorary pb, Trixie)

jas said...

dear Food Lady. I live in Singapore, and I was away for two weeks. I only caught up with your blog yesterday, and when I read about RD, i prayed very hard for him and sent him angel healing energy, asking also that archangel Raphael be with him to heal him. i'm sure it was Raphael who helped RD to turn around.
i will continue to pray for you and RD.

Anonymous said...

Oh RedDog and Food Lady :(

I'm crying! And PRAYING for the both of you. Come on RD... you're not ready yet!

We're all here for you both... sending virtual hugs and dog treats.... come on buddy, it's not over yet!

Tinywater Photography said...

Hang in there! And lots of well wishes from us. I'm so sorry S. Stay strong.

Info Goddess said...

Oh dear I'm in tears too, I'm so glad Red Dog is here at least for a little while longer. Even my puking cat is feeling better today so maybe - just maybe - things are looking up!

Anonymous said...

You and your most honorable Red Dog have been and will remain in my thoughts and prayers, and I will continue to ask that you have one more day together and then one more and then one more. Your love for each other is lovely to see.

Many hugs to you and loving pets to RD


Anonymous said...

My thoughts are with you red dog! hang in there. :)

tualizzy said...

Oh I am so sorry. I wish there was something I could do to make this all better.

Food Lady, you are wonderful. And Red Dog... what an amazing spirit he has. It is obvious from this blog that others feel that too. You have touched so many lives.

Please know that I am thinking of you... sending as much positive energy as I can to you both.

Take care of yourself.

Tualizzy, along with Miss Brassy Pants, Lizzy & Jak

Anonymous said...

RD, please be well. my heart hurts for you and your food lady...

MahnaMahna and everyone in the Critter Casa

Anonymous said...

RD, feel better. Keep eating and drinking. Do it for Food Lady!
My thoughts are with you. If there is anything I can do, let me know.
Just remember, dogs don't read textbooks, odds mean nothing to them, love is everything...

Anonymous said...

I'm on Kleenex box deepest sympathies and well-wishes to you both, 'Food Lady!'

That wonderful boy of yours could not have asked for a more loving and dedicated human partner to share his life, that's for sure.

-Corey & Barra

Anonymous said...

Oh sweetie! I don't know what to say. I've read this twice now, once to myself, and then outloud to my DH, and have bawled both times. I am keeping you and RD in my thoughs and prayers. Fingers and paws crossed here that this good will continue on for a long time to come.


Anonymous said...

RD, please get better. You are one of my most favorite dogs.

S- all my thoughts and prayers are with you and RD.


Katie, Fergus and Ryder

katiemc811 said...

Red Dog, please get better. This whole blog made me well up with tears this morning.

RDM- please stay strong. I know its easier said than done.

You are all in my thoughts and prayers,


Katie, Fergus and Ryder

Anonymous said...

Oh, Red Dog. Hang in there. Don't go.

You hang in there too, Food Lady.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Red Dog!! You've got the entire world cheering in your corner!!

LabRat said...

I can't even begin to know how difficult the last days have been for you all. This entry had me in tears, and I almost didn't read the whole thing. Red Dog is a fighter, for sure. Enjoy this gift of extra time with him.
Take care of yourself too, Food Lady. We are thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

I know how draining it is to be in perpetual crisis mode, knowing everything that can be done has been done and now the future is in the hands of fate. If prayers and positive energy are any indication RD shall surely be springing back, poised to continue the fight. All I can do is add my energy and wish you both healing thoughts and peace.

Unknown said...

Oh no. Now I am bawling and I have never even met him. We are sending all of our good thoughts and wishes, prayers, and hopes your way. :-(

Best of luck RD.

Anonymous said...

Sending prayers to RD and RDM for strength for both of you.

Anonymous said...

RD, your Food Lady loves you like crazy, and now there are hundreds of other humans who love you without ever having met you.
You are obviously a smart, loving, beautiful dog, and it's going to be hard for FL when you go, so watch over her, okay, and make sure her heart doesn't break.