Today we had to euthanize our family dog of 12 years. Beau, a Vizsla, was about as good a family dog as you could ever expect. Loyal, obedient, and incredibly tolerant of young children doing all manner of wrongs to him, he was the definition of unconditional love… all he ever wanted was for someone to be there.
In September he developed a mast cell tumor and while chemo and a new drug called Palladia were improving his condition we knew that he could not be fixed, and around Thanksgiving he took a turn for the worse eventually stopping eating altogether and without the energy to get out of his bed.
People often say that their pets are as much a part of family as your children but it’s not until you are tested with something like cancer that you really find out. To be really honest, after $5,000+ in vet expenses, too many shuttle trips back and forth to count, extensive efforts with food to get him to eat to maintain his already diminished weight, and a bunch of drugs administered morning and night, I started to get really resentful because after all, he is a dog and not a person… massive guilt quickly followed for blaming him for something he did not cause or ask for and anger at myself for feeling such a way about an animal I was responsible for caring for. To the end I gave him the best care I could, I think he knew it.
I don’t think you really realize that dogs have the emotional life of humans until they are in their final hours. 3 days ago when he stopped eating for good, it was pretty clear that he had given up the fight. As he became more gaunt and his tail stopped wagging, he not only lost the tools but also the heart.
He will be missed.