Tuesday, March 12, 2013
The last 6 months have been tough. Odie’s had a heart murmur since we first got him at 2 years old (he was from Poodle Rescue) but it was classified at level 1-2, which doesn’t affect his health. Last September, I worried about an persistent cough and took him to a vet where we were in Sedalia, MO. Our home vet had mentioned that coughing could be a sign of the heart murmur getting worse. But this vet said, “No, the cough isn’t from the heart, it’s a collapsed trachea.” Well, is that good news or bad? But, he also listened to his heart and classified the murmur at stage 5-6. All bad news. But he was hanging in there.
When we got back to Ft. Lauderdale in late October, I took him to his primary vet with the idea that it may be time to put him down. The scariest thing was when he collapsed once – I thought it was a stroke, it could have been a seizure, or it could have been fainting for lack of blood flow – he just fell hard, in a twisted little pile of poodle. But, in a minute, he recovered fully and was livelier than before. Jim and I joked that he overheard us talking about putting him down, and he was trying to say, “Hey look at me! I feel Great!”
The Vet took some tests and prescribed some heart medication. That really made a difference, Odie wasn’t struggling to breathe anymore, he could sleep peacefully. But it was still clear that he was declining. The coughing continued and the collapsing episodes started up again. Sometimes he would collapse 3-4 times in a day. But he always recovered. And he still had good times – he still went for walks every day, just shorter ones. It was tough to get him to eat. Dog food was out of the question, but he still eagerly accepted bites of steak from our plate!
But, yesterday, I felt I saw real pain on his face as he tried to stretch but something caught him mid-stretch. I have seen this before and believe it was something intestinal. I couldn’t get him to eat at all – not even a piece of stew meat – and he wasn’t even drinking. Intestinal issues pass in a day or so, but I just said = “Enough.” It’s time to let him go. Whenever I’ve suggested that over the last few months, Jim has poo-poohed me. My sense is that Jim wasn’t ready to let go. But, yesterday he said, “I agree.”
I called a local vet and started to make an appointment for the following morning, then I looked at Odie in distress and asked if they had a time available that afternoon. They did. My greatest fear has been to wait too long. I didn’t want to spend a painful night with him, when it’s in my power to prevent that. We took him for a last walk to the nature trail we all love so much, but we had to carry him half the way. I think we made the right decision.
Since Odie has lived his whole life on the road – a car ride is not a bad omen for him. He loves car rides, and he loves going inside new places … even Veterinary offices! Wouldn’t you know, he was perky and making friends with everyone in the waiting room. I was in agony. Jim tried to comfort me. He picked Odie up and we both went into the exam room. They call it ‘putting them to sleep’ for a reason – that’s just what it’s like. Odie laid his head on my arm and we both stroked him. I didn’t know I had so many tears in me. Then we left to face life without our dear sweet Odie.
Jim tries to get me to focus on the good memories with Odie, and he’s right – there were SO many. Here’s one of the best – and we caught it on video:
With all that energy, people sometimes asked us, “Isn’t he hyper and drive you crazy in the RV?” Nope, he was as mellow as could be in the motorhome – he would just lay on his couch all day long as long as we were there, usually at our computers, he was content.
He didn’t like it when we were gone though. We would say that he Hated Rallies, because at RV Rallies we were gone most of the time.
We loved our Odie. Now we have to learn to live without him
Lots more pictures of Odie – from the beginning.