Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How Do You Know When to Say When?

Today was a better day. Maggie slept soundly until 5 when she needed to go out. After several times in and out she settled down until Isabelle got up. The rest of the day was fairly quiet – she slept either in or out (I had to mow) most of the day. When Isabelle had swimming I had a girl from the neighbourhood stay with Maggie until Paul got home. Her appetite is better although she is not drinking a lot of water. A world of difference from Sunday.

But now we have an eleven year old dog (plus or minus since we don’t know for certain how old she is) with bad knees and hips, possibly with Cushings Disease and an unexplained GI bleed. And then there is her nose which cracks and gets infected every summer. She also finds the heat uncomfortable and has separation anxiety which seems to be increasing with age. How do we measure quality of life for one who cannot speak words?

Cushings Disease is treatable which can improve the quality of life but that may not be the best choice if the knees and hips are too bad. It is also pretty expensive to diagnose and treat.

For the last three days the answer, though difficult, has leaned towards saying when. There were times when I thought we might not even need to make the decision.

Today I know I must reevaluate but what do I consider? When am I being selfish? When am I being selfish for Isabelle?

Now that most days are in the high 70s and 80s (high 20s and 30s) I can’t leave Maggie in the car at all so that means no errands or activities during the day. She has learned how to break out of her crate and is usually distressed when we leave her at home. Tonight Isabelle asked to go swimming tomorrow – I had to say no because I can’t leave Maggie home alone and I can’t take her with us.

At the beginning of June, Maggie is booked into a kennel while we go away for a few nights – she has been there for a day before but not overnight – how will she fare when we are away and what toll will it take on her health? What about the drive home and back this summer? Is it fair to drag her all that way?

Yesterday, while Maggie was at the vet, I did errands – got the oil changed, took Isabelle out for lunch, bought a new bathing suit, got a present for a birthday party for Isabelle, had my hair cut and shopped for a swim cover-up for Isabelle (why are they all white???). Not once did I have to hurry Isabelle up because Maggie was waiting for us either in the car or at home. I didn’t have to check for messes in the house (there haven’t been any but I always worry). I knew Maggie was safe and well cared for where she was and it took the pressure off. It was a great afternoon – the trip to Columbia was good too, Maggie was at a kennel for the day.

Saying this makes me feel very selfish after all we chose to get a dog knowing this day would come. Despite all her peculiarities, Maggie has been the most wonderful dog – especially with Isabelle. For now we will take things day by day assessing her pain and quality of life as well as working toward having her stay home alone for a couple hours at a time without me having to worry too much about her safety this will enable me to get Isabelle to gymnastics, swim practice or just run to the grocery store.

1 comment:

Taryn said...

You will know when to say when. Trust your gut. Love you.