Is it Time to say Goodbye?

Cassie being guided in her harness and sling.

Cassie being guided in her harness and sling.

My good friend and work partner for the past 11 ½ years, Cassie, can no longer walk. She leans hard to the left and falls down if she can’t manage to get her left rear leg under her. This morning she couldn’t walk more than a few steps with a tremendous amount of assistance, while yesterday she managed to walk around the block as long as my husband, Mitch, supported her with a harness and sling.

“I think it may be time to put her down,” Mitch said this morning after having a poor night’s rest from taking her out several times.

“I know.” The tears stung my eyes as the hope from her staggered gait yesterday drained away. Cassie has a brain tumor, causing her unsteadiness with walking, unfortunately, first diagnosed as arthritis in opposite legs. We doubled her prednisone level based on her vet, and a neurologist’s recommendations, which might temporarily shrink the tumor and give Cassie greater mobility for possibly a few months. But that was 2 ½ days ago, when she could walk.

“Call the vet and ask her if we should put her down or if there’s a chance that the prednisone may still help,” Mitch said.

The vet said that a brain tumor shouldn’t cause her to deteriorate so quickly. Leaning to one side is a classic symptom of vestibular disease http://web-dvm.net/vestibularsyndrome.html . She recommended over the counter Meclizine for motion sickness, which might help within 3 – 5 days.

Cassie hard at work cleaning the pots. The t-shirt was to prevent Chipper from licking her sebaceous cyst.

Cassie hard at work cleaning the pots. The t-shirt was to prevent Chipper from licking her sebaceous cyst.

A ray of hope! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the Meclizine helps, since as of today, her condition is looking very bleak, except for eating. She’s still very enthusiastic for meals and treats. When she loses her appetite, we’ll know it’s time.

Mitch comforting Cassie

Mitch comforting Cassie

One thought on “Is it Time to say Goodbye?

  1. Karen Burley

    This is the toughest decision, and it is the reason many people say they won’t get another dog because having to make this end-of-life decision is just too hard. The way I look at it is that dogs who live with people statistically live longer than they would in the wild. They have someone who loves them and they get to love us back. Most of us try to give our dogs quality experiences. So they dog benefits tremendously from being in a relationship with us. And us dog lovers benefit tremendously from the relationship too. I have lived with dogs and without dogs and life is so much better with a dog. No matter how tough a day I have, when I walked in the door and the dog jumps up, wagging her tail wildly as if to say “Yipee! You’re home! You came back to me!”, I know that to some living creature I am important. The weight of the world falls from my shoulders and I smile. Every day, I can count on this response. All the money in the world can’t buy it. Dogs are God’s gift to us.

    I agree that as long as Cassie is eating, hang in there. Once the appetite goes, they are telling you it’s time. Cassie clearly wants more of Mitch’s cooking before shes goes!

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