Saturday, April 12, 2008

The agony of indecision


My sister’s 17 year old dog Sparky had a seizure or a stroke or something really not good while I was on the phone with her this morning. Needless to say, we hung up in haste. An hour or so later, she called back to tell me that the episode seemed to have passed and he was resting. But she is on deathwatch. If he were a human, we would be calling hospice. I hate this part of loving an animal.

Every time I get up in the morning or come home from work or travel, I worry about it. An aging pet is a concern all the time. Their little bodies run to a faster clock. We will all love many animals in our lives; they will love only us. In exchange for the love and devotion we owe them care, love and pain-free final days.

The decision to make the final trip to the vet is a heart-rending one. I have agonized over it every time I have had to make it. Sometime it is an emergency and there is no decision process. It is a scab that is ripped open and bleeding, no matter how prepared we are. Sometimes the decision is their own, with them refusing water and food, preferring to sleep or crawl off to be alone. Sometimes it is the long wait; watching for a sign that they are done and it is time for us to let them go.

I have tried to pay attention to the signs and not be greedy, because this is not about me. I made that mistake once. After my cat Chester’ s collapse I carried him for an entire Thanksgiving holiday not ready to let him go. He had been with me through thick and thin for 18 years. He rallied and lived for another year, but he was miserable and never well. It was unfair to him. I will never do that again.

I have had cats in my life for well over 25 years. I have agonized over the decision to make the long trip to the vet many times now. Is it better to make the decision and the drive or hope to find them gone peacefully in the night? Either way it is a dreadful thing. But I would rather they see a loving face a the very end; then be alone and frightened.

7 comments:

Bevson said...

It appears that he had a heart attack. He is still alive and resting.

djbrown said...

The price of love can be terrible, but the cost of not loving is more terrible still.
We are holding Sparky, Gail and you in the Light....

Bevson said...

He has had 3 more episodes. The vet has been called or rather a message has been left. I have heard nothing else.

Anonymous said...

This is one of those awful things in life. I'll say a little prayer.

Beth

teebyrd said...

One thing good to be said about Sparky....he has lived a good,full life and we are sure that he is comfortable with his friend of so many years, even in his condition. We hope he lives as comfortable as he can with your sister until he goes forth.

Cindy said...

I haven't seen any updates. I hesitate to even ask. What happened?

Bevson said...

It is over. The vet came and Sparky slipped gently into that goodnight after living 17 wonderful years. He will be missed. My sister and mother are doing remarkably well, considering.