Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dogging the Dog

My son's girlfriend showed me a picture she took with her cellphone of a shirt similar to the one pictured here. I believe she was a bit miffed that I mentioned her extended shopping expedition in my Navy Pier blog a couple weeks ago.

In fact, she commented, her mother told her that if they had visited Chicago as mother-daughter, the shopping may have gone on for days, not just hours. Oh, well. Guess it must be a girl thing.

That's not what I wanted to blog about today. Kind of in a dilemma here wondering what to do about our little mutt Doogie. We had been worried about his upsurge in water intake which began some months ago, very abnormal for him.

So we took him to the vet who discovered infection and prescribed anti-biotics. A couple hundred dollars later, he's free of infection, but still an overly thirsty mutt. The vet wants more tests done including x-rays, also permission to do laser surgery if necessary--starting cost for all of this about $250.

That's where we're at. When I mentioned the costs to a co-worker, he noted, "A box of shells is only $20." Of course, I know many folk including some blogging buddies of mine who would not hesitate to spend whatever it took to help their pet, even if it only postponed the inevitable.

I guess I'm somewhere in between. Other than his drinking problem, Doogie is happy and healthy otherwise. And at 14, he's already outlived any pet I've ever had, or known personally. And anyway I've never seen life as a contest to see who could live the longest; that goes for people as well as dogs.

So I guess we'll adopt a wait-and-see for now. As long as he continues to be a merry mutt, we'll keep his water dish filled and take turns getting up in the middle of the night to let him out. Argghhh! No, we love our dog.

Sometimes in those middle-of-the-night trips to the backyard, Doogie spots a critter, perhaps a raccoon or even worse, a cat. Egads! An intruder in our midsts? The alarm must be sounded. The neighborhood must be awakened and alerted. Bark, bark, bark, bark! Arggghhh! No, we love our dog.

And we'll keep putting up with the occasional accidents, upchucks in living colors, that goes along with the begging and the constant scratching to go out or come in, perfectly timed to coincide with the moment that we're fully reclined in our Lazy Boy recliners. Arrghhhh! No, we love our dog.

Then there's his paranoia of thunderstorms, like the roof-rattler that hit last night, sending Doogie in a panic throughout the house, bumping into furniture and knocking things onto the floor. Or quivering on our bed, shaking it so much that it seemed like one of those cheap hotel beds where you a put a quarter in so it vibrates (uh, so I've been told about).

Arrgghhhh! No, we love our dog. [Sigh]


Blogger Babette said...

Great colors on that shirt, Dave! GO GREEN!

7:47 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

I hate it when people make comments like that of your work-mate. I find them cold, callous and uncaring. I have pets...I have two cats. I've had dogs as well.

I've been placed in the difficult position you're in Dave...I feel if the animal is not in pain, then let it live its life peacefully and lovingly with you. I love my pets...every pet I've had throughout my life and I've shed many tears over them, and no doubt will shed many more. But there is now way I would take the advice such as that given to you by your work buddy.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Hi Dave, I'm with you and Lee on the live pain free thing.

2:29 AM  
Anonymous Deb said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Doogie, and I hope his health continues to improve.

I see pets more than just animals, they're my dear friends--always there to listen and love unconditionally. I too, would wait and see.

Sorry Dave, but your co-worker sounds a little too insensitive.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

Hi Dave, I'm here via Poodle City.

I can sympathize with you and the ups and downs of living with an aging dog. When my Kyah was old and ill I often wondered how far to go in the medical treatments and if and when I should do the humane thing. My best doggie friend said 'you'll know. when she is no joy to herself or anyone else, its time'. As she deteriorated we could see she still enjoyed life (if you could just help me down the steps mom, I won't bother you again) but then one day, she was struggling to breath and all the peace and joy was gone. It was time and we knew it.
If Doogie isn't suffering I hope you and the family can just enjoy the rest of the time with your drinking, peeing, barking, panicking friend. They are worth every bit of trouble they cause :-)

10:05 AM  
Anonymous jan said...

I think you're doing the right thing as long as he isn't suffering. I've had one experience of trying to prolong the life of an old dog by having poked, prodded, cut into and sutured. It just made his last days painful. It is a difficult decision, but I would do as you are doing. Including getting up at all hours...

10:11 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...


Fourteen is old in dog years even for a mutt (is Doogie a mutt??). Why spend $250 to torture the poor thing...they can't get him to live forever, no matter how they poke and prod him.

I believe that dogs are our "Seasonal" friends...they come into our life for a season. They bring joy and love (and in my case, much laughter) to our lives, and then their time is up. No surprise, we all knew when signing up to own a dog that they age at least 7x as fast as we do.

I would skip the experimental treatment and just let Doogie be Doogie, pee and all. Don't let the poor thing suffer. Let him enjoy his final years, months, weeks. Don't feel guilty. He was not meant to live to be 100 no matter what you did.

8:13 PM  
Blogger MSU gal said...

great post. i so enjoy your writing.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Matty said...

My son had to put his dog down...and he was only 10 yrs old. The dog was 10 yrs old, but suffering from extreme arthritis, he couldn't even lift his leg to pee, he moaned and groaned all night long. They bought him expensive medecine every week. I swear dog medecine is more expensive than human drugs. Finally the vet said it was time, so he paid another $250 to put him down. Many kind people? offered to take the dog into the woods for him and shoot him...but there is no way he would allow that.How can you shoot your best friend? Tough decision. Sad to see them suffer..and sad to see them go!

5:12 AM  
Anonymous Peanut said...

We all need water. We are all the defenders of our neighborhoods. And yes, sometimes 15 feet to the backyard door is too far so we squat in the living room. Shit happens Dave.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Your doggie is as much a part of your family as your kids probably are. They give us love and look to us to take care of them. If your doggie is not suffering, then put up with his habits of old age and just love him. When his time comes, you will know it.

I think how we handle this tells us what kind of person we are. Remember that you are teaching your children about how to take care of the old....You wouldn't want them to "put you down" before your time just because you started showing signs of aging.....

Ok Grandpa and the Enforcer, it's time to watch Dave.....

11:57 AM  
Blogger Kacey said...

Gee Dave, The Vet wants to do all those tests and maybe laser something? What's he gonna laser? (Probably the zipper on your wallet) I'd check his blood sugar ---polydipsia, polyuria and polyphagia are the first three symptoms of diabetes. I can just see you giving him his insulin shots. Seriously, my "honey" and I have tried to put a barn cat down with an overdose of pills and the cat staggered around in our porch all night and had horrendous diarrhea from the pills. In the end, we trotted off to the vet with the swacked cat and let him do the vile deed. Sometimes, putting an animal down is the kindest thing you can do.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Missy lived to be 16.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

I do feel your pain here Dave. Our dog and cat are affectionately called our "furry kids". We do whatever we can to have them as long as possible in our lives. But I do believe that that love for all they mean to me should put them first. The pain we feel when my hubby and I have "lost" one is horrible. Maybe it's the unconditional love they give us. In return we hold on until we see their personality change due to extreme pain. Then, we have to let go. Hope Doogie rides this storm successfully.

6:34 PM  
Blogger poopie said...

Yep...sounds like diabetes to me. But as long as he's happy and healthy, I'd let it go.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Maria said...

It has been a few months since we lost our Yorkie to kidney stones that lodged between the kidney and the bladder. I miss her more than I want to admit. I believe I would have every test available in animal medicine if I thought it would result in quality time and not a lot of discomfort for my pet.
After that, if the quality of life was gone, I would do the responsible thing, and have my sweet dog euthanized.

I wasn't given that choice. There was no time. It was too late. I think your very best advice came from Lucy. What an insight that lovely woman has. Guess I will have to visit her blog, soon.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

Your little doggie is lucky to have a family that cares. Although at 14, he is quite an old fellow. And he is comfortable. That's a good thing.

Good luck with the decisions to be made for your little doggie. It seems to be so hard to know what to do.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous schnoodlepooh said...

You're a good man, Big Dave. Just remember all of the joy that little doggie has brought to your life over the years. Of course, it's no secret to you what side of the animal fence I am on. THe side of the dog, of course! He may be diabetic (water drinking). And yes, he is old. You just have to consider his quality of life. Is he happy, doing okay, not too many aches and pains? It's your obligation to take care of him when he needs you. But don't hang on too long - that's not doing him any favors either. It sounds like he's okay for now. Just keep him comfortable and happy. I think that's the best you can do. and don't forget to tell him that you love him....
Good luck.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous squirrel said...

Why is it that good dogs like yours get sick and mine just keeps on living and torturing me? LOL

4:50 PM  
Blogger simply me said...

Oh Dave - I love my dog more than I like most people. Enjoy Doogie for however long...It sounds like he's had a great life and keeper.

6:54 PM  
Blogger WordWhiz said...

Except that when I say I'm blogged out, I really, actually go away...for MONTHS...I feel just like you. At least when it comes to dogs. When I was a single, childless, pet-owner, it was different. I was one of those people who would have emptied my bank account to save my pet. In fact, I did just that once when she was attacked by a Pitt Bull. But now, I have a different perspective. I love my dog, but she no longer sleeps in my bed. She snores. Maybe when she was still my child, that would not have mattered. I love my dog, but she's a pet. I would never let her suffer, but neither will I extend her life beyond the typical doggy years simply to enrich my vet. You can love your dog without going broke. You're a good person, Dave. I mean that.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Nankin said...

We just went through the same thing with our 19 year old Tinkerbell. I couldn't see putting her through a battery of test just so thedoctor could tell us that she was old.

And even then it still hurt when she died. There is no pretty answer.

3:33 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

This is when it gets tough. I don't envy any of you (you, your wife, and the dog).

6:59 PM  
Blogger Spider said...

Thinking about your son's girlfriend reminded you that your mutt doggie has an infection? What would Sigmund Freud say of this?

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

I see this is dated May 1 and can't believe it's been that long since I visited here. I'm sure you know my story on the loss of our Holly....And so....
I'd say he either has Cushings or is now diabetic, based on his symptoms. Believe me, I know them all now, as increased water intake was Holly's first symptom. I suppose it could also be lymphoma, which unfortunately, was Holly's diagnosis.
I just wanted to say....yes, many people will spend everything on their dog. However...your dog is 14 years old. HOW I'd love to have a dog to that age. My Holly was only barely 6 years old and in excellent health otherwise. To NOT do the chemo wasn't an option for us, based mostly on her young age and good health. HAD she been 14, I think I would have rethought the options.
As it was....when the time came SO quickly on May 9....NO way could we let her suffer. It wasn't about US. It was about her and we had to lovingly let her go. So I send you all good wishes and thoughts on your dog and the probably difficult days ahead. Best to you, Dave.

7:42 AM  
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11:01 PM  

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