Amazingly it has been six months since my Obi was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). Since then we have had our share of good days and bad days, ups and downs and quite a bit of stress. Back when all of this began, my baby had already started turning away from his dry dog food, so I had to start watering it down. By March, he would no longer eat that, so I started buying canned dog food and mixing it. When he started turning away from the canned/dry mixture, I went on to straight canned dog food. By May he wouldn’t eat canned dog food either. I then tried purchasing the refrigerated tube of dog food that is offered in some stores. He liked it for about three days. Then he went on a hunger strike for about a week. I watched him get skinnier and skinnier and was afraid to go on vacation at the beginning of June.
My mom came to our house to stay with him during our vacation. “Grannie” somehow managed to get him to eat again and helped him put some weight back on. Her trick? Lots of leftovers. That was more than alright by me, as I had already tried giving him some here and there as well. I would do anything that would keep Obi eating. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long About a week after she left, he quit eating most of the things I gave him. So I started to cook for my dog. I found a crock pot chicken recipe that was very simple, and he loved it! The pot of food lasted almost a week and he ate it all. For some reason, the second pot didn’t come out quite the same. He knew it too, as he would nibble at it, but wouldn’t eat all of his meals. Now we are on the third pot, and he won’t touch it at all. We had steak one night for dinner and of course he loved that. The next night we had hamburgers and hotdogs. He ate the hamburger, but wouldn’t touch the hot dogs. The next night, he turned his nose up at the hamburger. He didn’t eat anything that night. That brings us to last night. My daughter made soup, and we had french bread with it. The only thing I could find in my house that he would eat was that french bread. Once I discovered he would eat it, I dipped it in his crock pot dog food broth to provide some substance, and that worked. Unfortunately once the bread was gone, he wouldn’t touch anything else. I don’t know from one day to the next what he will eat or even if he will eat, but strangely enough, there is one thing he has eaten all week with me…watermelon. While he turned away hotdogs and hamburgers, he was more than happy to share my watermelon. Silly dog.
But as comical as I find his taste for watermelon, it hasn’t detracted from the fact that my dog is starving himself. Due to his salix (water pills), he was drinking a lot of water before, but even that has subsided this week. On a good note, his lungs do not sound as “liquid” since he hasn’t been drinking, but don’t let that fool you. His nose is showing he is becoming more and more dehydrated each day. His energy is gone. He is still as lovable with me as ever, but he also seems so very sad. We spent a day laying in the grass last Sunday, and I would have sworn at that time that was going to be his final day. I am happy to say it wasn’t, but that day is coming, too quickly.
As if the universe wanted to send me a message, I received an article on my news homepage yesterday regarding euthanasia for dogs. I was able to read it objectively until I got to the part about what to do with their remains. Then I almost lost it. My baby will be gone…very, very soon.
I belong to a Facebook group dedicated to Doberman DCM. After reading the euthanasia article, I took a chance and posted: “I am curious as to how many DCM families made the decision to euthanize instead of letting nature take its course. If so, at what point did you decide it would be best to do it? The idea breaks my heart, but I don’t know how much pain my baby is actually in.” I received so much feedback, most of it very supportive, but most of it heartbreaking. Many responses included signs that my baby is already showing. Many indicated it would be better for me to euthanize so he could die comfortably instead of risking a very painful death (which some had gone through with their dobies). Now I am at a crossroads. My heart continues to break. I have a tough decision to make. I don’t think I’m strong enough to make it. Hell I can’t even handle thinking about it. I don’t want to be the reason my dog dies, but I don’t want to be the reason he dies in pain either. I need more time! Sadly, time offers no guarantees.
So now I am crying as I am reluctantly planning a “fun last day” for my baby. I haven’t picked a date yet, because that would mean it’s final. I’m not ready for it to be final. But if you see me and I don’t seem cheery, if you call me and I don’t want to talk, if I turn down any invitation, or if I just seem quiet and far away while I’m in your presence, even though I may or may not have a smile on my face, please, please, please understand it’s because my heart is being ripped away from my very soul. Maybe it will be renewed one day, but for now…well for now it’s just what it is.