Monday, June 29, 2015

A Sad, Painful Time

Duffy on his next to last day

Dear George,
We lost our beloved sheepdog, Duffy, last Friday.  He’d been having trouble with what I thought to be a strained leg muscle as well as difficulty getting from a standing to a lying down position.  We took him to the vet for diarrhea about ten days ago.  In the following week Duffy began developing an increasingly severe limp.  When we brought him back for a followup check, the vet did an X-ray of his right hind leg.  The X-ray revealed that Duffy had bone cancer as well as a fracture in his lower leg.  The vet said he was a tough old dog to be bearing up under all that pain.  There weren’t any realistic options except euthanasia.  I asked about bringing Duffy home for the weekend, and the vet said the fracture would get worse and the pain more severe.  Katja and I bit the bullet and, with broken hearts, agreed that Duffy’s time had come.  A technician gave him a shot with a sedative, and we sat on the floor with him while he became increasingly drowsy.  Then the vet administered a large dose of phenobarbitol.  I thought he was still breathing after a minute, but the vet said his heart had stopped.  We cried a lot, as you might imagine, then sat with Duffy in the room for a while.  We still can’t quite accept it.  Duffy was a wonderful dog, a source of great joy in our lives for thirteen years.  He was my companion on many camping trips and hikes in the forest.  I’ll probably write some more about him in the near future, but for now it’s just a quiet, sad time.

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