I’m a Lame Kevorkian

Cody is our 16 year old dog. Two years ago, he developed a tumor on his rectal area that has grown and grown. The vet said there was nothing to do and we should just give him the best life we could. Amazingly, he’d done pretty well, although every time we took him out of town we knew it would be his “last” time. He’s really slowed down and doesn’t eat as much as he used to. Then he couldn’t climb the stairs anymore so I’d carry him up and down. Then we started carrying him outside to go to the bathroom, but he would walk with encouragement. I don’t think he’s really eaten a whole bowl of food for a month, but he was drinking water. When I take him out to the bathroom, he sometimes just falls over trying go. My partner has been vacillating about taking him in to have him put down, but we had such a traumatic experience with that a few years ago with another dog that neither of us can stomach the idea. We’ve had him on hospice at home. A few days ago, before I had to go to work, I found him lying in a huge puddle of diarrhea. I cleaned him up, scrubbed the floor and his bed before I could go to work. Monica thought it was time to take him in, but really didn’t feel it in her heart. I said, “no, let’s just see. He can’t go on much longer.”

For the past week, he’s done very little but lie in the laundry room. We got home from the gym this afternoon and I caught Monica on the phone. She was talking to the vet’s office. She told me, “I have to take him in, but I don’t want to. He has bloody liquid stool rolling out of him.”

I remembered that I had some pain medicine and some Valium left over from an illness last year. She jumped at the idea of just giving him an overdose and he’d go to sleep and he would stop breathing. It was a nice sunny, fairly warm day and he was happy lying outside under the tree. Tearfully, Monica gave him 20 mg of Valium and 8 mg of Dilaudid, a dose we knew would stop breathing in a person my size. Surely, it would do the same to a skin and bones 30 lb dog. He ate the pills with a bit of dog bisquit and we sat down outside to make him comfortable. We put him on his soft bed and covered him with a blanket. That was at 1:30pm. Five hours later, he is still wide awake. He hasn’t moved much, but he is showing no signs of even sleeping. We can’t decide if he’s just not metabolizing anything or if it’s going to hit him much later or what. We are somewhat flabbergasted. M asked if she should give him “pillow therapy” but neither of us could bring ourselves to do that. Two nurses and we can’t even euthanize a sick dog.

Meanwhile, I’m drinking Malibu rum and pineapple juice, wondering what to do next.

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