Friday, September 4, 2015

Another red story

Okay so need to get something out of my head and out of my heart and on to paper.  My miller man, my old man, and one of my first red aussies isn't doing well.  I have been down this path with my very first aussie berry, but it was a much simpler path.  She got sick, was already pretty senile, and the choice to let her go was rather easy.   Her mind was gone and she was sick so putting her out of her pain and suffering was a quick decision.   This is proving to be a bit harder.

Let me back up.  A few days ago, or I should say nights ago, Miller suddenly took a turn for the worse.  It wasn't a turn I was expecting.  He has been fine most of the day, eating, drinking and going outside like normal.  Now, Miller isn't a cuddly dog, never really has been.  He has a crate in the dining room and he prefers to stay in it with the door open on his orthopediac bed most days, and has been that way for many years.  He also has a bed in our living room (one room away), but with the hustle and bustle of having a toddler in the house, he tends to choose the dining room as his hiding spot.  Well, to make a long story short, in one of his travels from the living room to the dining room, he slipped and fell.  He has been having small problems with footing here and there, and we had just decided he was ready for a ramp to be built to get him from the back yard up on our deck, but nothing like this.  This was like Bambi on ice, all four legs going all four directions.  I will admit, I don't keep up with his toe nails like I should, mainly because he HATES having his toe nails done and no amount of positive rewards has changed his thought process over the time we have had him (wow, 14 years is a long time:).  Anyway, I promptly got him on his dog bed and trimmed his toe nails and trimmed the hair on the bottom of his feet just in case.  After doing so, he still couldn't get up and going, so we started carrying him around to help him get from place to place.  We tried a towel sling, but he seemed weak on both front and back end, so we had to do a double sling for that to be effective.  Through trial and error, I rigged up a double sling using deuce's running harness for the front end, and stella's running leash on the back end, so I could steady both ends, as I can't carry him like my hubby can.  I thought this was the end and was pretty emotional.  While I haven' had a dog go down in the back end, I have heard several cases and it never ends well, especially dogs of his age.  I got up the  next morning hoping by some miracle he would be different but he wasn't.  However, when he was outside, he seemed to be more sure footed and actually did his normal toddle around the back yard and sniff and pee.

I immediately went to FB for ideas for footing, since we have all hardwood floors downstairs.  Many of my friends gave me great advice on things from runners to plastic pieces for his toe nails.  I felt like there was hope, even though I know he is 16 and we are living on borrowed time.  I also called and talked with my vet who gave me the suggestion to go ahead and try buffered aspirin to see if that helped at all for a few days before bringing him in.  We saw an immediate improvement in his getting around after just having one dose of aspirin.  He still doesn't want to eat dog food and I am struggling to find things he will eat.  Some times one thing works and then the next time, he turns up his nose.  Right now he likes bread and cheese.  I am trying to get his belly full so we can keep up with the aspirin therapy a few more days.   Like I said, I know we are living on borrowed time, I just want him to be pain free and happy but boy is it going to be hard to euthanize a dog that still has a very sharp mind.  You can see his soul in his eyes and they are still bright and shiny.  I don't think today is the day, or maybe even tomorrow, but it is coming.  I have been very emotional and crying a lot as he is a very special dog to me.  While berry brought me into the world of dog agility, Miller kept me there for many many years.  He taught me SO much about dog training and agility, about mental management and the highest of highs along with the lower lows.  I feel like with his passing, an era of my life will end and I am very sad about that.  He took me across the USA from North Carolina to Arizona.  We won our way into many finals at local shows and into the semis at USDAA nationals three years in a row.  I am just not ready to be back to red aussie 3 again, but I want to be fair to him and to allow him to keep his dignity.  I hate this part of dog ownership. I am going to watch him over the next few days, cook as much food as I can and buy him some baby food/catfood or whatever I can get down him.  He needs to eat so we can continue pain meds and be strong.  So if you would, if you could, think a good thought or say a little prayer for my miller man?  Say a little prayer for me to know when it is time?  I would really, really appreciate it.

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