When the hubby and I were sleeping soundly on Friday night, we awoke to a strange thumping noise at about 1:00 AM. Upon investigation, we found our dog Daisy, having a seizure and hitting her legs up against the chest in our living room. Now, this is nothing new for Daisy. She was diagnosed as epileptic some time ago, and she's been on medicine ever since, twice a day, every day. The medicine is supposed to keep her from having seizures, and up until around Easter, it was working very well. She did have a seizure just before Easter, when she got out of the car at my dad's house (which has always been a trigger for her), but the incident seemed isolated since she hadn't had one since.
Well, this time it was not an isolated incident. The hubby got up with Daisy to care for her during the seizure that woke us up, but as soon as that one was over, she started again and I joined them. We cleaned up her saliva and feces (sorry to be so graphic, but this is what happens when a dog has a seizure) as we tried to comfort her and hold her still, to keep her from hitting her head on something and knocking herself unconscious. If you've never witnessed a seizure, it's very scary. She didn't seem to know what was going on or who we were, and she seemed very scared of us. In the next three hours, Daisy had four or five more seizures (I lost track in my drowsy state). We managed to get several phenobarbital pills down her throat, and she finally stopped seizing long enough to fall asleep.
As all this was going on, I was honestly expecting her to die. I was horrified at the idea of her dying in my arms, but at the same time, I ended up praying to God that night that she would die in her sleep and the hubby and I would not have to make the decision we made when the morning came.
In the morning, we woke up and the hubby went to work. As the kid watched Nick Jr., I called the vet and explained the situation, making an appointment for 11:00 AM. Daisy was still in a daze, having a hard time walking straight, and seeming just less than herself. I called the hubby to let him know that I was taking her into the vet and we need to have a talk about what the next step would be.
In the past, we have paid vet bills up to $800 to have her boarded and treated. Her medicine costs a mere $20/month, but it has left her lethargic and in a daze on her best days, tempermental and disobedient on her worst. When she was diagnosed, we were informed that her condition was treatable, but medication was a temporary fix and that as she grew older, her dosages would have to be increased, resulting in greater side effects and still no guarantee that she would not have another seizure. With every seizure, came the risk of death.
With heavy hearts, the hubby and I decided together that the most humane option for Daisy would be to euthanize her. I hope you, my readers, are not judging me for this, and I hope you understand that this decision would never have been made without great, great consideration.
When the time came, the kid and I took Daisy by leash and got in the car, then took off to the vet's office. Daisy rode with her head out the window, the wind in her ears--a thing she has always taken great pleasure in. When I walked in, the receptionist asked how I was doing and I told her, as I cried uncontrollably, that we had decided on euthanasia. I felt like she was judging me, though I hope that was all in my head, as she guided us back to an examination room to wait for the doctor.
Our vet is a very old man, maybe 75 years old, who walks with a cane and has a thick Eastern European accent. I've never thought of him as a very caring or warm person, possibly due to his accent, or to the fact that he is always screaming at me (probably because he's hard of hearing) but this time he was very understanding and sympathetic to my situation. He explained that we did have one other option, which was for him to keep Daisy in his office for the next week, observing and trying new medicine regimes, but that in the end she would be even more sedated than she already was, as one of the drugs they could put her on was Valium, and they may not find a regime that works anyway. I decided, after careful consideration, that letting her live a life where she wasn't sure what was going on was no life at all anyway. We would go through with our plan to have her put down.
The kid was holding her leash when they came in to get her, and we gave her one last hug and kiss goodbye. She didn't want to go with them. She was scared. I cried harder. The kid was focused on the candy basket at the front, and barely seemed to understand why I was crying or what was going to happen to Daisy. I decided to pay a little bit more to get her ashes back. I gave the receptionist my credit card and left after I signed, before Daisy was really gone.
I wish I had been able to stay and hold her paw, to see her out of this world and on to a better place, but since the kid was with me, that probably would have been one of those moments that would have scarred him for life, so I decided against it. My friend Marlene suggested that we plant Daisies and scatter her ashes around them, as a memorial service, and so that's what we'll do. The hubby even gave me a daisy-looking plant for Mother's Day, so we'll transfer those as soon as we pick up her ashes this week.
I'm sorry to have such a sad story to tell on this Mother's Day, but I had to get it out somewhere, and this blog seemed like the best place to do it. I feel incredibly guilty, even though the doctor and other people tell me I made the best choice and did all I could do for her. I can't stop crying every time I come home and she's not there to greet me, or I leave the house or go to bed without administering her medicine. Even some of my passwords incorporate her name.
I won't pretend that she was the best dog ever--there were times we tried to find her a new home because she bit the kid--but she was full of love for us, and we loved her in return. She chose us by showing up at our house one day with no owner in sight, and that seemed to make her all the more special. Her eyes were the most feminine, beautiful eyes I have ever seen on a dog, and her fur was always soft. She followed me around, nudged me with her nose when she wanted love, ran around in circles when she wanted out, and waited for me every night to put her up on the bed to sleep. I will love her, and remember her, forever. Here are some pictures, in memoriam:
This is the last picture of Daisy, taken on 3.24.2010, lounging lazily (and fatly) on her very worn couch spot. Rest In Peace, Daisy. We will miss you dearly.