'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

24 August 2010

Love

Last April I wrote this about my beloved dog Trooper. Since then we've been treating Trooper for diabetes, old age and general health breakdown.

We had a growth taken off his neck. We did it because it was causing him discomfort and Doc was sure it could be removed without too many issues. He's developed another one near his anus that bleeds and is obviously painful. Doc won't remove it because there's a nerve that controls the sphincter right there that he's sure would get damaged to the extent that he'd lose control of his bowels.


He's also developed a new lesion on his right front leg. It doesn't seem to bother him so at this stage I'm letting it be. He has allergies so he's on Hydroxizine. The problem is that in his weak condition it makes it hard for him to even get up off a hard surface floor and that's a problem. Since he was a puppy he's loved sleeping on tile, wood, concrete, anything hard and cool. When he's not on the medication his eyes swell and droop and his already very limited eyesight gets even worse. Medicate or not? I try and watch so I can medicate when he needs it but not so much that it causes more problems. He's had a hard time getting outside. It's a rare day when he doesn't have an accident in the house. It bothers him, I can tell. He hates it when he can't make it outside. Don't tell me a dog doesn't understand. Trooper knows.


What can I do? Just as I loved him as a puppy I love him as an old dog. He's earned the right to be an old dog. Earned it and I owe it to him.

But when is the time to say goodbye? How do I judge such a thing? This life is literally in my all too human hands. How do I say that's enough, your life is no longer worth living and it's time for that last ride?

I spend my days with him, every day, as close as I can. I stay up late to help him get outside for his late night visit to the backyard. I tend his conditions, medicate him, feed him and watch him with my heart in my throat and my ears cocked for signs of distress.

I sit with him and touch him whenever I can. It seems to help. He's most relaxed when he's near me, physically touching and being touched. I love him and ask myself the question. Every day. It's all I can do.

I was overjoyed when I was able to keep Trooper alive in April. I was grateful for the chance to spend more time together. But. In the back of my mind there is that place I hate to visit. The place where the voice tells me things I don't want to hear. That our time since then was always going to be limited, difficult and ultimately short. It is the logical part of my mind that is always watching, evaluating and weighing. The emotional part of me is stronger still but the awareness is creeping in again. The knowledge that I can't put it off forever. That our time is drawing to a close. But not now. Not today. We will get through today together.

I will love Trooper with all my heart for as long as I can. I will touch him and whisper to him and tend his honorable wounds and infirmities with care and devotion. And in the end I will let him go. It will crush me but I will do what is necessary.
Because I love my dog.

10 comments:

dick said...

Trooper
s a good one, and he's fortunate enough to have damn good folks watching after him.

Ed Rasimus said...

Been there...and I think I've got something in my eyes right now...

Six said...

Thanks guys. I really appreciate the support.

Sarge said...

Don't try to make that decision alone. Your vet, if he's worth his salt, will tell you when the time has come. I know mine did when I had to put Sammy down. One of the Hardest things I've ever done. But the time you have with Trooper is to presious to waste worrying about the ultamate end. Enjoy the time you have left.
Yeah I got something in my eye also and it's dripping off my cheek

Six said...

Thanks Pop. I'll remember.

Me said...

I honestly know where you're coming from--Lagniappe and I are there these days, too. It's hard--real hard--to deal with but you'll know when Trooper is suffering more than your love for each other can make ok. Eventually you'll probably have to let him go for his own benefit, but until that day comes, just keep being there for him like you are. He's lucky to have a caring friend like you.

LauraB said...

As noted, Trooper will tell you. One suspects the growths and conditions can be related to his body not being able to cope with all the meds...but then which do you stop?

When do you stop? All I know is that everyone who has been there admits they probably waited longer than was proper out of sheer need of their friend. From a love too strong to just let go. And that is what he is giving you...he won't let go, either, until he has to. Bear this in mind as you wait for the sign...

My heart goes out to you. I pray you find comfort and peace in the time left with each other...

JihadGene said...

Dogs are good. Good for a person's soul.

Six said...

Thanks Me. I hate the news about Lagniappe. There's simply no way to prepare for that kind of prognosis. It's just not fair.
I figure if Trooper's eating, resting and sleeping well we're just going to keep on. If the medical issues get worse or any thing else changes then...
Give our best to Lagniappe. You guys will be in our hearts and thoughts.

Thanks Laura. Yeah, it seems to be a juggling act with the meds. You've hit it on the head. I'm very emotional and I'm defending Trooper like a papa bear and his cub. I'm not completely rational right now and am certainly not being logical. Trooper's hanging on and I'm not yet ready to let him go. It is an absolute certainty that I'll hang on too long but not at the cost of his pain. Never. I promise.
Give our best to Ranger too Laura. I know you guys are facing some of the same issues and we're thinking about you guys.

Thanks Gene. You got that exactly right buddy. I never trust anyone who either doesn't like dogs or who dogs don't like.

JihadGene said...

I haven't been by in a while. I am so very sorry about Trooper. I've had many dogs in my life and I loved 'em all. But only once in awhile do you find one like Trooper. Sorry, my friend.