Thursday, April 13, 2017

Losing a Loved Pet

I haven't lost one of my own, personal pets in seven years, now.  When my cat, Banichi, was poisoned by a neighbor, I withdrew completely and only Lovey, my other cat kept me from committing suicide.  I didn't know it at the time, but my psychiatrist and my therapist were both very afraid that I would do away with myself - but Leofgifu made me stay on - to care for her.
   I take care of a lot of pets who have grown old in the past 13 years I've been a pet-sitter.  Sometimes the loss of the pet has been quick and unexpected, and sometimes the owners and I have watched a long, slow decline and discussed the difficulty of euthanasia versus a natural death.  I have always said that if the pet was suffering great pain, or had totally lost control of all body functions, that it was best to euthanize.
   Sweet Rosie was a week away from 15 years, which is pretty incredible for an Irish Setter - they usually don't live much past 12.  Her body slowly deteriorated, and the last few days she needed assistance to walk.  She essentially told her owners that it was time to say Good-bye, and they did so.  The owners were in tears, but it was the best thing for Rosie.
   I've been caring for a really special, loving Spangled Bengal cat named Seek.  Her owner has had only five other pets in her life, and all the other pets died suddenly and quickly, in unexpected ways.  That included Seek's litter mate brother, Hide.  Seek was diagnosed a few weeks ago with bone cancer.  It was originally thought that she had an abscessed tooth, and during the dental work, the growth on her jaw bone was seen, and a scraping was sent to the lab.  The owner has never had to watch, or nurse, any pet through such pain and suffering.  The last bit of anything that Seek consumed was pureed chicken Florentine that I fed her through an eye-dropper last Thursday, a week ago.  The owner has not been able to get her to eat or drink since then.  Seek's mouth has swollen enormously, and she cannot groom herself, or use her tongue in any way.
    After talking with the owner at great length yesterday afternoon, and with me telling her that the ultimate decision was hers, she has decided to have Pete, our local house-call veterinarian come over and let Seek slip away peacefully.  The owner is a Buddhist and wanted the cat to die "a natural death."  I pointed out that with no nourishment, and with a continual ooze of blood, mucus and infected gunk running from her mouth and down her chest, Seek had to be uncomfortable.  Her eyes are greatly dilated, and she is purring constantly, a sign of pain.  We can't give her pain medicine, other than an injection, and the owner said no to that.
   The owner told me that she was calling Pete, the vet, yesterday evening.  I told her that I would be happy to be there, if she wanted me to, when she says good-bye to Seek.  (And then I had to tell her that I had a dentist appointment this afternoon, and wouldn't be available for a couple of hours.)  She said that several other people had expressed the wish to be there, so I probably will not attend.I said my good-byes to Seek yesterday afternoon, and told her about the Rainbow Bridge, and seeing her brother again.  I wish her a pain free trip......

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