If I could take his pain away…

It has been almost three weeks since I said goodbye to my faithful friend of 15 and a half years.  I miss him.  I remember over the years pushing him in his stroller on his painful days, telling him I would take your pain to be my own if I could.

For many things, I could help him.  When he was afraid to be left home alone, we helped him overcome his anxiousness.  When he got older and “forgot” he learned to be comfy at home, we helped again and used a lot of management.

When he started urinating in his sleep, we laid a pee pad on his bed each night.  We cleaned him well the next morning and remembered to pick the water dish up just a little earlier.

When his legs began to weaken, we started carrying him down the stairs.  We laid rugs in the areas he most liked to walk and we pushed him in the stroller a lot.

When he forgot his manners, we no longer cared.  It was fun to watch him test the boundaries of his new found senior entitlement.

When he stopped wanting to eat his normal meals, we added chicken, carrots, steak, and other yummy stuff.  I no longer worried about the weight as he was losing at a rapid rate.

We did acupuncture, pain meds, meds to help his liver.  We fed canned food, cooked food, raw food, our food.  We played the games he most enjoyed when his little body was up to it.  We took him everywhere so if he seizured he’d be with us.  Then we gave him more meds knowing it would most likely shorten the time he had with us.  His liver couldn’t take those high doses forever (it was already struggling).  My pain would come sooner, but I had said if I could take his pain, I would. And so I started.

A few more months passed, and then he winced…

My heart broke moving him from place to place and hearing him cry.  My heart broke thinking of all the pain he was in.  And so… I made the call.  It was time.  More medication would do not suffice this time.

Once again I remembered saying, if I could take his pain, I would, and so I did.  He stretched and let out one last deep breath, a sigh of relief I presume as he began to transfer his pain to me.  As the doctor heard his heart stop, I felt mine break.  I have this pain of living without him, but his pain is no more.  Run my boy, run fast, run far.  I did it and I would do it again!

Each day since I remind myself, if I could take his pain, I would, and I did and while this heartbreak is so much, watching his suffering was unbearable.

Yippie Goes to the Bar

Yes, you read that right, Yippie goes to the bar.  The bar in our kitchen.  He stands there until we guess what he wants.  Literally, just stands there and looks at me as I guess what is on his mind.  I should perhaps teach him the PECS system that is used for non verbal children, and perhaps when we are done with the Karen Pryor Academy behavior chain I will.

When he goes to the bar, it is typically one of three things (lucky for him, because I would lose patience after the third):

  1. Water
  2. To go out.
  3. He wants a treat.

First, I point at the water bowl and ask if he wants water… at least 60% of the time this is it.

Second, I walk around the counter and towards the back door where the doggie door is located.  If he goes out, that was it.  (20% of the time)

Finally, we walk back to the counter and I put my hand on something… If he goes nuts… he was just working me for a treat.  So we do a little mini-training session and call it for the next few hours while he naps in his stroller.  Yes, I said it… he has a stroller.  He loves that thing, but that is a story for another time.

Some tell me it is early stages of CCD, but I’m happy to report that there is nothing else in his life that suggests this to be the case.  After all, you did read he is participating in the Karen Pryor Academy, right?  For those that don’t know what that is you can find out more information here.  Further, Yippie has always been a bit of a goof.  Someday I’ll have to write up a fun post about the day Yippie decided to play hide and seek without telling us.  (Boy I really do digress sometimes.)

My point is this, as our dogs age, we let them get away with certain things.  For me, it is allowing him to treat me like a human PEZ dispenser.  If he hadn’t spent the last 14 years of his life as a perfect angel, I might not be so inclined to let him treat me this way.  We often called him Stealth Dog, because you could forget he was there he was so quiet all the time.  We took him to outdoor restaurants and many times, the waiter would come up the third time, and say oh wow, “I didn’t even know he was here.”

So, when Yippie goes to the bar, I stop and pay attention.  I don’t know if its a request to pay attention to him, or if he truly is forgetting why he walked there in the first place.  I don’t really care.  He counts on this from me.  If I’m not there in a flash, he will prance in place… it’s funny… tippity, tippity, tip of toenails on the floor.  For in that moment, it’s our time at the bar!