Sunday, November 29, 2009

Callie Anne: Nov., 2002 - Nov., 2009

Sadly, she is gone.  Callie had a life that was far too short for an Aussie.  She was loved as much as any dog who ever lived.  I was lucky to be able to share her life with her, from 9 weeks to the end, almost exactly seven years.  While I regret that I did not make more time for agility, which she absolutely loved and which was a joy to do with her, and I regret that I worked too much and did not play enough tug of war or take enough walks with her, I know that she had a happy life with me.  She made my life far better.  Learning to live without her will be one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

Her brain tumor and cyst were killing her. Her quality of life became unacceptable, little by little. I could not justify making her go through brain surgery or radiation, spending many of her final days with medical procedures, risking becoming worse off instead of temporarily better. She was already uncomfortable. She'd been through enough.  In her final days she became more and more limited.  She could not get in and out of the car, up and down the stairs, she could not clean herself or keep her balance.  She could not run around and play, or even drink easily.  She was dizzy a lot and needed to lay still.  She had six medications a day to try and keep her going and reasonably comfortable.  She was hungry, thirsty and irritable from her meds.  She had some pain and some dizziness. She still loved being with me. She remained mentally alert, eager for treats, and longing for attention.  Given everything she had going on, she even remained in a good mood.

The kindest thing I could do for her was to chose to let her go, before things got worse, which was inevitable. I wanted her to go to sleep at home, after a good meal, in the arms of her parents, and not not in the middle of a seizure, on an operating table, or after struggling through more IVs and medical procedures.

The most the doctors could have done was postpone things a bit. The tumor itself was inoperable. The end was grim - one day she'd lose balance and be spinning and dizzy and unable to walk and panic stricken. We may have been able to buy her more time, maybe even a couple of years, but the tumor would have gotten her in the end, and in the interim she would have to go through a lot of medical procedures and endure a lot of hardship and there would be a lot of risk - she could end up worse off, not better.  I would rather the end be peaceful. I could have hung on longer, but it would have been for me, not for her.  She won't know the difference.  She has been uncomfortable, and coping and adapting to more losses every day, and now that is over.

Although I will mourn her loss forever, I will also always be happy and grateful we shared one another's lives.  She was the smartest dog I ever met.  I could not have asked for more.

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