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My 7 year old female, spayed Boxer baby Bebe was diagnosed with lymphoma at the beginning of July. After several conversations with my vet, Bebe was put on steroids. Initially the swelling in her throat went down considerably and we were hopeful. However, after being weaned off the steroids, her throat swelling just became worse. So, back on the steroids - Presnisone, 20 mg/day - up to 30 mg/day. At our last visit about a month ago, the vet said she wanted me to give her the Tramadol she prescribed at night time, even if she doesn't appear to be in pain. Throughout her entire life, Bebe always seemed to be impervious to pain - one lone "yelp" when she got porcupined, then it was "just another day" the whole way to the vet and while waiting for treatment. She's done some incredibly "uncoordinated" things in her life that have made me almost cry, rushing to her aid thinking there would be blood or a bump, only to receive “Bebe slobber kisses” instead.

My point is, that the steroids are destroying her body. Her hunger is never satisfied. She looks more like the Goodyear Blimp than a Boxer. She pants almost constantly – which I thought would ease up once the weather got cooler, but didn’t. How can I even know if she’s just had enough?

Back in July, our vet said Bebe may only have about 4 to 6 months to live and made me aware of all the things to expect, i.e., incontinence, no appetite, etc. She peed on the kitchen floor twice in the last couple days, but nothing else has changed. She still shakes her little stubbie tail and greets me at the door every evening when I get home from work.

But a couple nights ago when we were sitting on the sofa together, something in her eyes was different.
Instead of having her head down, it was up and alert and staring at me. I know you will all understand when I say I had a nice talk with her that night. Bebe’s dad died of cancer not long after Christmas last year. He lived with my brother and sister-in-law on a huge farm and we visited almost every Sunday. Bebe and her dad spent the day running and chasing each other, racing to the pond and wrestling. Once when her dad had leg surgery, we hadn’t taken Bebe over for several months. Then they rescued an adult female and she and Bebe did not get along at all – in fact, Zeus would become aggressive with the new dog when he thought Bebe was being threatened. Unfortunately, Bebe didn’t get to see Zeus for almost a year. But when that day came, Bebe ran from our car, down the field, literally jumped on top of Zeus knocking him down on his back, pinned him down and proceeded to lick him from head to toe, crying the entire time. After Zeus passed, Bebe looked everywhere and cried for hours. So when I talked to her the other night, I asked her if she was ready to go see Zeus (and Peanut, a stray kitten who was badly in need of vet care, had kittens, lived her entire 9 lives in less than 9 months and was tragically killed). Bebe cocked her head and listened while I told her how much I loved her and told her all about when she was a puppy and all the shoes and cell phones and pillows she “stole”, about how much I never want her to suffer for any reason whatsoever. Something changed in her eyes. She listened very intently. And I believe she understood every single word I said.

While I have a myriad of health issues myself, along with losing my mother just over a year ago and now my oldest son is in jail – maybe for a very long time – how am I going to make the decision to save my baby’s soul from suffering? I have to be less selfish and do what’s right. But where do I find the strength?
 

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First, I want to extend my sympathy to you for what you're going through. I know that it's hard, and I know that you're grieving even though you haven't had to make that decision yet. I'm going through something similar with my dog, and I know we're near the end. The pain is debilitating, and it doesn't get easier unfortunately. I've sought advice from others who have gone through this, and they say that you will know when it's time. I believe your love for your pup will ultimately overcome your fear of losing her, because you don't want her to suffer. Bebe knows your love for her is immense, and a part of her will be with you forever, just as a part of you will be with her forever. To love deeply is to grieve deeply. I hope you find comfort in that you are not alone in what you are going through. There are so many kind people here who can offer support and advice if you need it.
 
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