I was planning on writing about getting up early to try to catch the Perseids before dawn. Plans change.
We just had to put our dog Ginger down this evening. Despite seeming perfectly healthy when we left this morning (barring having stolen some food from Jodi’s work bag), her health extremely rapidly hit a crisis point after which there was pretty much no hope whatsoever. Earlier this afternoon, she suddenly collapsed and lost all bowel control, was extremely cold in her extremities with a blue tongue and purple gums, and was unable to stand or walk without assistance. My sister called me when this happened, and I rushed home. After some brief deliberation, I carried her into the car as she continued to breathe laboriously and void her bowels. Jodi met us at the vet’s.
When she was examined, we discovered that she had experienced a total circulatory collapse, probably due to a heart attack or something along those lines. Being part Nova Scotia Duck Toller, she had developed a very large growth in her chest as is their tendency, that attached to her heart and was flattening her lungs. Her heart was also very enlarged, probably from years of having to function with this large mass on it. For two hours the vets tried to improve her circulation to no avail.
Our only option to try to save her was to attempt to keep her alive through the night, in pain probably close to having a constant mild heart attack, while waiting for a vet from Halifax to examine the x-rays and verify a diagnosis of cancer, then thereafter determine whether operation was feasible (which the prognosis was extraordinarily dim). We had to make the decision that euthanasia would be the most humane course of action. There was very little likelihood the vets would have been able to keep her alive through the night, and she probably wouldn’t have survived the attempt to get her to Halifax ourselves to get to the specialist even if she had made it. Even assuming she survived all that, there was very very little that could have been done except in an absolute best case scenario.
Jodi had taken her in when she was 14, and Ginger was only a year old. The poor dog had been abused by her previous owners, and Jodi, her sister and her mother had rescued her. Ginger died tonight, at eleven years and two months old. I only knew her for her last four years, but I can tell you that despite her socialization problems resulting from her having been abused, she was really a good dog.
At the risk of being your average schmoopy blog tribute, I sort of felt the need to write this. When Mark and Sara visited to console us, I got my first moment of obvious absence when they knocked and Ginger didn’t jump up to roar at the door as she usually does. I suspect I’ll have a few of those moments over the coming weeks.