“I think she’s going to live another year!” I told my friend as we set off on a little walk with Katie, our 18 year old Corgi mix who had been slowing down and dealing with some health issues of late.
I even said it with full confidence because she was so full of vitality at that moment, albeit a moment that was becoming much less frequent.
“She’s like a puppy! But you never know with old dogs, they can be so up and down from day to day,” said my wise and experienced friend.
Katie was my first dog.
Sure enough, in less than 24 hours after that walk, we had to say goodbye to Katie forever.
Last Monday, before it all went down, I was getting her ready for our usual afternoon walk, but she didn’t get up as easily. Her hind legs would not move the way she wanted them to. She showed signs and symptoms of someone who just had a stroke – disoriented and weak.
I looked around the room and saw a pool of her saliva nearby. It was a telltale sign that she just had another seizure – the second one since the first three months back.
She eventually got up, walked to her water bowl and drank. She seemed up for the walk, so off we went. I made a note to myself to make sure that she took her seizure medications properly that evening.
About a block into the stroll, she stopped, and started to shake. I carried her back and within a few minutes, we were in the car on the way to the vet.
She seized continuously until she received intravenous medicines. The vet eventually shared some news and recommendations.
You have three options, she said:
- Katie can stay here overnight and get some imaging and see a specialist tomorrow
- Katie can go home with you with medications and instructions.
- She could receive euthanasia this evening if you are ready for that.
We all agreed to say no to #1 and #3. We were not ready.
When she was okay enough, we got her into the car heading home. She seemed sedated, and tired, but not seizing for the moment.
The moment was short-lived. Within a few minutes of the ride home, she went from sort of okay to not okay.
I have heard cat cries that sound like human (babies) before. I didn’t realize that dogs can also create human-like moans.
Katie’s moans were loud, distracting and terribly concerning. She was clearly suffering with a more intense seizure now. At this point, there was little doubt that she was asking for help and all I could do was to get her back to the vet as soon as possible.
By the time the vet took her back in again, it was obvious that she was ready for us to say goodbye.
The vet managed to transform the moans into whimpers. We gathered around her as she slipped away. I stared into her scared eyes as the whimpers got quieter and quieter.
Before there was just silence, we managed to tell her one more time that we loved her.
I managed one more time to thank her for all that she gave us.
Especially for all that she gave me.
Thank you, Katie, for changing my life in ways that I could not have imagined – ways that you would not even know.
You will always be one of the best teachers and personal trainers I was so so so lucky to have.
We love you.