This morning our Dachshund, Cinnamon, met her end. It was relatively peaceful and at the Vet. A sedative, then a barbitol.
She has had some kind of cancer, very large breast lumps and metastasized to other skin areas, for a few years. Very warm to the touch, they were metabolizing fast, and putting a strain on the kidneys. We had a blood panel done to see if surgery to remove the lumps was likely to work well. 2 markers for early stage kidney failure showed up. It would be 2 surgeries, one for each mammary chain on each side, with time in between for the skin to repair and fill in the missing segments.
Cinnamon was 2 months shy of 15 years old. Very old for a dog. We’d scheduled the surgery anyway. But over the month or so of waiting for the date to arrive, she had gotten worse. Occasional chin tremors. Sometimes the back legs didn’t stay under her. Beginning of incontinence and “accidents”. Mostly just wanted to sleep between eating sessions.
There were small pea sized lumps under her chest and neck skin, and who knows where all else. Surgery would not be curative, only reducing the tumor mass for quality of life for some months. Now we were not sure it would even improve quality of life. Looking at a major surgery, a month or two of recovery, then another one, and another recovery. Starts to be 1/2 year of absolute misery. For what? Maybe a couple of months after that?
In the last year she has become deaf, and cataracts are starting in both eyes. She still gets around, but follows the other dog for sound cues and her nose for other things. How bad would that be in another six months?
Then yesterday she woke up and looked at the spouse with, as the spouse describes it, an “I’m Done” look. Just tired of waking up a bit miserable. She still had her moments of joy, but they were now muted and ended in moments after the event was over.
It was clear we were thinking about our desires to keep her around, more than her desires to not hurt and not have issues.
So we called the Vet and changed surgery to euthanasia. That happened hours ago.
But before that – Doggy Bucket List
Somewhere along the line in the last year, I was being pestered for some of “What you have” while making toast. I decided to show them it was not interesting, just bread. My mistake. They both LOVED the bit of crust of buttered toast. So for a few months now I’ve let them have a couple of bites.
They also love cheese (but we had stopped most of the cheese snacks after hearing that it makes some dogs sneeze and wipe their face on the carpet – after which they sneezed less and stopped wiping their face on the carpet).
Well, 2 days ago I was making one of my favorites – a Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Yup, you guessed it. Cinnamon got to have a good bit of Grilled Cheese bits carefully cut to bite size.
OMG! TWO favorite things, combined, in a particularly wonderful way! Can you say “dance with joy”? But as soon as it was gone, the slightly pained look on the face & in the eyes returned. Still, it was definitely Bucket List Quality ;-)
I’d taken out the old couch and put it in the “dispose” pile. The dogs had been given occasional Couch Privileges if I was sitting on it. Complete with Big Blanky over all of us. For about 5 days I got “stink eye” from them as I was sitting in a dining table chair and no couch for them. About 4 days ago we brought in a “Love Seat” sized couch from storage. Never saw two dogs so full of joy and excitement at a bit of furniture. We’ve had 4 days of “snuggles on the couch with the Big Blanky” along with sporadic late time TV.
It was unlimited couch time…
Yesterday, we did a Long Last Walk. A few years ago, Cinnamon would go about a mile to a local park, and back. About 3/4 of the way back she would shift from “excited rate” to “stop and smell the roses” rate. Every stone, plant, pole, patch of dirt. Stop and sniff it. That indicated fatigue on her part. (The Malty-Poo liked to pull and set the pace as fast, especially early on.) Last year it was about 2 to 3 blocks and done.
This time I deliberately let it all be wherever her nose lead her and only at Her Rate (he could pull on me, the immovable…). We got to the end of the block and she had already shifted from “excited” to “smell the roses. The tour went roughly around the block, across a street, back, across to the other side of in front of our house, and 2 houses down (so she knew home was ‘just over there’). And she stopped. Turned around and looked toward the house and started that way slowly. My impression was “This has been great fun, but I’m tired and want my pillow now”.
We then had more Couch Time ;-) with snuggles.
Last Night, dinner was 3 Lamb Loin Chops, kibbled, and as much roast chicken kibbled as she wanted (about 1.5 thighs). (Normally it was only a little bit of kibbled trimmings on her commercial dog kibble. Last night it was 100% unlimited all treats all the time.
Then back to the couch… About 1 AM, they went to the front yard fenced area and got to do a “Midnight Bark” at some creature of the night. No reprimand this time. Bark all you want.
Somewhere along the way in the last 2 days were 3 or 4 full neck and back massages. (and what a back …) Plus the spouse was giving the twice daily string cheese treat (as the Malty Poo was getting a pill in one so she got one sans pill as balance ;-)
I spent from about 2 AM to 7 AM on the couch with a fully snuggled Cinnamon and Blanky. She snored, but softly ;-) She had a look of supreme contentment for a while. I think she actually smiled.
I can’t think of much else that would or could be on her Doggy Bucket List. Never a water dog, and nothing to hunt here. ( I suppose I could have gotten her a rat to chase, but not for a geriatric dog, I think…) A Last Long Walk, slowly. Bark at the moon and creatures of the night. Banquet Buffet. Unlimited couch, blanky and snuggles.
This morning was a roast chicken leftovers breakfast, then the trip to the Vet. A peaceful exit.
Cinnamon was named for her coat color. Cinnamon will be missed and remembered every time I open the spice cabinet or make lamb chops or roast chicken or have toast or a grilled cheese. I’ll be looking down for that expectant face full of impending joy…
So long Cinnamon. Hope the Bucket List was fulfilled.