2018 wasn’t the best year on record – better than some. Worse than others. Until this week.
Anyone who uses Facebook has seen friends “sharing” their Facebook-generated “Your 2018” videos. Our “feeds” are full of them. We were kind of looking forward to our own popping up, until this week. This week 2018 went from a bit challenging to agonizing.
Teddy is gone
Hope’s 8-year-old French Bulldog, Teddy, died on Sunday. We were relaxing and watching television that evening. Teddy, as usual, was cuddled up next to Hope. He woke from his nap, panting and in distress. She ran with him to the emergency vet and learned that an unknown abdominal mass had ruptured and he was gravely ill. We couldn’t let him suffer and chose euthanasia.
A friend of ours told us: “Euthanasia is the last, best gift we give our pets. We take their pain and make it our own.” Teddy is free of pain. Ours is a throbbing behemoth.
Nothing stays the same
As everyone who’s lost a beloved pet knows – everything changes. Even with other animals in the house, everything’s different. And when you have multiple dogs, the dynamics of the family change.
As I (Hope) write this, we’re less than 48 hours without Teddy. Tango is sleeping more. Booker isn’t sure what to do with himself. Torque is unwilling to play. They’re not actively looking, but they know Teddy is missing.
Simon is barely four months old – a happy, clueless puppy. Thank goodness he’s here – we need to smile.
Beyond sad and unsettled, we also feel cheated, in an odd way. We’ve mentioned before that Teddy was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) early in the summer. It’s a fatal disease the takes away a dog’s ability to move, progressing from back to front. It’s caused by the same gene mutation responsible for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Hope had a plan in place to battle back against DM:
- Special diet
- Physical therapy exercises to replace nerve loss with muscle memory
- Cold laser
- Training games to keep him engaged, thinking, and happy
- Rear lift harness (pictured) purchased & ready when needed
- Pet stroller so Teddy would never be left behind
The best-laid plans
Now all of it’s useless. Teddy saw his vets last Friday for routine stuff, including a check-in to evaluate the progression of his disease. They were thrilled with how he was doing – still walking. Still happy. They even got Teddy kisses. Six months after DM diagnosis, most dogs are “down” in the back. Teddy was still mobile. They tell us they fully expected him to have at least a year, very possibly more, before the DM took over.
So we were winning the daily battle against DM. And now?
No enemy to fight
This will sound like a non-sequitur, but stay with us for a minute: Is anybody out there a fan of the Monkees? Or even remember them? We were huge fans when we were kids.
Remember the song “Zor and Zam?”
The last line keeps playing in my mind: “They gave a war, and nobody came. And nobody came.”