Yesterday I wasn’t ready to make the decision that Aaron and I came to this morning. When we got up this morning Lucy had not gotten better. On the contrary, she had gotten worse. She was unable to bring herself to the sitting position and unable to drag herself from her bed. She couldn’t even get herself turned around. The extent of her movement was to go from lying on her side to lying on her chest.
Last night she did have a bowel movement, but it was done as she was lying down. She still hadn’t urinated as of this morning though (48 hours). Aaron and I decided to slide her out to the porch and try to put a little pressure on her bladder to help her. Once again, we used towels to try getting her up. Not only was there no strength in her back end, there was none in her front. My husband grabbed her back foot to move it (a no, no yesterday), and there was no response at all. And still, she had not urinated. We believe that there was some loss of feeling somewhere, somehow.
After losing Roxie almost a year ago, Aaron and I knew we had to make a few guidelines about the final days of our future pets. One of those had to do with mobility. If any of our dogs got to the point that they could not use the bathroom on their own, that, for us, is a a huge sign that a dog shouldn’t have to suffer any longer. Of course, that alone did not determine today’s decision. Through tears, we discussed all the possibilities of what could be wrong with Lucy – an injury, cancer, arthritis, tumors, a stroke, etc. Should we wait to find out exactly what is causing the problems? How would that be determined? What would treatment look like if it was x, y, or z? What it boiled down to is this: Lucy is 7 years old. That is an old age for a Great Dane (life expectancy is 8-10 years). Most of the problems above would require an operation of one kind or another, on a dog with a heart murmur. If she survived the operation, and it extended her life, it would probably only be for another year, a year that would be spent recovering from the surgery. If it is something like arthritis, it is doubtful that we could return her to a life of full independent motion. In the end, we felt that the best option for Lucy was to give her rest.
We called a vet out to the house, and was able to provide Lucy with a calm, relaxing, stress-free passing with her family cradling her head and giving her all the love we could as she passed. Of all the dogs we have lost, we feel that Lucy was at peace more than any of them, and that gives us peace. Our house feels empty without her, but with the love she gave and all she has taught us, her memory will forever be a blessing.
Thank you all for your prayers, your words of encouragement, and for sharing your experiences with us. We are touched that you would reach out to us in this time.