Our dogs are not considered our pets. Our dogs are integral parts of our family. For many years while we were battling infertility it was our “fur babies” that got us through the devastating times we were faced with and I often buried my face into my girls fur and cried tears of desperation…
Thing is, our girls are old now. We’ve been privileged to have them in our hearts and home for thirteen amazing years… and whilst our little Jazz (the energizer jack russel) is still going strong, our beautiful golden lab Saff’s is…. not. In the past few months we’ve noticed that she is steadily deteriorating in terms of her range of movement. She is much stiffer when she gets up from a sitting or lying position and she has started losing control of her bowels in the house. Like a toddler learning to potty train it’s almost like she feels the sensation too late and then “whoopsie” out pop the poops.
We took her to our vet two months ago to get her accessed. Our vet absolutely agrees with us that Saff’s has deteriorated but what really threw me was that when we did hip and spine x-rays her bones are still in good shape. Her blood tests and liver enzyme tests all came back normal. Our vet suspected from the get go that it was neurological but to have this substantiated it would mean an MRI which is VERY costly. Now don’t get me wrong I am prepared to spend money on my pets but when faced with a bill of over 8.5 grand for a very old dog (Labradors have a maximum expected life span of 14 – 15 years) combined with a diagnosis that would probably result in a costly operation (20K +) which might or might not add any time to her life span we were at a cross roads as to what to do. In the end we decided to try to see if medication would assist her in feeling more comfortable and ease the stiffness.
After a month of the meds we had not seen any remarkable difference in our beautiful girl. Chatting to family didn’t really help because they don’t get how close we are to our animals. They all recommended putting her down but it just didn’t feel right to me. How on earth could I make this decision? Especially since “she wasn’t THAT bad”.
A close friend who works in animal rescue suggested a second opinion at an animal hospital that she uses for her rescue dogs. She also told us that the vets there would be quite clear about whether it was time or not to make the hard choice for our beautiful Saffs.
The appointment was three weeks ago.
I cannot tell you how relieved we are to have seen an amazing vet who was practical, caring and who was very honest about how to proceed. The 2nd opinion vet concurred that the issue with our girl was neurological, she also felt that having the MRI and the operation would be a waste of time and energy and may actually make our girl worse. She has suggested different meds and has also told us that whilst our Saff is in pain and is battling that the time to euthanize is not here yet.
I cannot wrap my head around having to say goodbye to this sweet girl who has filled our home with helicopter tail wags, and the most incredibly soft brown eyes for the last 13 years.
I am SO glad that for now we get to have her in our family for a while longer, Because I cannot say goodbye.