Holding her own

The Wonder Husky is holding her own against lymphoma. It is slowly sapping her energy, and her breathing is sometimes harsh. The lymph nodes in her neck are becoming larger and harder, but it is not time yet.

She is eating canned cat food and peanut butter on dog biscuits. She no longer eats her regular chow. She enjoys walking along the fence sniffing the grass late at night and relaxing in her dog pen either in her husky hole or on her porch. At bedtime, I hide a pill in a lump of peanut butter so she will rest comfortably. She is not in pain.

People are too quick sometimes to end a pet’s life when a terminal diagnosis is made. There is a special dignity to caring for a sick pet. It is an honor for me to feed her by hand with soft food on a tongue depressor and seeing her relish her meal. I always enjoy watching animals eat. There is a certain loving closeness as I give my best dog friend nutrition of any kind.

Tipper will tell us when it is time. I thought I would help her go while Earl was in the hospital but Tipper really has been OK. Not great, but OK. I didn’t want to have to go to the hospital with her collar to show Earl. I haven’t been able to spend as much time with her during Earl’s hospitalization, but she has always enjoyed being alone in her dog pen or in her crate. The cats supervise her when she’s inside. It’s amazing to me how the cats know what is going on, especially Matthew, her special feline buddy.

Whenever an animal family member has been sick, I have been ready to euthanize it before Earl has. I have always waited, with two exceptions, until he has agreed that it is time. The two exceptions were when he was working in Denver, and I had to make a decision after consulting him long distance. The first was my cat, Pruney, the cat of my life, born at the end of my senior year in high school, and was found outside in a coma under a bush shortly after vet school graduation in 1987. The second was our first dog, Keli, who was comatose on a hot July evening in 1997. My classmate and neighbor helped me run blood work, then euthanize Keli under her favorite tree, which is where Tipper will go when it’s her time.

Earl is coming home from a tough hospitalization today. Tipper will be here to greet him. He will process her situation, and we will agree, with Tipper’s input, when it is time to send her to my friend Jean, whom I know is watching and will come to take her to a place with no illness, the Rainbow Bridge.

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