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Charlie is gone

When I got home yesterday after work, Charlie was excited to see me. Unlike the last few days with him being somewhat distant, he stayed close to me and gave me kisses and, after he ate his dinner, he came up on my bed with me. While his head was laying in my lap, I patted and rubbed his head and ears and paws and told him that this was our last night together.

Charlie The Night Before Goodbye

Charlie The Night Before Goodbye

I cried quite a bit and talked to him. He seemed normal, hardly coughing. I questioned myself again on whether or not I was doing the right thing.

They showed up promptly at 9am.  I wasn’t ready.  I asked for five minutes.

Then they injected him to relax him and waited 10 minutes and then injected him with the final injection.  It took less than a minute after that and he took his last breath.

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I didn’t expect it all to go so fast.  Lucas and I cried the entire time.  Marcie was also there and it was so awesome that she took the time out to come by and say goodbye to Charlie.

After Charlie’s last breath, Lucas pressed his paw into clay so he could make a box for his ashes with his paw print on top.

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It is now 3pm and he has been gone for over five hours.  My head hurts and I cannot cry anymore today.

 

 

Hard Decisions

The vet called this morning about the results of the specialist looking at his x-rays. I didn’t expect anything to be different and I really know that he is at the end of his life, but hearing it made it more certain. His trachea is collapsing and he is dealing with a COPD type of issue that pretty much means end of life. It is not recommended that we let him die naturally as that will mean suffocating to death. I called the mobile euthanizing vet to come on Friday morning to end his life. The vet explained to me that this is the humane thing to do. I am confused why it is “humane” to end an animal’s life to prevent suffering, but NOT “humane” to end a human life to prevent suffering. This is where my reluctance comes from. I have witnessed a human taking the last breath, but it is not pretty and the days and months leading to it are hard on everyone…especially the dying human. Yet, we have no choice…it is the way. And with a pet, that is part of the family and considered just as important and loved as any human member of the family, why can we simply decide when that pet should take his last breath. Why is it that we get to play God or Mother Nature and decide that this furry family member has lived long enough? What doctrine in history or the beginning of time stated that we can forcefully end the life of certain creatures but not humans and label it a “humane act”?

Either way, it seems that Charlie is going to suffocate to death and that is considered to be such a terrible way to die that I should call it and take his life. Even though he and I just ate pizza together and he still eats and drinks and goes outside to enjoy a cool breeze and he still follows me around and seems to be happy at least some of the time. If it were a human, we would take all of that as signs that there is still a lot of life in the person. Yet, everyone keeps telling me that I am doing the “humane” thing by putting him out of his suffering and that he has lived a longer life than most dogs like him would have and that I should just release his soul and end his suffering.

It doesn’t seem that anyone else sees my point of view in this. Why is that?

Off The Bed… On The Bed

Charlie is dying. He is fifteen and a half years old. I guess that is about 110 in dog years. It is quite remarkable. This past month has been a series of downs and ups and downs. About a month ago he started coughing quite a bit, but still fine otherwise. I took him to the doggie doctor and we did x-rays. The cloud from his pneumonia six years ago was more pronounced and his heart was somewhat enlarged. These were all things that the doctor seemed to find normal for his age and such. Antibiotics were given and he began getting them each day. Then, on July 4th, my birthday, we had a get-together at the house. His cough was worse that day and his breathing had become crackly. People talked to me about the inevitable. I told them all that he would be fine…he is just settling into the anti-biotics and getting all that ick out of his system. On July 5th, I called the vet and asked her opinion. She suggested a different antibiotic. So that night, he started the new antibiotic. The next day, he was barely coughing, which was a great sign. However, the day after that, his coughing was worse. The vet said to give it a week. So today, we went to the vet again and did new x-rays. They were very concerned at the progression of the lungs and trachea in the new x-rays compared to those of a month ago. The fact that he is going to die within the next week became clear, and I cried many tears while a fantastic doggie doctor who really cares seemed to look for every possible way to help him. We decided together that the goal is to get him comfortable. He is going to die, that is a fact. It might even be today or tomorrow, but definitely within the next seven days. So we have some meds to keep him relaxed and comfortable. Charlie and I went home and I let him up on my bed with me and he put his head in my lap. I talked to him about the period of time when he first came to live with us and he was about three months old and he always wanted to be in my bed and I always told him to get down. Now, fifteen years later, I was so happy to have him in my bed, his head on my lap, reminiscing about all of the cool experiences he has had in his life. I cried so much talking about it all, knowing that his ears stopped working over a year ago and he probably cannot hear me, but maybe he could at least feel the vibrations of my voice as he lay in my lap. I had a jar of peanut butter and two spoons and he perked up as soon as I opened the jar and his sniffer caught the scent. We ate some spoons of peanut butter together and really had a nice time hanging out. I think he is the most amazing dog with a most amazing life and I am so grateful to have been a part of it for 15 years and for my boys to grow up with Charlie. He crossed this country from coast to coast twice; he put his feet in two oceans as well as the Gulf Of Mexico in every state that borders it; he slept with the boys and I on the beach in San Diego; he went camping several times and was the absolutely the most amazing camping dog; he went each year to find a Christmas Tree with us in the forest; he understood english better than many humans and, after his ears stopped working, he quickly learned lip reading and hand signals; he never left my side given the opportunity and always made sure he had me in his sights when we were anywhere; he had a thing for bread and we had to keep the loaves out of his reach; he knew right from wrong very well and always had that look on his face when I came home from work and he had done something wrong (like steal the loaf of bread off the counter); he got to jump on the trampoline with the boys; one of his first furry best friends was an adopted cat named Becky who came with the house we bought and taught Charlie many things; his second furry best friend was a dog named Shadow who’s human was my best friend Karl; both Becky and Shadow passed away years ago…Charlie The Bear Killer just kept going in spite of pneumonia in 2011 and getting recurring pneumonia symptoms year after year. But now he is nearly 16 years old and his body just isn’t strong enough anymore. He had a great run and is being tough now too. I wish he would let go because I have cried my eyes out, felt my heart break, and now I know that he just needs to fall asleep and when he lays here and looks at me with that look like I am the most important being in his world, I just keep trying to look back at him with assurance that it is ok and he can let go.

Charlie Waiting For Me

Each day when I come home, my 13 year old dog, Charlie, is so happy to see me. After I leave for work each morning, he patiently waits by the garage door for my return. Mom has been sending me photos of him waiting by the door for me to come back. One is from yesterday and one from today. Love him!

Charlie - Waiting At The Door

Charlie – Waiting At The Door

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Oh, no, not kittens!

Lucas brought a kitten home recently with the “can I keep her?” Smile on his face, and apparently, that kitten was already pregnant when he got her as she had babies today…this is the news I came home to after work! Ugh. Not quite what I anticipated for this evening.

Charlie and the Frog

Charlie and the Frog in a stare-down.

Charlie and the Frog in a stare-down

Charlie The Bear Killer is Six!

Our dog, Charlie, is the best dog ever and today is his birthday.

You can see his profile on dogster.com

Kittens!

I have been meaning to post this, but have been so busy with WhatsHappeningDaytona.com. Sammy, the cat, has had her kittens.  Check out the photos. Aren’t they cute?? They were born on June 26.

Charlie and Becky

A couple of good photos of our dog and cat

Charlie

Charlie, our new dog, has really become part of the family. Now that he has grown a bit and gotten very comfortable here, I have taken some pictures.

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