Bye Bye Buddy

My dog Buddy has his ticket to the Big Doggy Park in the Sky. The vet and I decided this morning that it is time. He’s not really Buddy anymore, just kind of a walking canine vegetable, senile, not eating, having seizures and falling down all the time. When I let him outside he just kind of paces the yard in a trance until he falls down and can’t get up. It’s painful to watch.

I am not sad when pets die. I am sad when they suffer before they die. So that’s why it’s time for Buddy to take the Big Sleep. He doesn’t have any quality of life left.

I adopted Buddy, a lab mix (with probably shepherd, given his gamey joints), from the pound when he was one year old, along with another stray female dog named Ginger (a shepherd mix who died in 2007 of Kong Ball indigestion).

Once I tamed the “bite” out of Buddy, he was a pretty chill dog. He had zero interest in chasing balls, totally ignored other dogs, and loved to sneak food off the kitchen counter when no one was looking (I never could tame that out of him).

He had a great life and he is basically dying of old age at 15 (105 in dog years). You can’t really do much better than that with a pet, unless you have a Galapagos Tortoise or something that lives to be like 200 years old. I don’t believe in Heaven, but if I’m wrong, then Buddy will be reunited with Ginger, so he’ll know someone up there. I prefer to believe Buddy will be transported through time/space to a universe ruled by canines and he will helm a starship that does battle with the evil Felines of Catnipius 5.

So if you were touched by Buddy, pay him a little mental tribute in your own way, but don’t worry about me. I’m good with the decision. It’s the right thing and the right time. I don’t know what my other dog, Foster, thinks of all this. He and Buddy never were that close, they just kind of tolerated each other. But Foster does seem a bit subdued and has lost his appetite of late. I think that is more because he senses my stress, not because he knows what’s going on with Buddy. But who the hell knows?

If anyone wants to see Buddy before he goes, my friend Sherry and I will be paying last respects in my back yard around 12:30 today before I take him to the vet sometime this afternoon, barring some kind of miraculous recovery on Buddy’s part.

Thanks for all the supportive thoughts and well wishes. HUGZ!


Ireland and Things

I booked my August flight to Ireland today. My RAGBRAI bike team will be there for a week, flying into Dublin and then biking around Killarney and Gallway. I have never been to Ireland, much less biked around it, so I am super excited to be doing two of my favorite things – biking and international travel – and also writing about it (a third favorite thing). We have a basic itinerary sketched out but still need to coordinate bike rentals and lodging and things, as well as transportation between the cities of interest. Fantastic.


An Update on Buddy

I took Buddy to the vet this morning for observation. He’s having another episode of dementia with associated micro-seizures, where he kind of pauses…trembles…and then falls over. He gets right back up a few seconds later, but the vet says it might be neurological.

I thought the Cushing’s disease drugs were working, because Buddy seemed to return to normalcy once he started on them a few weeks ago, after his first episode of dementia and seizures. But this recent episode was a total relapse, suggesting the neurological stuff isn’t related to Cushing’s and that’s not great news for Buddy.

He is staying overnight at the kennel tonight and they are going to retest him for the Cushing’s tomorrow, because I guess this test takes the better part of a day to conduct. We might also start him on a month’s regimen of an anti-epileptic drug to see if his seizures improve.

Buddy’s eyesight seems to fail when he has these episodes. So he’ll wander into walls and house plants and things. When he is out in the yard, he will sometimes get trapped inside the rabbit fencing of the garden or behind the rock next to the compost pile and not know how to get out. Kind of sad. The thing is, after this happened the last time, he seemed to make a full recovery and I thought the Cushing’s drug was working for him. So the fact that he had another acute episode suggests that either the drugs aren’t working anymore, or the neurological stuff is not due to Cushing’s at all.

He definitely has Cushing’s though, because he tested positive for that the last time this happened. If the new drugs don’t help, I think Buddy may be headed for the BIG SLEEP, because his quality of life would not be good. There’s no sense keeping an animal alive if it’s just basically a retarded walking vegetable. I think Buddy kind of wants to die, in a weird way. He has stopped eating the last couple days and now when he goes outside, he just plops down on the grass and seems to have no will to live or do anything. I have to crate him when he is inside, because he seems to have also forgotten that he is house trained and will whizz on the floor. He’ll whizz in his crate too, if he has to go bad enough. But it’s easier to clean up the crate bed than the floor of my house. I line the bed with a beach towel and some canine pee pads that absorb up to five times their weight or volume in water or something.

I am trying not to stress out too much, but this is putting a crimp on my ability to bike commute because I have to go home at lunch to let Buddy outside, and I would not have enough time if I biked. I am adapting though. Today, I did not bike commute, but I got in a 3.2 mile (5K) power walk over lunch. I also resisted free cake at work. CostCo cake no less…delicious stuff…but I defeated the temptation demon handily and ate a tuna sandwich instead (probably had about the same calories as a small piece of cake, but healthier, because it’s fish!). Tomorrow, I fully plan to bike commute, at least in the AM, though I may have to go home at lunch to get my car, so I can pick Buddy up after work. I am on a fitness challenge to lose my winter weight and be ready for summer fun by Memorial Weekend.