A Sad Day

Eldorado Arts publishes a line of veterinary client cards. Greeting cards and check-up reminder cards.

And there is one, with a sentiment, that says volumes.

"In their short lives
our pets give us all they can . . .
their friendship, unselfish love,
and total loyalty.

There comes a time
when we must give back to them . . .
their freedom, their peace,
and their dignity. "

I had to keep reminding myself that as I had to say goodbye to Mr. Jethro on Friday night.

I did consider not posting this on my blog. I am not emailing this post out like with some posts. No one likes reading sad news. It's the same issue that every pet owner has to deal with, and I'm no different. But there are a few clients who read my blog, and when they come in they are going to know that something is amiss. And the less questions I have to answers, the less I have to explain, probably the better for me, and the faster I can get over all this. That's why I am posting this here.

Before Jethro, there was Jezabelle.

The sweetest little pit bull mix picked up by the pound truck. I almost put her to sleep when the pound brought her in, as I was told to. But she went through a few owners, and came back to the hospital. So, I took that as a sign that it was meant to be.

I had to put her to sleep back in 1999. And I said then,"I think I can only officially have 1 dog at a time, as I can only put one to sleep every 10-15 years."
While the cats live at the hospital, there was a dog named Judy who lived there for awhile, and Daisy has been there for 3 years, I officially had 1 dog. And when I said 10-15, I really meant the 15 part. :)

And just so you know, I don't have a thing about names that start with a J. That's just how it worked out. Jethro's name was originally Bandit when he was a thrown away parvo puppy tied to a tree. But that didn't suit him. Jethro fit him to a T. He looked like a Jethro. He had the "smarts" like a Jethro.

So if you have been following along, Jethro was diagnosed with bladder cancer, transitional cell carcinoma, back in March. It's an inoperable location, through the neck of his bladder, down past the prostate and urethra, and treatment was an option- a daily of NSAIDs and a dose of chemotherapy every 3-4 weeks.
And that was fine. Jethro felt better from the NSAIDs, chemo didn't seem to bother him, he ate better and gained some weight. Eventually the tumor would probably grow and block his urethra sending him into kidney failure, but he was fine for the moment.

One chemo treatment to start with. Fine. Second chemo treatment went fine. I did the 3rd one myself here at the office, since the other 2 seemed okay and well tolerated.
I had a trip planned to an art show in Las Vegas. Leaving May 30 and returning June 3rd.

Monday night before I was to leave on Sat, he seemed painful while getting up. Tuesday was the same. He cried if you started to pet his head, but not everytime. He went back to the oncologist on Wednesday, to ultrasound his bladder, and to see if they could figure out what was making him painful. They looked at him, the neurologists looked at him, shot radiographs of his neck. The ultrasound showed that the tumor was about the same size, no bigger, no smaller. But they couldn't determine what was making him painful exactly, since it wasn't consistent.

They put him on pain meds, along with his other meds, and he seemed a little better on Thursday and Friday. I still was not sure if I was leaving town or not, until late Friday night. Since he was doing better, I went on my trip.

And he got worse on Saturday. The people looking after him got him back to the oncologist on Saturday night, they changed his meds and added another pain med. He was a little better on Monday, Tuesday, but it was his neck that was really giving him issues for some reason. I picked him up on Wednesay morning (June 3rd) after flying back from Las Vegas on the red eye flight back to Atlanta. (note- don't fly that flight unless it's absolutely necessary. There's a reason they call it they red eye.)

He got his 4th chemo treatment on June 6th. And his neck seemed a little better since he was heavily sedated for that and slept most of the afternoon.

There were 2 possible explanations for his neck pain. Either he injured it somehow, like a herniated disc, or he has a metastatic lesion there, either in the spinal canal or in the bone, from the bladder tumor. A neck injury might get better with cage rest, prednisone, and pain meds. A MRI would have been helpful to differentiate between the two, but they are $1500-2000.

While the pain meds helped his pain some, he still wasn't his old self and it became a quality of life issue. I even had his neck lasered twice to see if that would alleviate some of his discomfort in his neck. Not only was his neck sore, but now his back. Here was a dog that loved to go for a ride if he heard car keys rattling. Not anymore, he preferred to stay snuggled up on his bed. Used to dance around the office when certain clients or patients came in. Not anymore. So I knew he felt worse than he was letting on. And no amount of pain meds was going to change that.

So on Friday after work, I realized that I had to not be selfish and not let him suffer any longer. I gave him a shot of telazol, and sat with him while he drifted off into a surgical plane of anesthesia, before giving him euthanasia solution.

It's not an easy decision for anyone to make, and sometimes I have to help clients decide when it's time with their own pets. And sitting here, typing out this post, even after the fact, does make me feel better knowing it was the right thing to do.

Dear Jethro,
While I will miss you, I won't forget you. Thanks for hanging out with me for the past 9 1/2 years or so. Tell Ms. Jezabelle I said Hello.


jodie nicholson said...

Andy, I'm so sorry you had to say goodbye to Jethro. My thoughts are with you.

Sweet Olive Press | Helen Evans said...

Andy, I'm so, so sorry. I can't think what to say. I'm thinking of you, and I'm thinking of Jethro in a happy place.

Maureen A. Girard said...

Andy, I am so sorry. Goodbyes are so very hard. Jethro was blessed to have found you.

Anna Laura said...

I'm thinking about you Andy, and I am sure Jethro is in a happy place and it sounds like he was a very lucky dog to have found you.

Sherry said...

So sorry, Andy. How fortunate you both were to have so much time together. I'm sure it doesn't make it easier right now. I'll be thnking about you.

mollie jones said...

You're just like the rest of us Andy...a true pet lover...and you did your very best to help Jethro. He had a wonderful life with you, and you must remember that. Our pets become our little family and it's always hard to give them up. My hubby and I are blessed with long lived pets out here in our country life..I mean cats of 15-17 yrs and dogs of almost the same. We can always look back and see what joy they bring to us and this is what you will do too. So sorry that he is gone.

Mishkat said...

Andy, I am so sorry to hear about Jethro. That's such a hard decision to make (I think you made the right decision, though). And I know it must have been difficult to write this post. Sending lots of good thoughts your way.

NAL said...

Hi Andy!

You made the right decision - so sorry you have to go through this.


CarolChretien said... sorry. Nothing wonderfully helpful to add...I know how you are feeling. Thanks for letting us know. Jethro is in the best of company.

Gerry said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Andy. You and Jethro had some good years together, so I hope you find solace in that.--Gerry

Revelle said...

So sorry for your loss. Sounds like you made the right decision. It''s so hard. Had to put my old German Shepherd, Shadow, to sleep 2 years ago, she was 14. Very old for a shepherd.
Since then I waited a year, then got a new shepherd, named her Cleopatra, and still call her Shadow half the time! I do miss Shadow so much, but getting Cleo at 7 weeks and training her from a pup, has been pure joy. I think we should practice balancing sorrow with joy when we can, to get through this life with some semblance of sanity in the end.

ImagineMDD said...

Sorry to hear of your loss. You made a huge kind, unselfish and very hard decision in the interest of a dear friend. Many of us go through something like this, perhaps more than once in our lives, but it never gets easier and we never forget the relationships. You were lucky to have had the time together and, as a fellow pet lover, I wish you well.

Nancy and the fatties said...

Andy, I'm so sorry to hear you have lost such a dear friend and companion. Your love for Jethro shines through and that is such a tough decision to make. I lost my little wiggley pug last year to illness and it was such a hard thing. Thank you for your blog posts - I just found you and want to say hello from a fellow animal lover, artist and someone who worked in veterinary publishing for much of my career!

kibbles said...

Andy, so sorry to hear of Jethro. I do know that he had a happy life with you.

I lost my Maxie(also TCC)in April, 7 months after diagnosis.

I understand the "one dog at a time" theory, as I lost 3 in a 9 month span. Time dulls the pain.



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