Nani-Girl: Hard Decision

I just came back from the vet.

Nani-Girl looks and acts fabulous, like a dog who wasn’t sick at all.  But let’s be honest.  It’s the steroids.

How do we know she’s not doing well?  She’s popping blood, every 2-3 hours.  Her gums are pale so she may be anemic.  She walks around like nothing is wrong, she’s way more alert and wags her tail…BECAUSE of the steroids.

But the steroids can upset stomachs and it can cause ulcers.  It can cause other things too.

This was an experimental solution to the SARDS that was killing her.  Her SARDS will never go away, but steroids could extend her life…except continued use of steroids could also end her life in a different way.

On my last blog post I uploaded a video I had taken of her walking up the stairs and yesterday I had watched it a few times because I thought…wow…it looks like she’s walking up to heaven.  Seriously.  And I thought in the back of my mind, maybe it was a message, maybe it was a sign.

The blood in her stool is not a good sign.  It’s not a smear, it’s a POOL of blood around her stool.  In the last 2 days she’s pooped about 20 times all with blood.  I knew it couldn’t be good.

The past two nights Josh and I have been sleeping in separate rooms.  I sleep with Nani Girl so I can wake up every hour.  When she’s resting it’s only for about 5-10 minutes and then she walks around the bed, then she tries to jump off, so I let her down.  But I let her down and she wants ‘up’ again to be in my arms.  The cycle went on for 2 nights now.

Sky sleeps in the room with Josh but when Josh gets up at 6am she is whining at the bedroom door Nani and I are sleeping in.  Josh says all night she sleeps at the door waiting for me to come back to bed.    Sure enough when I finally decide to get up at 7am this morning, Sky was pacing at the bedroom door and when I let her out, she went straight for our bedroom and jumped on the bed.  She wants us in THAT bed…lol…she’s cute but so demanding.

So what’s it to be?  Dr. K was very honest with me.  Her last SARDS case, the owner of the dog had the time and money to give every possible care to the dog.  The owner brought the dog every day to the vet for fluids but the dog still died, by the time they had tried the steroids the dog had kidney failure.

Right now, the blood in Nani’s stool is a sign that the steroids may be too much for her.  Dr. K said the period after receiving the first steroid shot, it’s important to monitor how well the dog is tolerating the medication.  She’s not tolerating it very well it seems.  Her next shot is supposed to be Saturday.

So Dr. K asked me what I defined as quality of life.  I thought about that.  Nani doesn’t play with us or Sky, she goes on walks which is good, she doesn’t sleep anymore-she’s so amped up, when she’s in the house all she wants is food all day.  Then she tries and rests with me holding her, she seems to like that, but she liked that when she was very ill also.

On steroids this dog has tried to bite my hand because I wasn’t feeding her fast enough.  She was acting so crazy I had to crate her which made her more nuts! She also started a fight with Sky, so I do notice her changes in behavior.  She doesn’t take cues like “sit” or “stay” because she’s too focused on food.  Yet, she seems cute and alert so she gets lots of love from us-but it’s all because of the steroids.

Dr. K said what I am doing with the steroid treatment is extending her life.  But what kind of life?

They also weighed her and even though she ate like a pig these past few days, because of the diarrhea she’s lost weight still!  That is so frustrating, but that is the reality, isn’t it?  She will waste away on steroids or not on steroids.

I talked to Josh and he was upset about leaving her at the vet until Saturday.  Why for so long?  Because she needs fluids and I can’t keep cleaning bloody diarrhea off my floor every 2-3 hours.  I’m exhausted.  And they give her wonderful care at the vet.  It’s going to cost an arm and a leg for sure..another factor Dr. K was blunt about.  Testing, treatment and bringing her to the vet to monitor her costs A LOT.  

Saturday is supposed to be her next steroid dosage but Josh and I have decided this time to really put her down.  Josh was upset, thinking she’s be spending her last days at the vet.  So I said, okay, if he wants to bring her home, then he has to take a night shift caring for her because at some point I HAVE to sleep.  I really need to sleep.  I really need help with her!  She’s not only ravenous for food, she steps in her poop so I’m cleaning her constantly and the floor and the lawn!  Nani is crazy on steroids, I’m irritable because I’m not sleeping and Sky is scared because of my mood swings.

Josh knows he can’t do it, he is the one who goes to work for all of us, the guy needs his rest.  I don’t work right now, so it’s been mostly up to me to care for her.  And how much continued care can we afford when I’m not working and there is a wedding coming up?  (sigh) I’m pretty stressed out.  Yet I love my dog I don’t want to kill her!   If nature was going to take it’s course, she would have been gone by now….I’m keeping her alive and now the treatment I thought would alleviate her is causing her more damage.  I feel horrible because of it.  But I have also made my peace that I have done all I could…

Lately that dog needs to always be with me.  When I shower she’s at the tub peeking through the curtains, when she’s napping and I stand up to leave the room, she’s awake and following.  If I leave her outside, she barks so I can let her in-she takes comfort in me, but I can only do so much for her…

So Saturday we will go and say our goodbyes.  Josh feels guilty she’s at the vet, but I don’t feel that way.  I feel relieved.  I feel like they can take care of her better than I can.  When I see the blood, I get scared, I freak out, I know she’s dying and I can’t help alleviate her pain.  At the vet’s office, this is their job and they are great people, she is better there than with me right now.

Thank you all for following Nani’s journey the past month…it’s been a very wild one for me and Josh.  We thank you for the comforting words, your experiences with losing your own dogs, the positive messages.  So many people were pulling for her!!  It was great to know people cared! She’s lived an amazing life and she’s such a fighter that even with bloody diarrhea she doesn’t rest (good and bad there).  I’ll take comfort every time I watch the video of her “walking to heaven” 🙂

We will miss her very much but we have Sky who has been sorely neglected these past few weeks.  So we will recover and like I told Dr. K and Josh today, I won’t get another dog to replace her.  It’s hard caring for two dogs when just only one needs so much attention!  Josh wants a cat, so we’ll see.  I want to focus on Sky before getting another dog.

On the ride to the vet this morning she was restless (because of the steroids in her) but I had to keep her seated or else we’d get into an accident.  And as long as I kept my palm on her neck or head or snout, she would take a 1 minute nap (full on snoring!)on my hand! She did it every 5 minute or so…LOL…my Nani-Girl is sooooo exhausted…

I think it’s the only decent thing for me to do, it’s time for her to go to sleep.


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