Monday, May 14, 2007

Love my dog, love my dog

Here is a picture of my dog Cosmo. He is ill and it is going to cost quite a few dollars to make him well. I don't have the money, but I can make it. The situation is this; I know people who also need money and the amount that I am paying for the medicine Cosmo needs would be a big help to them as well. This is a problem of ethics. Does the life of a companion animal require anything besides giving it food, water and a warm place to sleep? This would not be an issue for most adults. If the animal was down with an expensive illness especially when he is > 10yrs of age, lots of people would, have him put down, shoot him or maybe just abandon he to the wilds or the pound. I can't do that. You can see that there are two of us in the picture and both could fit the definition the dog. We love each other, we are concerned when the other goes missing; if I were to start walking, Cosmo would follow and not turn back. I would do the same. Cosmo is not dull. He speaks his needs
If he is low on water, he has a sound for it; Hungry, he has another. He knows I like to walk in the night, so I am not seen, he waits till the dark before getting his lead, and so on. He is my companion and has been since I became disabled. I say that he will do these things because he does them every day; even when he is sick. Me, I try to get out of stuff when I feel bad. I do not know exactly when I came to feel compassion for all life. Maybe I caught it in Vietnam; lots of that sort of thing there among the Buddhist and Animist. Also, I have some experience in dealing with the bad and sad parts of life, and while there, I was not blind to the pleasure that a good dog can give. Cats too. Cosmo will live until he has to die. I'll see to it by making my own sacrifices and no other person will suffer. You may love whomever you wish too.

1 comment:

ElfNino's Mom said...

Hiya, Texino. How are you, my good friend?

Great blog post. I have a very sick dog also (a rescue dog, Li'l Bit, a beagle) who I can't bear to put down. Like your Cosmo, this little dog - in the mere 1.5 years I've had her, when we rescued her from certain death on a highway - has managed to capture my heart with her undying devotion. She knows my habits, and she adjusts her life accordingly. Every time I look at her, it breaks my heart because I've been told by pretty much everybody to "put her down", but I just can't.

On the one hand she is very arthritic and in bad shape orthopedically, because whoever had her before was extremely cruel to her, to the point of breaking bones on this poor little dog. Sometimes it's hard for her to get around, but at the same time she's very small so when she's having a particularly difficult day, I can just pick her up and carry her where she needs to go. She still enjoys eating quite a bit, can never pass up a cool drink of water, and she absolutely loves a good butt scratch.

As long as she can enjoy some things in life, my convenience and finances are a secondary issue. I just want to give her a good life while I can, to make up for the monstrous human who had her before. She appreciates it, too, and I can see it in her eyes that she loves me and trusts me unconditionally. No matter how hard it is for her to walk, she follows me wherever I go, and wags her little tail in happiness at just being near me. Luckily, I don't move around much since the car wreck, which makes it a lot easier on her. Mostly she sits on the bed or sofa with me, and sleeps.

Of course I also have Sadie, the 16-year-old Cocker Spaniel. She's kind of my stepdog, I guess. She is in chronic kidney failure and has congestive heart failure, so when her illness starts making her sick, we give her subcutaneous infusions of saline here at home before it gets too bad, since we don't want her to be in a vet hospital, since she's not used to being in strange places alone. I wouldn't want that for myself, if I was really sick, and I don't want her to die with strangers in a strange place. The infusions flush out her kidneys, and in a day or so she's back to her old self. It doesn't seem to bother her to get the IVs, and of course she takes Lasix 2x day for the heart failure. She also had a giant tumor which the vets said couldn't be removed, but I kept looking until I found one who'd do it because it was making her miserable. It was removed, and within a couple of days she was fine, and running like a puppy again. I don't regret spending that money at all, and I'm glad I didn't listen to the vets who told me to just "put her down" instead.

Now, I had to "put down" my old doberman, Duchess, a few years back because she had leukemia. I loved that dog like she was one of my children. I put it off, though, because like Li'l Bit she had a very good life, and was extremely spoiled. Eventually she began to hemorrhage internally, and then it was done to keep her from suffering. That's the only way I can bring myself to "put down" an animal, to keep them from suffering when there is no doubt that they are going to die soon and no one can save them.

In fact, I have three dogs, and only one of them is truly healthy, and he's only about 2 years old. That's my Rottweiler, Napoleon. He's like a teenager, and he's extremely protective over the old dogs, and even waits to make sure they get inside or outside okay. Obviously, he's a very good dog, very sweet and loyal and well-behaved. He was a rescue dog also. We got him when he was a pup. His original owner ran a meth house, and the cops were going to put him down just because his old owner was a criminal. I agreed to take him, and I've not regretted it.

Maybe I'm wrong to not euthanize those old dogs, I don't know. I know I worry about whether I am doing the right thing. Or is there a right thing at all, when it comes to animals, as long as one is treating them with love and compassion? I don't know. I wish I did. For now, I follow my heart and instincts, and I think you are right to do the same thing.