An Interuption to the Stones…

(No Small Stone today… I need to write about what is going on here.)

Our dog Gracie has had some health challenges in the past 3 weeks. One day she was her fine, jumpy, silly self – although clearly she has been aging. Then I came home from work and found her almost unable to walk. She was frightened and in pain.

After a night at the Vet ER, I picked her up and we were optimistic. She spent that next day at our vet’s office and then I took her home. We live in the 1970’s style house o’ stairs. There are 4 that go from the foyer to the living room, and on the foyer level, but in the family room, there are another 4 that come up into the kitchen. Another slightly longer staircase goes up from the living room to the bedrooms.

In any event, the stairs were off limits as were the love seats in the family room. She was not too happy about that. Worse yet was that she needed to be crated if unattended. Mark was off from work, so this was not too hard to manage and she had a lot of care and company.

There were days, December 31 being one of them, where she really rebounded and seemed to be headed back to normalcy. Please don’t even ask me about January 1, which was one of her worst days. So her healing was inconsistent.

Then January 3 came and the combination of either Mark, Erica or me being home came to a halt and Gracie would be alone a lot. A kind and generous neighbor helps, as did my friend’s college age daughter, when we needed some extra check-ins. Part of the challenge includes a lot of urination, due to the medication, so she really needs someone to take her out every few hours.

We were able to set up an area in the family room, using various items, so that she was blocked from the stairs, and we took the pillows off of the love seats so that she could not jump up.

Her appetite has never left her and she has been getting lots of treats, not to mention a seemingly endless supply of hot dog pieces or cheese. That’s how the medicine goes down! At dinnertime she is ready to eat – always. Gracie had been a stray once and she has that chow-down point of view about food!

Well – that’s all well and good, but she has continued to lose weight. And her bad days are outnumbering her better ones. (Only December 30 can be qualified as the one really good day.)

It does not appear that she is in pain, but she is so tired all the time. And not so steady on her legs. This is very hard to watch – especially when I think of how she was still doing what I called her “Snoopy dance” when she heard me getting her food at mealtime.

Then there is the latest development… Um, well – she has become a little bit incontinent. Now there’s the thing, is a little bit OK? No. Probably not. A quick re-do has her crate and so forth in the foyer. Tile – you know, it is easier to clean up. A professional carpet cleaner will need to be called for the family room however.

If you ask me, I look in her eyes and think that it is time. She just looks at me with a lot of love, but she is not the same dog.

We have only had Gracie for 3 years and 3 months. She was a stray and who really knows how old she is. I will tell you that this has aged her – and if I am honest, she was slowing down before this happened.

If we had tried the homeopathic/acupuncture route on December 21 when this all started, it might be different. However, I’m not sure that it would be at this time – and I am a big believer in those things for humans and animals.

So will today be the day? Maybe. Mark and I are in disagreement about this. He and I look at death very differently. Erica – at 15, I think that she does not know what to think. We are all still mourning the loss of Olga in March. (Mark’s sister; she died from ovarian cancer.) We all look at death differently, as I already said. That is all I will say about that right now.

Anyway, this is what I had to write about today. Maybe I will have some other post or Small Stone later or tomorrow. Who knows what today will bring.


19 thoughts on “An Interuption to the Stones…

  1. Oh Fran, I can totally empathize. We were in a similar situation with Tasha in 2011. It’s such a hard place to be in. In our case, we finally realized we were keeping her alive for our sakes rather than hers. Just didn’t want to let her go. Whatever you decide, it will be fine. Give her a hug for me.


  2. Fran, I will be praying for you all during this time. These are difficult decisions, and a microcosm of what it is like for similar, but not quite identical, decisions with our loved ones near the end of their lives. You have all been through Olga’s death; it is rather likely some of the same feelings and attitudes will emerge in subtle ways and some “unfinished business” from Olga. Just make sure everyone is talking about Gracie, not Olga. It might get a little muddy in spots.

    Oh, and I am not surprised you are the “dog pragmatist” in the family. When Eddie was so sick a few days ago, I was already saying to myself, “If you don’t eat and drink, Eddie, and your kidneys start to fail, it’s not fair to you for me to be doing expensive stuff for you to be outside all day with Boomie, but separated from him, while I am at work.” I really believe that when one of my dogs exits the picture, it is as it should be, because it creates room for another stray to live with me and have a good life. Being a dog at my house is not a bad thing, and I imagine that is true for your house!


    • Maria, such wisdom. As always! You’ve met Gracie, so you know our sweet girl. She did have a good day yesterday, remarkably so.

      Thanks for saying what you did about Olga… Thank you.

      It seems Eddie is doing better, I have been thinking of you all!


  3. So sorry for all of you to be in this situation; a very tough place indeed. Today marks the eighth anniversary of my dear Whiteycat’s passing and I still miss her. Each of these creatures is so very special and each is unique … another wonder of the creation mystery. Blessings to you and Gracie.


    • Thanks Whiteycat! And you know so much about how our animal companions mean to us and how hard it can be. And yesterday was your Whiteycat’s anniversary, your special girl. My heart to you.

      Gracie is doing a bit better, so she is still here. Thank you for all.


  4. Dear Fran, I’ll be praying for you and your family. Maria is very wise about making sure this stays about Gracie, and not about Olga. It’s always hard (although can also be tremendously rewarding) to have an old and/or sick dog, but my experience has generally been that they’re pretty clear about letting you know they’re done. Just keep attending to Gracie, and she’ll tell you what you need to know. Much love to you all.


    • Dear Piglet – thanks so much, thank you. Your words are so kind. Gracie is doing OK, she had a good day yesterday, so we shall see what comes. She is still here and is doing OK this morning.


    • Hi Margaret, thanks for your thoughts and prayers. She is doing better, so she is still here. We go day by day, with love and prayer. Thanks again for yours. And right back at you, for all your comings and goings!!


  5. Dear Fran,
    So sorry about Gracie’s difficulties. My family are all cat lovers and we lost a cat soon after losing my mother. I think it makes the sadness over the possible loss of a beloved pet even harder, and it is difficult to separate one from the other. You and your family are in my prayers, as is your special dog, Gracie!


  6. Dear Fran,
    I feel so deeply for all of you,,,it’s a hard road to be on. Listen with love and whatever happens will be done with love. Gracie is a gift and at some point will be a gift back to her Maker to ‘Snoopy dance’ again. Extra prayers for all.


  7. Oh, prayers. Dear, sweet {{{Gracie}}}

    My brother got a rescue dog (Golden Retriever) a couple of years ago. He’s in very good health, but I’m still surprised to see he started “lightening” (the way a Golden’s face does before it turns white) soon after he brought him home (so we think he’s about 7 now).

    Sigh. If only dogs lived longer…


    • Thank you my friend. Yes – if they lived longer. It is so hard, but she is still here and our beloved pup. One day at a time. Your kindness and presence is much appreciated here at the blog.


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