So much to blog about. So little energy to do it.
To start with, Gary and I put our sweet Maxine to sleep yesterday. We decided the cancer had eaten her up long enough. The grapefruit sized tumor on her front left leg constantly oozed blood and puss and we would have to mop up wherever she decided to lay down. Maxine would feel bad about it and sometimes amble down the stairs to the basement where she liked to punish herself. The open wound/tumor also stunk up the whole house with this rotted flesh, zombie death smell. I would force myself to tolerate it at night when I would lay behind her and pet her for hours while watching television on the hard wood floor. She loved being pet and cuddled so it was the least I could do as her days became numbered. The stench was a part of her.
Until a few days ago, she was still eating pretty heartily, but as the days went on, her tail wags got weaker, less enthusiastic. Her eyes weren't as bright and sometimes, she looked uncomfortable even though she was on a steady diet of Tramadol and wet food. Her life energy was slowly escaping and we couldn't watch it anymore. She wasn't as happy as she almost always was.
So yesterday, Gary came home from work early. We took the dogs outside and sat on the grass with Maxine, Rocky and Lola for about an hour. Rocky and Lola were uncharacteristically calm and quiet. Gary and I took turns cuddling up to Maxine and telling her how much we loved her and what a good girl she was.
We were glad we got a portrait of the three of them done before she got too sick.
The artist perfectly captured all three of them.
Maxine had permanently soiled our L-shaped couch; so for the last few months, we covered it in plastic and canvas tarps. We had to put her in diapers at night so she wouldn't piss all over the dog beds. We would cut holes in the diapers for her tail, put them inside custom made cotton doggie pants and velcro them closed. In the morning, we would take out the soggy loaf of diaper and throw it out. At dinner time, I had to mash up four different medications in her food and make sure that she didn't spit any out. Again, the smell of the tumor was intoxicatingly foul. It also was probably one of the most hideous things I have ever seen; knobby, bloody with sprinklings of brain like matter and puss, but even with all this, we wanted to keep her alive as long as she seemed happy. When she didn't eat her breakfast yesterday morning and laid down sadly, we knew it was time.
I don't feel like walking through the process. Let's just say, Gary and I watched her go to sleep. Peacefully and gently, she laid down. Tears rained down my face and I breathed through a very heavy heart. Gary's eyes were red and I saw some tears drop from his face as well. We hugged and kissed her body and left her sleeping on the shag carpet on the floor at the Vet.
Depression hits me in waves of fatigue. I need more naps than usual. Yesterday, between sleep and naps, I slept a good 14 hours. I usually need 7. Working through the grief actually isn't as bad as having a depressive episode for no reason. At least I know I have a reason why I am sad and slow and foggy headed.
I keep thinking good thoughts of Maxine. When we adopted her, she had been returned to the foster parents twice. She snapped at us, pissed on our furniture out of spite. We finally "loved the bad out of her" and she became the sweetest most loyal dog. She would gaze at Gary with her big soulful eyes as if he were the dreamiest man she had ever seen. She was enamored by him and always wanted to make him happy by obeying him. We would laugh at how protective she was. When we first got her and Rocky, I would go on a business trip, come back, and she would growl at me like a jealous lover when I hugged Gary. He of course, loved this and encouraged it. Maxine was Gary's first dog. We adopted her together, were responsible for her life and made the decision together to let her go.
People's outpouring of well wishes has been sweet and healing. We know it was the right thing to do. We will miss her. But, that's part of being a dog parent, giving them the best life you can, constantly outliving them and giving them over to the other side; letting them go, wishing them well and allowing yourself to heal on your own time. We have two other dogs we are still responsible for, but if we didn't, I'm pretty sure we would start the cycle again when we were ready. After all, for the most part, a rescue dog doesn't always mean that you are rescuing them. It's often the other way around.