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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Remembering Max!

The First Photo of Max 11.5 Years Ago!

Perhaps this is premature, because Max is still with us. But on a gut level, I know his time is very short now. He hasn't eaten in more than three days, his breathing is labored, his personality and entire vocal range are gone, and I already miss the sweet friend that he was. The prognosis is poor: his heart is twice the normal size; his pericardium is filled with fluid; there's a tumor on his heart. It seems so hard to believe that he has failed so suddenly and that the slope has been so precipitous. Two weeks ago he was running around, playing with his rope and ball, up to his normal tricks. Today he is a mere shadow of his former self.

He's never been a quiet dog! PBGVs have an extraordinary range of sounds, from very deep guttural groans and grunts, to very high pitched squeals and whines. In between there's this hound-like howl, AKA bark, (after all, he IS a hound!) and what we familiarly call "talking." He would talk on command - these long howls that had us all howling every time. I joked about having him appear on Leno or Letterman, but alas, that's not our style or in the cards.

Tomorrow or Tuesday (when they can arrange for a specialist to do this procedure), the vet will aspirate fluid in the pericardium, be able to examine the fluid, and see if that relieves the pressure on his lungs and esophagus, and maybe spare him this suffering. I am very much in favor of the most humane treatment here and to NOT prolong his life in a needless, selfish way. But truly this is my husband's dog, and so that decision will have to come from him. He and Max are (or I should say, have been) so bonded that I am very worried about the outcome.

It's so quiet here and it's so very sad.

Most everyone goes through this, so most everyone can empathize. We had a cat before Max; she was 20+ when we had to put her down. That was one of the hardest things I've done in my life. This will rank the same - probably worse because Max has been such an interactive dog - NOT cuddly at all - but both dependent (on my husband) and independent at the same time. His presence (and his absence) will resonate for a very long time in our hearts and in our home. He has been such an integral part of our family for such a long time! We will always remember you, sweet boy.

Max - we will always love you!


knitsteel said...

Oh, I'm sorry. It's hard. We had to have our older dog euthanized early this summer. It was time for her to go, but still hard.

DreamWoven said...

i am so sorry :( we too have an older dog and I will miss her dearly. what a wonderful homage you did to her. give her a 'pet' from me and wish her a smooth journey.

Carol Dean said...

Big *hugs* to you, Louise, and gentle rubs to Max. :( I dread the day we have to say good-bye to Kyra, our grey-haired lady. These times are never easy.

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