Heartbreaking Turnaround

On her first, and as it turned out, only full day here, Miss No Name had a quiet day resting in a dog run at the yard and watching me come and go.  She was content to do so.  When visiting with her throughout the day I would handle her, chat with her, and clean her small wounds, but more of a worry was that rear leg.  The previous owner indicated the dog just recently came up lame on that leg but she didn’t know why.  When massaging each leg to compare, I discovered an old injury, now closed over, and what felt like a pocket of infection under the skin, right around the hock joint; and this was on the good leg.  The hidden infection became my biggest worry and I wondered that a trip to the vet might be needed.  

I was sitting in the grass with her that evening, and just spending time with her before ending the day.  She heaved a big sigh, and rolled onto her side placing her head in my lap.  We sat still for a spell and I enjoyed the peaceful weight of her large head on my leg. 

Monday morning I called the veterinarian and we headed in right after lunch.  The result of the vet check up was heartbreaking.  The vet concurred that the flesh wounds were minor, and they were indicative of cuts rather than an altercation with another dog.  They still needed to be tended to, one needed a couple stitches.  Since they would have her sedated to that do that I elected to have x-rays done and see what was going on with the hind legs.  

Well, she was a mess.  When I stated I bought a broken dog, I didn’t realize how close to the truth I landed.  Bad elbow dysplasia, bad hip dysplasia, knee caps not where they should be, and a long ago fractured pelvis.  Her front end was weak, and her hind end was weak, out of alignment and lacking support.   

We were very likely looking at a life of some amount of constant discomfort, but to what degree we don’t know.  There is a good chance this dog has been living with some amount of pain from the get go and knew no different.  To ask this dog to work as I am expecting her too was no longer an option. To ask her to continue to live with a life of pain was the choice in front of me.   

I stayed with her through the euthanasia, sitting on the floor, and this time feeling the comforting weight of her body, stretched and leaning against my leg.  She is gone. 

13 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for both of you. I am glad that you ended her suffering, but I am very troubled that a dog had been living like that. Probably because my farm is so small compared to a large ranch, and I have such close relationships with my dogs and even my cattle and sheep, it is very difficult to understand how this could have happened. Did you get a good feel about the ranch and the people where she came from? Again, I am very sorry.

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    1. This dog came from a breeder on a smaller farm with a few sheep and cattle, not from a large ranch. No, as the arrangement progressed I did not have a warm feeling about it, but I became committed before listening to that feeling. I'm not sure you want to hear reasons (excuses) for how a dog is living like that but I'll share a few that have crossed my mind. Many people are working one or two jobs to stay on the farm. The time, energy and resources they have is limited and weak - I think that may have been the case here. These dogs are also so stoic. They don't readily show pain and discomfort. And if they have been adjusting and moving according to the pain for long periods they appear normal to us. If it helps, this person now knows what is potentially in all the dogs there.

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  2. A tough, but humane decision. I am very sorry :-(.

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  3. that is so sad. She must have been comfortable and happy with you though. Just being able to rest with her head in your lap. I wonder if she had ever been able to do that with anyone before. So very sorry.

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    1. I hope she did. I was amazed at the quickness and depth of her trust.

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  4. Oh..I can't put into words what I am feeling..I am feeling so sad for you,but have to admit how lucky the dear dog was that you found each other for a very brief time,and that you have been able to put her out of her misery.Thank you for doing what had to be done..I am very sorry you had to go through it.

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    1. Thank you.
      Your comment on the previous post made me dig deeper.

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  5. very very sorry
    at least she found comfort with you

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  6. Oh what a heartbreaking discovery...and yet, was it imperative to euthanize her? Was there not someone out there who would have thrilled to adopt and care? I live with pain, a lot of pain, on a daily basis. And yet I have purpose, meaning, faith, love; I relate and interact. Was death the only alternative? I am a wreck physically, yet, I am certainly not merely flesh and bones. I am spirit. It does seem to me that many dogs possess "spirit" as well. In this life I am deeply grateful to know the One Who knows perfectly; and I trust that He is the Sovereign Ruler over life and death...Don't be offended at my thoughts although they differ from everyone else's...take care.

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    1. Marie, thank you for sharing your viewpoint. Everyone reading and listening will likely carry a piece of this thought forward to their next similar circumstance. There are other alternatives, yes, and I have chosen differently many other times in my lifetime with dogs. Making such weighty decisions does not rest on one factor alone, it rests on many, and past experiences also factor in. I don't think death is final and, for me, choosing death for this dog did not equate to believing she is without spirit.

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  7. I do appreciate your thoughts, thank you all.

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  8. Oh Arlette, I am so sorry. It is amazing that she showed such a depth of trust in you and truly heartbreaking that she had to endure so much pain. Thank you for doing right by her. You are a very special person indeed.

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  9. Hi Arlette,

    I think you gave the maremma dog a very peaceful ending as she couldn't get better and most likely has been enduring pain for some time. The dog wouldn't want a life of endless vet visits and medication, not being able to move about without great pain. She obviously felt you were a trusted friend and the one who would do right by her this is why the two of you were destine to have the 48 hours together. It was a tough call to make but please don't beat yourself up over it. The dog showed faith in you and she went to sleep with that good memory of someone who cared enough to end her suffering.

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