As much as I dreaded what I had to do last night, I have an odd sense of peace about it. Sheena’s not suffering anymore. Even until the end she was herself- conscious, aware, but trapped in a body that couldn’t work right anymore. She lost the use of her back legs Wednesday afternoon. All we could do for her until the vet could come last night was to try to keep her clean and offer her water as she wanted it (she was not interested in food.)
I know all too well the scientific/medical reasons for Sheena’s rapid decline. She’d had mammary growths removed twice. The first time I didn’t send out for pathology, (there is only one veterinary pathology lab in Ohio, at Ohio State, and it’s expensive and time consuming to get results) but the second time I did, and the lab said those were benign, but then the growths came back with a vengeance. More than likely- at least the third go-round, anyway- it was mammary cancer, which can be virulent and spreads quickly in dogs. By the time I had noticed the mammary growths again (round 3) there were growths in her “armpits” or more accurately, under her forelegs, (lymph nodes abide there in dogs, just as they do in humans) and I decided that I would not subject her to more surgery. If anyone can gain anything from this experience it is that spaying dogs early can help prevent mammary cancer. Sheena had several litters of pups before we found her. We had her spayed, but spaying a 5 year old who’s had several litters doesn’t prevent cancer as effectively as spaying before the first heat.
Sheena didn’t have a good luck of the draw. She was deaf. She was without a doubt inbred. She had severe HD to the point of pretty much not having hip sockets at all. Her teeth were a disaster from the cage biting. Her physical coordination was worse than mine. By all accounts, Sheena was “defective merchandise.” But she was my dog, and she had a heart of gold. Part of me wanted to end her suffering, but another part of me finds it hard to let her go.
Clara and Lilo know where she’s buried. The two of them (they are both older than Sheena was) are still in good health, for which I am thankful. Clara and Lilo have always been close, but as soon as they figured out Sheena was dying they have been almost joined at the hip. Lilo has been carrying Sheena’s favorite toys around, and Clara has been rolling in the places that still must smell like her. Dogs grieve, too.
Today is a new day, but saying goodbye to a friend is always one of the hardest things to do. It’s got to be the hardest thing about life with dogs and cats. They just don’t live that long. For me, while it’s painful to say goodbye, it’s even more painful and empty to choose not to share life with dogs and cats. No, I am not looking for another #3- I think I’ll let Clara and Lilo enjoy things with just two dogs. I have four cats, after all.
The problem is, I know those are the famous last words. If I know Jerry, we will be back to three dogs within the month.
While I’m in the realm of the macabre, and still feeling a bit melancholy, I’ve found a few more of everyone’s favorites: Victorian-era post mortem pics. Yeah, I know it’s creepy, but as popular as these things are I can’t be the only one who finds them grotesquely fascinating.
I think this one was a mob hit- got the entire family, which was sort of sick.
This one is more tragic than anything. It’s bad enough these twins were likely stillborn, but for someone to want $756 for the original print?
This one sort of leads me to wonder if this child was OD’d on one of the many patent medicines of the day- that contained opium and alcohol?
I bet it happened a lot more than was ever found out.
From the unnatural position of the legs and arms, I almost thought this was a kid’s doll,
but then in Victorian times nobody would have wasted an expensive photograph on a doll.
One thought on “Today is a New Day, the Hardest Things to Do, and More Victorian Post Mortems”
Man, those things are creepy! I understand the impetus behind them–most people couldn’t afford to take pictures of their loved ones during their lives, and wanted an image to remember them by. But BRRRRRR! And who could possibly have wanted the mob-hit picture?
But more importantly, I’m so sorry about Sheena. I know how awesome a good dog is, and I know how tough it can be to finally make that decision. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that you did the right thing and acted in a very loving way toward your pet. I also think it’s cool that you had the vet come to you. That’s what I do as well. When I had to put my mom’s dog down, the vet came to the house, and was actually cool enough to crawl under Winchester’s favorite bush (where he liked to hang out) to do it.
Again, I’m so sorry.