Eulogium Ante Mortem

As I type this, #2 is out in the garden digging a hole.  VFDDawg #2 is on her way tonight.

When #1 was around kindergarten age, old enough to be trusted not to hurt the dog, she would take the little thing to her bedroom for hours.  They would keep each other company while #1 would read or color or play.  #1 would dress her in cute little dresses of her own design, and ridiculously large bows, also of her own design.  This chihuahua never uttered a protest.  She never was one to growl, never one to snap at a child even when being poked at and her tail pulled, etc.  Even when other dogs would come around, she would bark of course (that’s the Chihuahua way) but she would never bite.

Last year she started losing weight.  She started around nine and a half pounds at full size.  Then from about October last year she kept shrinking.  Skinnier and skinner she’d get but she’s always happy to see the family come home, always wagging the tail and turning little circles waiting to be petted.  Sometimes she runs with one of her rear feet up like it’s hurt (“trigger foot”), but they all do that.  Sometimes she would get closed in the door by a toddler and get half a baby aspirin for a while until she was better.  Sometimes she would shit in the house and nearly be killed on the spot by the mistress.  But she was always such a sweet dog.  She would be your favorite thing in the world, if your favorite thing  happened to be a small, black, fuzzy lap warmer that likes to be scratched on the head but please don’t touch her ears.

And she finally got skinny enough to take to the vet.  Four and a half pounds.  Blood testing showed liver failure.  The smallest steroid pills you ever saw, cut in half, to help with nausea so she would eat.  And she started eating again too – but not putting any weight back on.  You can tell which are her poops in the yard, because they’re almost gray.  Her ears are no-kidding falling apart.  It looks like scabies gone wild on the edges, with chunks missing and the top edge of the ear flap just a raw sore – but it doesn’t itch, stink, or hurt her.  Her liver can’t maintain her skin any more is all.  Her coat lost fur in spots along her spine, then on her hips, and then everywhere in little dry patches.  The skin can’t hold fur any more.  She used to be as strong as any other little rat-dog, and would stand on her hind legs to grab a treat.  But she stopped doing that.  Then sometimes she couldn’t step up six inches to clear the bottom of the door to come back into the house.  You set her down gently and she collapses until she deliberately collects her strength to stand again.  Then she’ll shake herself -not as hard as she used to do- and wag her tail like nothing.

Her spirits remain high through it all.  A happy dog.  Loves attention.  Loves to come around when DW and #1 are on the floor, and get tangled up in their long hair like it was catnip.

And her ribs are showing through her coat.  And her waist is smaller and smaller.  And she has to think about it for a moment before she can come inside from the back yard.  And she doesn’t have any appetite.

This morning she staggers and can’t exit her kennel.  She can’t step up 3″ to get on the patio.  She can barely stay up just to walk straight.

VFD: She’s going.  She’s going Tonight.
#1: Yer gonna kill her?
VFD: Look at her.  Is it a kindness, to let her be like that?
#1: No.

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