Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I think it's time

to put Cerys down. Last night I came in and she was in the bathroom on the floor and couldn't get up. She'd knocked water out of her water dish and urinated and defecated on the floor, and was lying in it shivering. I picked her up and put her on a blanket and cleaned her and everything else up as best as I could (she is very sensitive to touch these days, and she didn't seem to recognise me). I put some more water and some food next to her and decided to leave her there for awhile and see if she could get up on her own. She'd stopped shivering and didn't seem to be in any pain.

A couple of hours later she did stand up, although she yelped and needed help standing. Once she was up, she was a little shaky, but was able to go outside slowly on the leash. A couple of hours later I took her out again. Again, she was shaky but able to go. She didn't seem to recognise her surroundings at all. She'd sniff and just keep her nose down to the ground like she'd forgot what she was doing. She doesn't seem to have anything broken from a fall. I think she may have had a ministroke. She is drinking but hasn't really eaten anything. She also had some discharge when she urinated outside. Tonight she seems sleepy but comfortable, still not recognising anything. She did perk up when I said 'outside' but I couldn't get her up on the leash. So I'm waiting again to see if she'll get up on her own. At least she didn't go on the bedroom floor.

One thing I've learnt from Spock's death (my 17-year-old cat, who died a couple of years ago) is that you can spend hundreds of dollars on trying to find out what's wrong with a beloved companion and treat it, and once they reach a certain age, it's not going to stop the inevitable. Dr Vice and I have concentrated on keeping Cerys as comfortable and healthy as possible. He knows I neither have the money nor the desire to prolong any less-than-ideal quality of life. But if this spell continues, I think it does her no service to keep her alive for my benefit, when the question really is, what is best for her.

We've had sixteen wonderful years together. I remember the day I found her. I was driving to a store and suddenly felt an urge to drive across town to the local pound, just out of the blue. I'd been wanting a dog, a Labrador, either black or choclate. There she was, in one of the cage rooms--an 8-month old Lab cross, and black, like a friend of mine's dog whom I 'trained' on, having never had a dog to care for before. She did something she's only done once--she bowed and made the same noise his dog would make when she wanted in my apartment. I fell in love with her immediately, but one person was on the list ahead of me. That person dropped out. I had to badger my landlord to approve the dog. But finally she was mine, and I called her Cerys, 'beloved' in Welsh. She was truly a gift from my Patroness, Hekate, with whom black dogs are associated.

I have to find out Monday how much it will cost to put her down--my cat last year was $25, but it might be more with her weighing more. On the other hand, putting Darius down was the first time I'd used this vet, so maybe having her as an established patient helps. I don't know. Money's tight right now, but I'm sure I'll find a way to give her some peace.

I will so miss my Care Bear. It's going to be a hard week, I can tell already.

PS As I finished this post, she came out of the bedroom, so I put her on a leash and we went outside. She seemed a little more robust, and even a little more alert, although she hasn't defecated since last night sometime and she's not interested in either her food or mine (I gave her a bit of bread and she tasted it, but didn't eat it.) This is the hardest part of having a pet. My heart keeps saying 'well, maybe she'll get better'. My head is grounded more in reality. It's time.

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