Sunday, June 16, 2013

RIP Opie

I decided to put my 12-year-old dog Opie down this weekend. He's been sick with a tumor in his chest since January, and I tried everything to get him better: surgery, radiation, etc. I had to go to San Diego this past week for business, and he took a turn for the worse while I was away. His breathing was becoming very compromised, which wasn't fair and was so hard to watch. I worried he would have a crisis and suffer. I had decided I would have one last fun weekend with him and put him down Monday, but was concerned that I was being selfish and cruel by trying to get through the weekend. I even tried breathing as fast as he was to see what it was like, and it was pretty awful.

Friday, I went home early from work and we had fun--went to visit some people he really loves, had visitors at the house, and played with the neighbor's dog, which he loved. We were out playing till after dark. The next morning, however, he was up at 5:30 am just standing in the middle of my room. He was having a harder time lying down and getting comfortable due to the tumor pressing against organs. So he didn't seem to be able to lie down, and he seemed like he didn't know what to do.

I took him out, and he did have to go to the bathroom, but after that his rear legs started spasming, which had happened once before. I put him in the car and we went down to the dog park, and he was happy enough. I decided to just go home, but on the way he had another weird episode and almost threw up in the car, which is not normal. So I decided to go to the vet and at least see what they thought about his breathing.

The doctor was very nice and sympathetic and had something like that happen to his dog. He was worried that if I didn't put him down, and waited until Monday as I had originally planned, I would regret it. He gave me time to think and I decided I wouldn't have gone there if I didn't think it was the right thing to do. Also, if I had to wonder if I was being cruel, the chances were pretty good that I was.

Long story short, I decided to go ahead with it. There was one bad moment when the sedation started taking effect and he started to panic, but I pulled him into my lap and he relaxed. I got to hold him the whole time and it was very peaceful. I actually felt relief when his erratic breathing ceased, it was so hard to watch and it had to have been so hard on him.

Putting the pet that you love down totally sucks and is such a hard decision, but it is a blessing to be able to end the suffering and let them die peacefully. I only wish people didn't have to suffer so much until the very end.

RIP my little Opie dog, you were the most smart, intense, engaging, obstinate, willful, and funny dog. You had a personality that was larger than life, and your presence will be felt for a long time. I will miss you and never forget you, and my other dog is despondent at your absence.