The prognosis was terrible. I don’t remember everything the kind Internist told me, because I was trying not to collapse in a heap on the floor in the diagnostic room at the time, but three sentences kept rocketing through my brain:
- “This is the single worst case of pancreatitis I have seen in my entire career; on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst, I’d give your dog a 10.”
- “If you had unlimited funds, like thousands of dollars, to spend on blood transfusions and ICU … I’d still give him less than a 10% chance to live.”
- “Take him home and say goodbye. There is a good chance he will not live through the night.”
So last night, I took Red Dog home to say good bye. We removed the catheter and said so long to the IV fluids. I told him it was okay if he had to go and that I’d miss him like crazy. I wanted to say my goodbyes, because if he did make it through the night the vet and I were to facilitate his passing in the morning. For most of the night I sat up with him and then, annoyingly, I fell asleep at about 4AM. I woke with a start this morning, certain he had died while I slept.
But he hadn’t. He was, in fact, at the water bowl getting a drink. And when he saw I was awake, he went to the door and asked if he could please go outside. We went for a little walk to the end of the block and back. He growled at a passing dog and had a pee on his favourite tree. He said hello to one of our neighbors.
When we got back inside, he ATE FOOD. And he has eaten every time I’ve offered it to him since. He then went about the meticulous task of cleaning himself. His catheter site needed to be licked clean. His shaved belly (from the ultrasound) is itchy, so he needed to clean that too. And he cleaned up the floor where he had drooled while eating.
“Piss off bitch. No one needs to see my bed head.”
He is not out of the woods yet. All the things the Internist told us yesterday are still true – there is an unidentifiable fluid leaking into his abdominal cavity and the very real possibility that a thromboembolism may kill him is quite strong. But euthanasia for RD is not in the cards today. I called my vet and told her about his change and she said he was rallying and trying to live. She said “It is not yet his time to die.”
It may be his last Hurrah. Sometimes dying people and animals have one more spell of good before they give in completely to the bad. RD, that good, kind dog, may be giving me one or two more days to make my peace with his passing. But he might be simply living as well.
I have cautious hope. I’m preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. But I now know that if it is the worst, Red Dog will tell me when it’s time for him to go. He will make that choice for himself and spare me the heart breaking task. So all we can do is wait and see.