Wednesday, May 18, 2016
I am filled with sadness this morning. We released our Keeper last night. None of us have ever before had to make that decision for our pet. It was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced in my life.
We came back to the coast in hopes the littlest member of our family would recover. She had been struggling to breathe for over a week in Cuenca; she had been on heart meds for that time as well. We couldn’t see any improvement, watching her increasingly become weaker and still laboring to breathe. We knew we had to get her out of the high altitude of the Andes.
Arriving mid afternoon at our hotel on the coast, she was lethargic. By evening she actually was walking around some and she ate dinner. We were hopeful. During the night she was again restless but, in my mind, slept better between getting up for water every hour.
In the morning she did eat again. We took her to the Vet to get blood work and brought her back to our hotel. At about noon she began to fail. She still remained thirsty and got progressively weaker as she tried to drink from her bowl, going from standing on shakey legs, to just lifting her head up, to not even being able to raise her cute little head with her Ecuadorian doo.
She wouldn’t eat. We barely got her last dose of medicine in her. We had held that dose for an extra five hours thinking she may be having side effects. So with the medicine she was struggling, and without the medicine she was struggling. It looked like there was nothing we could give her to help her improve.
By 5 pm the three of us began the hard conversation of whether we let her struggle through another night or let her leave us. In that moment I was filled with a feeling I have never felt. It paralyzed me. I realized I, and we, had to make a choice to end the physical life of our beloved member of our family. How can one decide that? I felt the worst dread I have ever felt in my life.
I wanted to put this off for another night, another day. I wanted to believe that Keeper would be ok in the morning if I just let her rest. As I looked at her, she laid on her side, pulling every muscle she has to raise her chest up and down. Sometimes she would move to roll over onto her stomach, but half way through, either to weak or unable to breathe she would roll back onto her side.
Her tongue was white, not coated white, but a pale white tongue that used to be pink and bright and would give us kisses. This must have been what the Vet was looking at when he told me she was anemic. She was suffering. We were suffering not being able to lessen hers.
We are staying at Casa Blanca Playa Cautivo. This is owned and operated by Randy and Dodie. These two people are as kind, understanding, and helpful as anyone can be. At the poolside, shaded by lush trees and plants we had held vigil with Keeper all afternoon. They gave us our space. They checked in on us and Keeper. They were there for us as we navigated these new waters.
When we made the decision, Dodie contacted the Vet and found out the answers to all our questions. We asked if it would be ok for the Vet to come here for us to let our little loved dog go. She readily agreed. Randy and Dodie treated us as more than guests. We were hurting, our dog was dying, and they held us in their care. Casa Blanca Playa Cautivo is a beautiful, peaceful place for us to say goodbye to our beloved Keeper.
When the Vet arrived Heidi held Keeper close to her heart. Easton and I gathered around our loved Chewbacca fur ball, and we all were there with her. Keeper knew that her people who loved her most held and surrounded her with love.
She left this world wrapped in love, and left for us sweet memories of her many years of love and devotion.