Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pour Your Heart Out: Put My Dog To Sleep?

Today is my first time participating in PYHO. Came at an inopportune time, but a heart breaking one. Let me start off by apologizing for the length of it. I’m kind of an emotional wreck.

2 years ago my estranged husband gave me a puppy who was supposed to become our “protection”. If anyone would’ve seen this puppy, they would’ve known he wasn’t going to be very good at protecting anything or anyone. He was a bundle of nerves and afraid of his own shadow.

I remember when I tried taking photos of him when we first brought him home. He would slink away. He was afraid of the camera, or maybe the flash.IMG_8415

Oh, I forgot to mention, Rugby is a Border Collie mix. He was bought from a farm on my oldest daughter’s bday.

Anyhow, he did what all puppies do: eating library books, eating shoes, chewing up the stair carpet, etc.

But we knew he was cool. He was so gentle when he took his treats. Attentive to where I was. Rugby became my shadow. He slept on my side of the bed every night. He gives me hugs. He smiles like nobody’s business whenever I come home.

In May, a week before he turned 2, Rugby had his first seizure. I hoped it was some fluke and wouldn’t happen again. As it is with my luck, it wasn’t to be the case. By the end of May he was having one every couple weeks. The vet decided he needed to get on meds.

They’d help for a month and then thIMG_1355 e seizures would start happening again. The vet upped the meds. Rugby had started off on a super low dose and had lots of room to finagle.

A couple weeks ago he woke me up at 5:30am with a double seizure. His first that I knew of. I ran to get him his valium. Before it set into his system he had another double seizure. It was terrible.

Well, Saturday was THE WORST! He had 6 seizures in one hour. SIX! It was so traumatic to watch. Of course my boys were here. I gave Rugby his valium after his 2nd seizure.

Usually it works right away, but not this time. The poor dog just couldn’t get out of the seizures. I truly thought he was going to die. I had to tell my boys. I also had to tell them it was possible they’d come home one day from school and he might be dead if he’d had seizures.

Living in the country, our local vet is closed by noon. The seizures started around 12:30pm!

IMG_2628 By the last 2 seizures, his body was responding big time. You know when a fish is taken out of the water and put on the ground and it flops slapping it’s head and tail? That was our Rugby. Instead of just shaking, his entire body was coming up and slamming down.

I thought he was dying because all of a sudden I saw blood. He must’ve bitten his tongue, which of course mouths are big bleeders.

Talked to the vet on Monday and she suggested adding potassium bromide. I was happy to do whatever to help my puppy. Then on Tuesday I went and picked up the meds. The new meds are $28. That’s on top of his 2 other meds which are about $18/month. I can’t afford $46 a month for meds. I’m a single mom.

In fact, yesterday when I went to get my 11yo’s Concerta for the first time, it was $50! We have crappy insurance. I told them I couldn’t get it and would have to call his doctor. Tuesday I went back with a Ritalin prescription.

How can I spend $50/mo on my dog when I can’t do it for my son? My paycheck only adds up to about $800/month.

Boys with Rugby So, here’s my quandry. What do I do about my puppy? He’s only 2 and a half. He’s supposed to have a full life ahead of him. We were supposed to enjoy this awesome dog for at least 8 more years. I’m not supposed to be contemplating killing my dog because of some stupid seizures.

And for heaven’s sake, seizures aren’t common in Border Collies.

It has to be me.

I had a horse 6 years ago. My mom finally helped my life long dream come true of owning my own horse. Winston was beautiful. We had a friend to board him at and my daughters wanted to ride, too. But it was too hard to go out there with a 1 yr old baby.

My now 17 year old daughter ended up enjoying him the most. THEN a year after we had him I noticed some lumps on him. He had tumors. TUMORS? For real? And they were right where his bridle would lay and where the saddle would rub.

I swear, only me.

Yesterday I came home from work and there was my baby. Waiting for me to call him to me. Then he comes a waggin’ and smilin’ at me, so happy I’m home. And I have to look into his beautiful brown eyes and know I will have to kill my own dog.

My boys are in the living room playing with a neighbor boy and I’m burying my face in my dog’s fur, wondering how I’m supposed to walk this road.

Rugby N KD Sure, he’s a dog, but I get emotionally attached. He’s so devoted to me, and so amazing with my boys and other kids. Do you know that this dog has NEVER bit anybody even when playing? Rugby loves to play, but he knows we are his people.

Want a dog that loves to play fetch and not run away? Rugby is your dog. He brings the ball back every time. It’s just the way he is!

How about a “Lassie” moment? When I’m home, I let Rugby out to go meet the bus. He knows the sound of the bus and runs to the window. It’s so precious.

When I give him his meds, all I have to do is call him upstairs and he comes running to me, sits down and lets me pop them right in. No struggle. No rubbing the throat while clamping his mouth shut.

Ever tried clipping a dogs nails? Usually a nightmare, right? Not with Rugby. I call him to me and he comes over and lays down between my legs and rolls on his side.

How cool is my dog? And I’m supposed to kill him because of these


It’s not fair.

It’s not fair to him. Those seizures take a lot out of him while he’s in the midst of them. When he’s not having a seizure you’d NEVER in a million years know he had them. He’s as normal as any other dog you’d run into.

I just want them to stop. Is that too much to ask? I just want my puppy to be healthy. I just want my Rugby to live to the ripe age of 10 or so. He was supposed to be our family dog. Grow up with my boys.

It makes me sad that we’ve only been able to have him for 2 yrs. I’m going to call the vet today and ask her if there are any other options to keep the costs down. If we could do that, this post would be nul and void and my tears would be for naught.

I want my puppy for years to come, but truly love him enough not to keep him here for selfish reasons.

I just love my Rugby!

PS I can’t stop crying. I’m glad my boys are gone for the day.

PPS Talked to the vet this afternoon and she said we’d know by the end of the month what direction to take.


Shell said...

I hope that your vet has good news for you at the end of the month! :(

Melanie said...

Is there anyone you know who could take Rugby in and afford to keep his meds going? Has the vet given you any helpful advice on this issue? I am so sorry for your pain. There just isn't anything worse than having to put down a beloved pet. Blessings!

Unplanned Cooking said...

That is so hard and so sad. Pets are expensive - and their medical bills add up quickly. It really tears at your heart, especially when you have a child you need to support, too.

Good luck. I'm thinking of you.

Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

Oh gosh no! I thought I was having a bad week! You poor thing I love my pets to pieces and can't imagine having to put any of them down. I'm with Melanie, is there anyone who would be willing to take your dog in who could afford the meds? Do you have any Border Collie rescues in the area? If so I'm sure if you called them and told them what was happening they could point you in the right direction! Best wishes with everything and a super big hug to you at this very difficult time!

XOXO~ Renee

Mimi said...

Oh Mimi, I'm so very sorry. My parents had to go through this when their dog had epilepsy.

I don't have any answers for you, just my virtual hugs!


Unknown said...

Prayers for you in this time...I know it is hard.

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe said...

Oh, that's SO tough! I would feel exactly the same way if I were in your shoes. I'm a HUGE dog lover.

We've got a 6 yr old welsh corgi - we lovingly refer to her as our 'first born' as we got her just before we found out we were pregnant for the first time. ;)

I agree with Melanie - if costs are just too much for you to keep up with, maybe you could work out an adoption with a family that would love to have an addition to their family (especially if he's as fabulous as you make him out to be) that would able to pay what was needed for his continued care. It's worth looking into, anyhow. Your vet may even know of someone.

Hope it resolves in a positive way for you all somehow.


Anonymous said...

Oh Mimi. This is such a hard decision. I'll keep you and Rugby in my prayers, that your vet can figure out a solution.

And as morbid as this sounds: At least you are being a responsible pet owner. Having worked for vets for several years, a lot of people put their happiness above their pet's well being, and it just wasn't fair to the animal. At least if you do have to make that hard decision, you can know you did it out of love, because he wouldn't have to suffer.

Keep your head up.

WeeMasonMan's Mom said...

Is it possible for your vet to write you a prescription so you can get the drug at a pharmacy for a lower cost than you can get it at the vet? For example, I know that my vet charges nearly $1/pill for cephalexin and I can get 90 pills for $4 at Wal-mart. Perhaps something to check into?

Also, could you look into rehoming him instead of putting him down? Perhaps a border collie rescue could help with that?

Sending lots of good thoughts and I'm so sorry you're in this situation.

Lana said...

Have you heard of Home for Life? It's a shelter that takes special needs animals for the rest of their lives and works with them. It's in MN (I think somewhere by Stillwater). I don't know if it's an option, but they may be able to keep Rugby for you providing the care he needs and you could visit. The website is: and the phone # is: 1-800-252-5918.

Christina Ketchum said...

I'll say a special prayer for your pup and your family. Pets are our family and it is so difficult when they are suffering.

Liz Mays said...

Is this something your husband might be willing to take on instead of you?

Serene said...

Wow, what a difficult time for you! I'm so sorry.

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Oh {{{HUGS}}} I know how hard of a decision this is for you! Someone else suggested it, is rehoming him an option?

Unknown said...

what a terrible thing to have to go through. I think finding him a new home might be a good alternative. Maybe they'll even let you and the kids visit. I'm so sorry

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