Friday, April 25, 2008

Where's Waldo Now?


I had to put my nine month old dog Waldo down the night before last, and I am just coming out of the shock of the whole ordeal. I suppose I can confess, I am not as devastated as I was when my dog Tuti died, and I suppose I can explain that by simply declaring that the connection between Waldo and I had not been as encumbered as the connection I had with Tuti.

Waldo was a happy, simple dog who loved everybody and knew the world as a simple place- food bowl, scratchy scratchy hands, tennis ball that bounces, stick that floats. Tuti had been a deep and complex dog that knew the darker side of all and relied on me to keep her from it.

So before I tell what happened, I am assuring all that I somehow managed to get through these days without the crushing weight of grief. Deep sadness, yes. But I am far more philosophically stage-managed within the walls of my mind this time. I can see this for what it was- a sad event that had no other course- and I am (just barely) OK with it.

Waldo woke his usual self on Tuesday and came in to greet me. I gave him his usual scratchy scratchy and he stared at me, knowing that a good long stare would put me in mind of feeding him (and Wenzel) breakfast. Wenzel came in and joined in on the stare, and just as I got up to go get them some food, Waldo’s mouth started to chatter. I watched him start to produce spit in large amounts, and then the chattering mouth became more pronounced and his body grew extremely rigid and then he fell over on his side and had a full blown seizure.

I had seen a few seizing dogs in my life so I knew (I thought) what I was looking at. In about four minutes, the seizure ended, Waldo shook off his dazed and confused mind and ate his breakfast heartily.

I made an appointment to have Wenzel get her blood work done (so I could also ask the vet about the seizure) and Waldo was looked at. He was healthy and normal.

The vet said to watch and record the seizure activity. Some dogs have one and then no other for six… nine months… and it is better to not do anything in those cases.

Tuesday night, Waldo had another seizure, and then another.

On Wednesday I took him to a local vet, and got some high dose Valium to give him. Sometimes seizures come in groups, or “clusters”, and the Valium would help him get through the tough part. This vet also found nothing physically detectably wrong with Waldo. He seemed sweet and healthy, was what the doctor said.

I brought Waldo home and spent the rest of the morning reading about epilepsy in dogs, and causes for seizures, treatments, etc… By one in the afternoon, he got his second dose of Valium. They started again. He had a seizure and then he would be temporarily blind, and then he’d calm down and lay down. He would then have another seizure, and he would run around confused and temporarily blind again. This went on from about three until seven, small seizures every twenty minutes or so, followed by much confusion and running around. I kept hoping for the end to arrive, but it never did. There was a lull for awhile, and then the seizures grew more intense and would not let up. They were focused in and around his head and jaws. His brain just kept sending out the rogue signal and his body reacted like he was being electrically shocked.

I put him in the laundry room with the lights off and no noises, hoping to quell the seizures, but they continued, and it got to the point where I knew it was cruel to let him continue suffering. I wanted to give him more Valium, large doses of it, in fact, to knock him out, but his seizures kept his mouth spewing saliva and his jaw chattering. There was no way I could get him to swallow anything. By ten O’clock, the seizure was permanent, he was lost in a crazy place, and I made the decision that enough was enough.

I shot him in the back of the head with my .22 and let him lay at peace on the linoleum floor while I cried.

I buried him yesterday morning out along the fence. He has a tree marking him and the short, sweet life that he shared with us. Writing this now makes me realize how much joy he carried around with him as he lived amongst us. I miss Waldo. I do.

Addendum- I talked to the vet the morning after, but before I buried him. The general concensus was, that without an autopsy, no cause would be found. Our best guess was a brain defect/ tumor, but it will always remain mysterious.


The fact that the high dose of Valium I gave him did not quell the seizures meant that they were hard core, and probably incurable.

19 comments:

Cheesy said...

{{{{ U }}}}

Jeannie said...

I am so sorry about Waldo. I have no idea how you could bring yourself to ending his suffering yourself - you are a very strong individual. My dog Cocoa was also epileptic but not nearly as severe as Waldo. He would have a number of seizures when he was younger and would go stiff but he never lost control of bodily functions - just would be afraid. He would search us out when he felt one coming on so we would hold him as he went through it. Gradually, they came less often to the point of being rare. He was fortunate.
At least Waldo had the opportunity to be well cared for for a while and someone to miss him.

meno said...

Oh how sad. I admire you for being able to put him down yourself. I could not do that.

Poor Waldo, poor you.

Mushy said...

I'm so sorry man...so very sorry.

You need to take the plunge soon and get another dog. It will help.

Stucco said...

It's tough as hell that you had to do that, but I think you are right that it was the humane thing to do. It's heartbreaking to have to put down an animal that you love, but that's how these work out eventually. Too soon, in the case of Waldo.

Pet Wenzel for us?

Jean said...

I'm sorry, Scott.
You did the right thing for sweet Waldo. Such a hard thing for you.

Shirley said...

You did what needed to be done for Waldo's sake. Sometimes there is no other way. Certainly he could have been been put to sleep by a vet, but that would have meant leaving him to suffer until you could get him to one. I really don't see any difference between you doing it or waiting for a vet to do it, except that he ended up suffering less. It sounds to me like he had a problem that no vet was going to solve.

You can content yourself with the knowledge that you rescued him and gave him a chance at the good life. If you hadn't picked him up that day he could have had a miserable and lonely life.

I'm sorry, Scott.

Schmoopie said...

I am so very sorry for you, Scott. Big hugs from Seattle.

Jonas said...

It's no easy thing, saying good-bye to a beloved soul. Our fur-faced friends teach us a great deal, no?

I agree with Mushy.

Dogbait said...

So sorry to hear you had to go through that again, mate.

amusing said...

sorry sad news

Scott from Oregon said...

I just wanted to thank you all for your kind words. Yes, it is always sad when a life is lost unexpectedly. Waldo had a great time while he was alive just being alive.

May I suggest we all do the same...

Shrinky said...

Oh scott, that is just awful, I am so sorry to hear of this. Yuo undoubtably did the only right thing for him, but I can imagine how horrific it must have been for you. You have a beautiful set of photographes up there which display a small snap shot of the beautiful life you allowed him to enjoy. His life may have been short, but it sure looks to have been a good one. (hugs)

citizen of the world said...

You've had some bad luck with dogs lately. I'm really sorry.

travistee said...

Aw Scott, I'm so sorry. But your writing just gripped me so hard....guess it's difficult for me to think of handling such a chore myself, and wow, you're just such a strong man.

Nikky said...

saying 'Im sorry' seems so insignificant. I don't even know what to say, I don't think I would have been strong enough to help my dog the way you helped Waldo, at the end I mean. You ended his suffering, and I can't imagine how hard that would be... but it was the right thing to do for Waldo.

You are in my thoughts tonight...

Saipan Writer said...

Beautiful dog. My condolences. You did the right thing.

LadyBronco said...

I am so sorry you had to go through this again so soon after Tuti.

You absolutely did the right thing, and my heart goes out to you.

Hugs to Wenzel.

Nancy Dancehall said...

I'm so sorry.