IN MY OPINION
My Favorite Video Blogs
(for others, see Links page)
New on My
Support liberty and justice for all
(with the hope that everyone in my family will think about making a similar list before their birthdays and/or Christmas roll around!)
MY KINGDOM FOR SOME SHIT
30 June 2006
I just knew before noon on Wednesday that Elmer wasn't going to make it. I couldn't believe how quickly a vigorous, robust little puppy could crash. He lost all desire to suck. He would swallow if I squirted milk in his throat, and I could get down about 2/3 of what he had been taking per feeding, but it didn't seem to help.
I was giving him hydration, but the problem was his abdomen. The puppy was constipated. Ashley says that formula frequently causes that. But there didn't seem to be anything I could do about it. His breathing was labored and every 15 minutes or so he would start yelping and let out a volley of some 10 yelps, which sounded like he was in so much pain.
I wasn't good for much. I spent much of the day just holding him and crying. If he was going to die, I wanted him to die. If there was a chance he could live, I wanted to be able to do something to help him be in less pain. But I couldn't help him, and I couldn't kill him. All I could do was hold him.
There was, I have to admit, a part of me that felt that if he died, it might be a good thing. He's a pit bull. His mother was vicious. Who knows what sort of genes he might have inherited. Even if he turned out to be the most loving adult in the world, placing a pit bull is difficult. They're cute, and you can call them "Staffordshire terriers," (which they are), but people see "pit bull" and shy away.
But that didn't change the fact that he wasn't "just a pitt bull puppy." He was Elmer. The puppy I'd been "nursing" for a week. The puppy I was so sure would make it, when his two siblings did not.
Ashley finally called around 4. Her cell phone battery was dead and she had to wait till she could get to a phone. I told her how Elmer had been all afternoon (I left out the part about my sitting here holding him and crying all afternoon). She called the vet, who suggested giving him a fingerful of petroleum jelly in his mouth once a day for 3 days to help with the constipation.
She also suggested making up a hot pad for him. I don't know where our heating pad is, so I heated up some rice and wrapped it up in a big pillowcase, so I could get a lot of layers of material around it. I got Elmer all settled on the warm rice and wedged in with the legs of his teddy bear so maybe he'd stay long enough for the heat to begin to help.
Five minutes later, I found he had rolled off the "hot pad" and was lying on his back.
Apparently he didn't like the nice warm pad I made for him. You can see how distended his belly is, though. He hadn't had a bowel movement all day, though he'd strained a lot. My helpful stimulation of his anus with a baby wipe didn't do anything for him either.
I held him in my lap for a long time, crying now and then. His breathing began to get very labored and this little guy who had been such a solid, robust puppy now looked like his sister did before she died. I wished that I had the strength to help him die because it was blatantly obvious that he was not going to recover.
I finally put him back in the playpen, where he lay on his side again. I felt his distended belly and it was hot to the touch, as if he had been on a heating pad, but he had not.
He quieted down. He had stopped yelping. I decided that after a day being pumped full of formula and medicine and hydration and being given lots of body contact, maybe what he needed was to be left alone. So I covered up the play pen (to keep the cool breezes from coming in) and left him alone, not knowing what I would find when I got up in the morning.
I put together a video I'd been making throughout the day. A little weird, perhaps, but I wanted to be able to show Ashley what his symptoms were--and I guess I wanted to record whatever was going to happen, good or bad.
Amazingly, when I woke up this morning, he was still alive. His stomach wasn't as distended and he wasn't crying. I fed him and he took in all the formula. But he's still straining, still in pain, still has labored breathing.
I never dreamed that I'd be so eager to see puppy poop...but if only he'd poop we'd both feel so much better.
Ashley went to the vet's and got a syringe and tubing so I could give him an enema (my skills continue to increase). Instructions say I should see results "almost immediately," but it took a good hour. The amount produced was impressive and I thought he would feel much better afterwards, but he is still straining and not wanting to eat. He gets weaker all the time.
We are going to Santa Barbara tomorrow and the plan is to take Elmer (and a bag of medicines and "paraphernalia") with us (leaving Sheila and Kimba home with a sitter). I'm not sure how this latest turn of events is going to complicate things.
I don't know if this will be a one-way, or a round-trip for Elmer. Poor little guy.
At about 4 p.m. I knew Elmer was dying and I called and begged Ashley to please come and have him put to sleep. I couldn't stand his being in pain. He'd started crying about half an hour before and when I tried to feed him, the formula just came out his nose. This was definitely the end, and why make him go through it, if we could humanely end his life.
She said she'd be right there. I put him in my lap and his breathing got more and more shallow. Then he gave a big lurch and a giant poop came out. I felt for his heart and couldn't feel anything, but he kept twitching like he was having a seizure. He peed all over me, then strained again with his bowel. It must have been an automatic nerve reaction because there was no heart beat at all. Even his fur felt different. Ashley came about 3 minutes after he died and she's taken him off to bury, and I'm sitting here sobbing. I've known for 2 days he wasn't going to make it, but there was still that piece of me that held on to hope.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Only a couple of days ago--he hasn't yawned in 2 days