In Sickness and in Health

When the end is near

January 11, 2019

There is a huge part of me that is starting 2019 off very grateful that I did not have to lose two dogs in 2018. We lost Wrigley October 29th and have been on the cusp of another loss since then. 

Related: An Emptier, Quieter House

My Boston Terrier Olive was diagnosed with congestive heart failure late November of 2017 and was given just a year to live. We now have her on 5 medications and she has an actual team of medical professionals overseeing her condition over at VCA.

Strange how when you have somebody in the house on regular medication, words like Furosemide, Spirolactone, Vetmedin, Enalapril and Sildenafil seem to roll right off the tongue. Our visits to Costco are more about dog meds (their pharmacy has them) than about the bulk items they’re known for.

Olive is only ten years old. She is scrappy, spry and affectionate — except for when she is coughing, wheezing and looking at us with an expression of confusion and exhaustion. To say my own heart hurts would be an understatement. We have been very fortunate in that most of our dogs have lived well into their teens, but that doesn’t make it any easier. 

The time will soon come when we will have to make the same painful decision with Olive that we made with Wrigley. I am ready — and then I am not. 

In the meantime, Olive and the rest of the pack greet me with the usual exhilaration when I arrive home. Coughing and hacking the whole time, her tail still wags; and when she wakes us up five times a night with with the same coughing fits, my husband or I sleepily reach over and stroke her so she knows we are there for her and that she is safe and so very loved.