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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fire's Status Update

Last week I called the vet again because Fire seemed to be quite distressed, and I detailed what I meant by that: He is drinking water like a fish, he is panting a lot, he can't get comfortable.

The vet upped the Tramadone to two tablets, 3 times per day. I repeated that back a few times...that's a huge increase! The tech repeated the orders.

Sadly, I can't give him the drugs 3 times per day, not while I'm working, but as soon as I'm not, well, he'll get his drugs on schedule.

I've been wondering, though, if he'll last that long.

This morning he gave me a scare; he wasn't interested in breakfast. That's one of the signs. Is he telling me he's done?

So I put it aside, because, yesterday, I gave him a half-dose of the tramadone at 2:30, and then the full dose at 10:30 pm, so I didn't want to jump to conclusions, not knowing what this opiate is going to do to him. Fire initially got up, looking for his "special treat" (medication delivered in a marshmallow)., refused his food, refused water, and returned to lie down on his dogbed. He did eventually eat, when I brought his bowl to him, the food moistened with water.

And he was very interested in going outside to do his business, yet reluctant to come inside. Cabin fever. Who doesn't enjoy the feeling of the sun on one's face?

This evening, again, he didn't get up to eat, but having learned from this morning's endeavors, I brought his bowl to him and he ate with relish. He is still interested in food, but I think that standing and having to dip his head to eat is difficult for him. But if I leave the food out, the Shepherd will help herself, so just waiting for him to make a decision is not really an option.

If he were a healthy dog, I wouldn't, in a thousand years, bring his food to him. But Fire is dying, and he deserves some concessions, even pampering.

Just as some general info, when I first adopted Fire, I fed him from a raised area, which is recommended by some sources to prevent bloat, which large-chested, long-legged dogs are prone to. Other articles refuted this, suggesting feeding from the ground. It's pretty much split 50/50, so because of different circumstances, I haven't fed Fire from a raised bowl for a long time. And for a few days, I've watched him struggle to get up using only three legs, his weight loss is discernable, even though he still maintains a healthy weight for a greyhound, and I've noticed some of his muscles shaking.

He is slipping away quickly, and I wondered if I'd be calling in Monday, in favor of a trip to the vet clinic to send him over the Rainbow Bridge.

But today he's been quite tranquil, has not seemed to be in any great distress, and every time I opened the door to go outside, he wanted to go out, too. Once outside, he's not really wanting to focus on business, but seems to be wanting to spend some contemplative moments in the dappled shade beneath the maple tree, grazing on the crabgrass that lines the fence, and just enjoying life in general.

Is my dying friend trying to tell me something? I think he is.

For a dog, he's a lot wiser than I am. He knows his life is short; he knows that now is the time to observe the glories of creation, the amazement of life, because it's a gift that can't be taken for granted for man or beast.

So tonight, I brought him his bowl, and he immediately went to work. My Shepherd, adjusting to this change, waited for him to be finished and stuck her nose in his bowl at the usual moment, helping him to lick it clean. This is part of their sibling relationship, although he's not nearly so defensive of his food as he used to be.

When I first got Fire, he was food-aggressive, which is common in ex-racing greyhounds. So for about a week, I fed him by hand. I would dip my hand into the food bowl, keeping the bowl out of reach, forcing him to depend upon me, associating my hand with the food. I knew that one day, it may happen that I'd have to take something dangerous from him, without having to lose my hand to do it.

He came around quickly, although, with regard to rawhides and the like, I still have had to resort to even "better" treats to entice him away. Even though he quickly figured out my ploy, I learned to be quicker and used the actions of the other dog as natural interference if something really good had to be taken away.

Dogs will be dogs; we have to respect them for what they are.

See how far Fire has come; from fighting for his food, to having it brought to him.

Some would say it's "time". I disagree; a theme is developing, and while I am making concessions for Fire, the time has not yet come to send him away. He's not ready to go.

On one hand, I fear I will make the decision too quickly, on the other hand, I fear I will wait too long.

For now, Fire is content. He is resting peacefully, he continues to be a living work of art, graceful even as he limps through his last days, loving even as he suffers such deep, unreachable pain.

I looked into his eyes today, his adoring, devoted greyhound eyes, and I asked him if it's time. He placed his paw into my hand and stretched his head towards me, begging for a pat. And his eyes never left mine.

No, Mom. It's not time yet. Pet me.



** I still have a long ways to go to pay for Fire's existing vet bills. If you are interested in helping, you may do so here. Thank you, and God bless you. ***

10 comments:

Hidden One said...

Always praying.

Adoro te Devote said...

We need prayers! More valuable than anything.

Hidden One, it comforts me to know there is someone always praying.

mary margaret said...

I wish I could help with your vet bills, but I've got trouble with my own. I remember the eyes--I treasure every moment I had with my darling girl. No, it's not time until he is in so much pain that he can't enjoy the air, the grass, the feeling of your hand caressing him. I'm praying as well--this is always hard. Give him a pat from me, and believe me, my prayers are with you. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Ecce Panis Angelorum,
factus cibus viatorum:
vere panis filiorum,
non mittendus canibus.
In figuris praesignatur,
cum Isaac immolatur,
agnus Paschae deputatur,
datur manna patribus.

Anonymous said...

can someone please put this into greek so we can read it

Adoro te Devote said...

translation:

1. Behold the Bread of Angels,
made the Food of wayfarers,
Truly the bread of children,
not to be given to the dogs.
2. Presignified by figure,
When Isaac was immolated,
the Paschal Lamb was commanded,
Manna was given to the fathers.

--
So, anon , what's your point? The lyrics are out of place with regard to my post.

-
Anon 2 ~ sorry, couldn't find the Greek! :-)

-
mary margaret ~ Thank you. He has been patted! :-) And he's doing well, ate his breakfast standing up this morning.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: When my 20 year-old cat was in his final week a few years ago, I accomodated him as much as I could to make him comfortable. This meant bringing him to the food and moving the litter box very close to him. It was not too long before he had to be put down because he was just suffering too much and so was I. You'll know when it's time. Fire will "tell" you.

You are very much in my prayers these days.

Anonymous said...

Adoro,
Sorry to hear about fire your dog.

I really liked your post about dignus. "Domine non sum dignus" - ("I need a Latin Lesson") I had almost the same exact thoughts that you did regarding the words of that prayer. I was trying to get you to comment on the Lauda Sion (I love this hymn) by posting that excerpt from it. It immediately came to mind for me since your site is dedicated to St. Thomas and your blog space name is Adoro Te Devote, so I thought it was right in line with your post regarding fire and his eating habits. The real question is why does St Thomas write about a dog in the Lauda Sion? The other thing I wonder about is the first line of that stanza That says "Behold the bread of angels" Angels are pure spirit they do not eat?

The last part mentions the sacrifice of Issac prefiguring the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross,it just made me think about your situation that you were going to be asked to do something very difficult and have your dog put down and experience loss.


I found the full text of the Lauda Sion online translated into English. Sorry I couldn't find the Greek. :( I was replying last night and my power went out here in Roseville.

Best Regards on your new endeavors.

anon

http://www.preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Hymni/LaudaSion.html

When Pope Urban IV (1261-1264) first established the Feast of Corpus Christi, he requested St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) to compose hymns for it. This is one of the five beautiful hymns Aquinas composed in honor of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In addition to Lauda Sion, St. Thomas wrote Adoro Te Devote, Pange Lingua, Sacris Sollemnis and Verbum Supernum. Lauda Sion is the Sequence before the Gospel on Corpus Christi.

Adoro te Devote said...

anon ~ thanks for your comment.

About the "bread of angels", this is meant to be metaphorical. Indeed, angels cannot eat, and in fact, I think I read somewhere that this is their only regret, that they cannot consume the Body and Blood of Christ. I think a Saint made that statement, but I can't remember whre I saw/heard it. I also heard a really good explanatino of "bread of angels" on the radio but can't remember it.

As far as dogs...he writes about dogs consistent with most scriptural references to them. If you pay attention, you see that usually dogs carry a negative connotation, they are low creatures, "return to their vomit", etc. Not very flattering. He is drawing a distinction, demonstrating the sacredness of the Holy Eucharist, saying that this should be given to children, as humans have a dignity that far surpasses any other creature, and it would be profane to pass such a sacred thing to dogs, who would, at best, "gnash it to pieces and trample it underfoot". (This last is actually a reference to swine, on the same par as dogs, pretty much.)

There are a few decent representations in scripture with regard to dogs, as in the Book of Tobit, yet that is not to say that dogs can possibly have the dignity of we, human beings.

Badger has arrived said...

Hi. I found your blog through Tara's (Beloved Sinner). I did what I could, wish it was more.
I'm enjoying your blog very much. When I figure out how to do it, I'd like to add a link on mine from yours, if I may.
Thanks,
Badger