Saturday, May 30, 2009


Our Grand Old Lady Khira began acting lethargic on Thursday night, and wouldn't come in the house. By Friday morning she was vomiting, trembling, and not eating.

Mrs. BR took her to the vet. The root diagnosis was that she is old, and her body was beginning to shut down. How old we do not know, as we adopted her from a rescue four years ago, but best estimates place her at 12 to 14 years, which is fairly ancient for Alaskan Malamutes. We were faced with the decision that pet owners do not like to make. Is she suffering, and should we let her go now? We went through a similar bout with her about a year ago, and she bounced back. After some reflection, we decided to wait 24 hours. If she was not better by noon today, then we would end her suffering.

Friday was a hard day. She wouldn't eat, and although she drank as much as possible, she would immediately vomit the water. By late night, she was curled up on the lawn, unmoving. She was awake, but the light was gone from her eyes. More than a few tears were shed around Che Buckskins last night.

I sat with her for awhile around midnight, petting her, and told her that it was okay if she needed to leave. As listless as she was, she rolled on her side and lifted her leg so I could scratch her belly.

I came in awhile later, questioning our decision to wait, now that she was clearly suffering. I went to bed, saying a small prayer for her, with little doubt in my mind that I would find her at peace in the morning.

Waking up this morning, I heard a ruckus downstairs, and the sound of happy voices. Could it be? Going downstairs to investigate, I found our old lady back to her usual self, begging for food and a pat on the head. As though nothing had ever happened. This evening she is as healthy as she was earlier in the week. She is on a diet of hamburger and rice for a few days, which doesn't seem to bother her a bit. Go figure.

I do not believe that anything happens by chance or accident. Everything occurs for a reason, even if we do not understand the reason at the time.

And there is a very clear reason that we decided to wait 24 hours.


Ann from Montana said...

So hard...watching, knowing when to let go. And so hard to listen for guidance and wisdom in the pain of it. As you say, there was a reason.

Wonderful outcome.

Michelle H. said...

Those choices are so difficult. But I'm glad you followed your gut reaction and waited.

I said it before, and I'll say it again. Beautiful dog.

Bag Blog said...

I'm glad Khira is doing better - such tough decisions. I don't think I have ever cried so hard in a movie as I did in "Marley and Me."

Years ago we bought my son an expensive roping horse (the buckskin). After we had him a few years, he began limping and the vet (a really good horse vet) said that he was beginning to founder. He took exrays and showed us the problem in Goldie's hoof. Then he put special shoes on Goldie and said that he still had lots of good riding in him, but we would have to take good care of his feet. Eventually he would founder. We nursed him through the winter and took him back to the vet for new shoes. The vet did more exrays and said that Goldie was not foundered at all. He was fine. As we left the vet's office, my son said, "I've been praying for Goldie." We still have Goldie; he is 27 years old.

Buck said...

The decision when to let go is one of life's hardest... in that you have a choice, which is not always the case with "things." Anyone and everyone who has had a life-long relationship with a dog (or dogs, plural) knows this to be true.

I'm glad Khira is well again, and I hope you have much more time with her.

Buckskins Rule said...

Thanks for the kind comments, everyone. She is still right as rain, as though nothing ever happened.

Glad to hear that Goldie is still with you, Lou. The power of prayer is a powerful thing.

Christina LMT said...

Yay! I'm so glad everything turned out okay! :)