Thursday, April 21, 2011

My fears for the long weekend.

For those who've been asking, Rufus is deteriorating quite quickly.

In the last couple of weeks, he's started to randomly drop, falling onto his side. Like a plank, as The Other Half describes it. Sometimes he flails about trying to get up. When he can't, he just gives up, lies still and starts to cry.

Last week, he collapsed in the middle of a road. How lucky were we, that there were no cars about. He lay there for almost 5 minutes. There was a moment when I thought he was dying. I tried to move him to the side of the road, but he was such a deadweight, I couldn't budge him. It was dark and there was no one in sight who might have helped. Fortunately, it wasn't too far from the house, so I called The Other Half who turned up with some liver treats. One sniff, and Rufus made a miraculous recovery.

So there are 3 things I never leave home without now, when walking Rufus. A mobile phone, a bag of treats and great trepidation.

I also make sure I stay on the sidewalk, and minimise walking across roads.

The last few days, Rufus's back legs have become too weak for him to do a proper toilet. Maybe that's why he often voids himself in his sleep. His bladder incontinence has become a non-stop drip. I've given up putting his bed down because it becomes soggy within the hour. He prefers to sleep outdoors anyway, on the pavers. Still a cold-loving malamute, despite his arthritis. I've started to put a mat and old T-shirt down on the pavers, so they can help soak up some of the urine. His belly and leg fur are always damp. He seems to like the mat. He doesn't move much from the spot and often eats his meals there, lying down.

His appetite for anything other than treats is pretty much gone now. Rice? Yuk! Poached chicken. Nah. Grilled steak and raw beef? Okay. Maybe. Given his recent colitis flare-ups and pancreatitis, we don't dare to offer him anything else. If we're lucky, he eats 2 of his 3 little meals in the day.

I've spoken to the vet and there's nothing more really, that we can do or give him.

The Easter-Anzac break starts tomorrow. A 5-day long, long weekend. I called the clinic this morning to check if it might be open. Only on Saturday. And for 3 hours on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Rufus's vet, who has so ably seen him through his years of ailments, will be away. So there'll be no chance of a house call if there's any night time emergency.

Murphy's law looms again.

To say I'm terrified and can't wait for the weekend to be over, would be an understatement.

Will there be a resurrection for this old dog? Who knows. He's already beaten the odds to have come this far.

The Other Half and I are finally in agreement that the end is near. Rufus will be 11 in early May.


Thursday arvo 
2 bad tummy upsets. The second, very bloody. It happened at about 5pm. Luckily, the veterinary clinic was still open, so we were able to pick up some meds. No appetite. Didn't eat all day.

Good Friday  Had a good morning walk! Came home famished. Ate 4 little meals throughout the day, cleaning the bowl out every time. 

Couldn't wait to go out for his evening walk.
Perked up even more when he saw a cat!
Poor cat.

Went round the corner
and collapsed on the sidewalk. Wouldn't get up for treats. Took about 10 minutes to get him back on his feet. Went to sleep when he got home.
No interest in having dinner.


After the evening walk, I decided to do some cleaning. I turned the vacuum cleaner on, there was a smell of burning plastic and, just like that, it died.

The clip on Rufus's leash, which he's had almost all his life, broke this week.

My drama queen mind is full of omens.
Sunday night  A peaceful weekend. 2 more days to the end of the holidays. Thank goodness :)

Tuesday night  We made it! The holidays are over. Rufus's vet is back tomorrow. Normal clinic hours again. I'm horribly relieved to have made it through the 5 days with no major incident.

Rufus has hardly eaten in more than a week and is very wobbly when he walks. He still skips for treats though! There have been more fits. We're calling the vet tomorrow to update him and will go from there.


Pup Fan said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Rufus. Sending hugs your way and healing vibes.

Tell-A-Tale said...

It's been a loving 11 years. He's all worn out. It's time for Rufus B Thumper to return to the endless snowfields-in-the-sky, chasing snow hares with feet as big as his. Mum & Dad, LOOK! No drip! Now where's that treat...

Anonymous said...

Oh how extremely upsetting and stressful for you all. If there is ever anything at ALL we can do for you, including the weekend please do not hesitate to call. All our love Tara

georgia little pea said...

@Pupfan and Tara - thank you xox

@Tell-A-Tale - that's a very good picture to keep in my head. he hasn't really chased anything since he was 3.

hero said...

... and eleven Rufus will be. How I wish we could do something to lessen your stress during this difficult time... be strong my friend and we are keeping you in our thoughts.

Licks, hero

Jan said...

This is such a hard time that we all have to go through when we bring a dog into our lives.

I have tears in my eyes for Rufus and all the wonderful dogs who have added so much to my life. We'll be thinking about you and hoping for the best.

Team Beaglebratz said...

I am sorry to read that Rufus is not doing well - I wish we were closer as I know what it is like to have a loving furry companion for many years then watch as they deteriorate - it is so not easy. Hugs to you and prayers for all.

houndstooth said...

I feel your pain! With Lilac at fifteen and a half, every day seems like a little miracle. I've had a few scares when I thought she might be very near the end, but then she rallies and surprises me. I keep hoping that I'll be lucky and she'll just go to sleep one night and not wake up, but I know that if the time comes when she's ready to go that we'll do what has to be done for her. It's the hardest part of sharing life with a dog, without a doubt! Please know that I'm thinking of you, because I know it's not easy! I'm there doing the same thing, not even a been there, done that.

georgia little pea said...

Thank you everyone, for your thoughts.

@houndstooth - i know from the little i've read of lilac that you're going through a hard time too. we share poop stories :)

while it's not our first time with the needle, it is the first time we've had to witness such a slow deterioration. yes, if lilac [and rufus]were to go to sleep and not wake'd be a wonderful gift for both the dog, and us.

Jean said...

Tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I will be thinking of you, and especially of Mr. Rufus B. Thumper this weekend. Long weekends are terribly stressful when you love an ancient dog.
This may sound silly, but have you told him it is okay for him to leave you now?

Bermtopia said...

Feeling very blue about Rufus.

Ben in Bermtopia

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

I've had about 15 dogs and only one has been kind enough to go in her sleep:( Luckily she was relatively hale and hearty til the end, which I didn't even realise was imminent. The others have not been so kind, in the end it's had to be me who was kind and I've hated making the decision every time. But it is the last 'thank you' you can give them, to set them free.

When the time is right you'll know but I hope, for your sake, it's after Easter.

Thinking of you all and sharing what you're going through, as are many others, I know.

georgia little pea said...

@Jean - yes i have, more than once. but rufus never listens to me :)

Karen Friesecke said...

I'm thinking of you, Rufus and the rest of the clan. So sorry about the sad times right now :(

The Sprollies 'n' Border Collies said...

That's terrible news. Poor Rufus. It makes me wonder how on earth Fly's made it to 18 - and she still rounds up the sheep.

I hope Rufus feels better soon... :(

Lavi said...

I've read through your last posts to get up to date. I hope your neck is feeling better.

I'm sorry to hear about Rufus collapsing. Being such a big dog, it must be very hard to carry him. Good thing for the treats.

We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for you for this weekend. If there is an emergency, I suggest finding a temporary vet that doesn't shy from house calls at any hour.

Pamela said...

I too have experienced the dread of a long holiday weekend with an ill dog. It's so hard and I'm sorry.

Whatever the next few days or weeks bring, I hope you find moments of joy with Rufus. It sounds like his "miraculous recovery" at the scent of liver treats was one of them.

I'll be thinking of you and your family (human and canine). Blessings as you try to know how to be as good a friend for Rufus as he has been for you.

Jen said...

It's heartbreaking when our friends become old friends and we know their time must be short. I'll be thinking of you folks this weekend, Rufus and Georgia too, hoping that you have no need of the vet and can enjoy your old friend through it.
Hugs !

Jen and the Black Dog Crew

Kristine said...

I am so sorry you are going through all of this with Rufus now. He seemed to be improving so well. This could just be temporary and he may improve again. He didn't turn down the beef, right? That's a positive sign.

I hope this weekend turns out to be an enjoyable one with many happy moments to remember. I will be thinking of you all and am wishing you the best.

chandra said...

what is it about holidays? daley went downhill on thanksgiving. i can't bear that holiday now.

is there a mobile vet in your area? of course you have absolutely no control over what will happen with RBT's health over the next few days but if he does take a turn for the worse, you won't want to be desperately trying to get him into the car for emergency attention, especially if he becomes painful.

i will be thinking of you all through this long weekend and will hope for the best - whatever that turns out to mean for RBT's sake.

rufus may not listen to you but i bet he will listen to jordan, who i'm sure is at the ready to greet rufus and give him the grand tour of the land where there are no aches and pains and liver treat trees grow wild.

-c at ddy.

Kenzo said...

Aiii, Rufus. I feel with you and with your Typist and The Other Half. Clouds are gathering around you, yet you give us hope with the liver treat "revival". But we hear you Rufus.

You have so much dignity. It is just so sad we have only known you for such a short while. Take care my friend. Please surprise us and show you are not done and still have something that needs to be told.


Friko said...

You are breaking my heart. Benno is 11 too and getting very arthritic.
I hate it, hate it, hate it, and can't bear it when my pets gets too old and I can do nothing about making them better.

I hope Rufus doesn't suffer when his time comes. I know that you will, of course. That's how it is.

georgia little pea said...

THANK YOU EVERYONE for your kind thoughts. It's Easter Friday morning here. Rufus had 2 big bloody dumps yesterday arvo, but otherwise seems okay.

Chandra - that emergency dash in the middle of the night is my nightmare scenario. He's so big and heavy. And it being a holiday, I'm not even sure which neighbor might be around to help. I've already researched the closest emergency vet hospitals. There are a few options. We've asked about vets who do house visits. There don't seem to be any. Rufus's vet doesn't do them either, but gave us his contact last year, given the circumstances. It was so good of him and just
took a load off our minds.

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you have a wonderful break and get to
snarfle lots of chocolate eggs :) xox

DogBlogger said...

Poor things, you and Rufus. Be strong. It's a nightmare situation, and one that I dread. I guess you always have to weigh up that 'quality of life' factor.
Once there's no more good life, then be brave enough to do the right thing.
I've made a pact with my lovely old boy, Monty, that when he can no longer walk or poop or eat properly, then it's time for the big sleep.
My sympathies go out to you.
We're the guardians, so we have to make these hard decisions.
Take care.

Juliette and Dougie said...

Oh Georgia I am so sorry for Rufus and you and your other half. I've left Rufus a juicy bone to take his mind off being poorly. I know your fears and worries - last Thurs Dougie was very very ill and I nearly lost him (very bad gastroenteritis). Dougie was put on a drip and I had to sign those dreadful consent forms and leave him 2 nights at the vets hospital . I was beside myself. He recovered only by Monday properly thank God. I will pray for Rufus as I did

georgia little pea said...

Thank you Si and Juliette xox

That's a good pact, Si. I hope though, that there'll be many more rolls in possum poop and pizza crusts for Monty before you have to honour it.

Juliette, I'm so sorry to hear about Dougie. That must have been such a fright. I'm glad he's recovered. A big hug for you two. And thanks for the bone :)

Anonymous said...

Dear people, our thoughts & hearts are with you both/all.

Whenever I don't hear from you for a while, I worry about Rufus. For the last 18 months or so, Rufus has been defying the odds. That loverly big special old dog has done extremely well. A great deal of his longevity can be directly attributed to your love & care. The walks, hugs, treats, the diet, but especially the love. And he's been good for your souls also.

As long as Rufus isn't in pain or too distressed, he'll hang in there & God will call him when it's his time.

Till then stay strong, when it's time, he'll either nudge open the door he's got to go through, or you'll open it for him. But either way, it's a door we're going to have to pass through eventually.

Dependent on your beliefs, he'll either come back as a Balmain ice-cream vendor

or he'll bound off youthfully into a bright & beautiful dog heaven.

You'll be thinking what's best for him, and you'll know when it's time.

As I've said, our thought are with you and with Rufus. If you need to speak to someone, give us a call. Weather Easter as well as you can, X & Best Rgds STeve

Elizabeth said...

Oh, poor everyone. :( I can't stop thinking about the collar clasp (I don't believe it's a sign; however, when things like that happen, it's impossible to shut off the floods of memories that make saying goodbye darned near unbearable.
As for Rufus, I pray for a holiday weekend without emergency and with a bit of joy. In fact, that's my prayer for all of you.
Elizabeth, Jon Farleigh and Dewi

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

I hope no news is good news? Just checking in to see how things are going ...

Elizabeth said...

Do hope things are going well in your neck of the woods.
Sounds as if things are a bit tough.
Sending all sorts of love and good wishes
Elizabeth and Buster

georgia little pea said...

Thank you. Much the same.It's Sunday night already, thank goodness! xox

Lavi said...

I'm a bit late, sorry, but dropping by to still wish you a happy Easter. I'm glad you went through the holiday without any problems and I hope you enjoyed yourself these days.

Rajashree Khalap said...

Thinking of Rufus and all of you. I know this scared feeling one always has as the dogs get older. Take care.

Peggy Frezon said...

So heartbreaking. I've been there before too. It's never easy. You and Rufus will be in my prayers. I'm sure all the attention and love you are giving him now is the best thing for him. He will always know how much you love him.

Anny said...

I am so sorry to hear about Rufus... hang in there Rufus. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Happy Easter!

Shawn Finch, DVM said...

I am here for you but wish I could be there for you. ((hugs))) Rufus is so blessed to have you.

Lavi said...

It seems we got the holiday scare, but good thing it was all ok. Thanks for the nice words!

One thing worries me... What logos are you talking about? The ads on the right? I tried to fix all the bugs so they work ok on all browsers, but if you zoom in, they will cover everything up...

georgia little pea said...

Again, thank you everyone for your thoughts and well wishes xox

Juliette and Dougie said...

Just checking in again to catch up. We said our prayers several times. Don't reply again, just wanted you to know you are still in our thoughts today.XXX