Monday, May 23, 2011
Oskar was a great dog. If you've been reading this blog, you know many stories about his 12-3/4 years. So right now I'm just going to tell you how today, his last day, was really good.
Like the rest of the country we've had a lot of bad weather here lately. Today, however, turned sunny and warm. I got home from work and we had our typical weeknight routine. Check the chickens, make supper for everyone. By 6:30 Oskar was outside in the yard and I watched the evening news. Between 7 and 8 I went outside with the dogs. Ulani and I played frisbee, and Oskar did his tricks for treats. The birds sang and all was happy.
Ulani and I came inside to watch Dancing with the Stars, but Oskar stayed in the backyard as he loved to do. The evening was sunny and about 75 degrees -- just perfect.
A couple of times at commercial breaks I looked over to see Oskar in the grass by the gate, watching over all the activity in the yard. This was his favorite thing. Then about ten 'til 9 when I looked he wasn't there. Not unusual because sometimes he'd go off to make rounds.
As DWTS wrapped up I looked out and he still wasn't there. Looking a little more carefully I saw he had shifted to a different place in the grass, and was surrounded by what looked like strips of white paper. Ulani and I went outside to check and I discovered that the white was foamy spit-up. Any owner of a large, deep-chested dog should know the signs of bloat. I had him stand up and thought his chest seemed a bit extended but certainly not that basketball appearance you fear. His gums, however, were grayish. Not a good sign. And he was panting.
I quickly called Dr. Mike and arranged to meet at the hospital in 20 minutes. Oskar carefully put his front legs into the backseat and I boosted him in. Then I drove faster on country roads than I ever have. Dr. Mike examined him then took him for an xray. I paced. When they returned I was given the bad news. Oskar was bloating. I already knew that I would not opt for surgery on a dog his age. There was only one other option.
And so I sat on the floor with my big boy, sang the Puppy School song with him, had him shake hands and do a quiet bark, while the drugs took effect and he left me. It was very peaceful and I was so grateful to be able to end his suffering.
I'll have more to write in a day or two.