deep thinking today

Posted: September 19, 2008 at 6:25 am

laura very kindly called last night to say she was putting the barn guys to bed so i promptly had a hot bath and fell asleep on the couch. i woke up ay 10 pm and toddled on off to bed….wait a minute…i hadn’t fed oka or done the bedtime meds, jesse still needed a walk…couldn’t go to bed yet…what was i thinking?????

cuddles, beau. chyna, eddie, tang and julie were none to happy when i wrecked all their perfect sleeping spots to get up again…sorry, but oh well they did all find just as good ones eventually again.

tugs and sparky are so wrecked that this morning i realized exactly how much. sparky was curled up on the kitchen floor with tugs wandering and circling around. he finally bumped into his friend which stopped his aimless circles and proceeded to pee…he was unaware he was peeing on sparky…she was unaware of where that warm wetness was coming from…..it is too chilly to bath her this morning so i just dried her off til i get home from work.

it bothers me, this extreme level of dementia that both of these dogs are living in. it makes them so very vulnerable in every single way….i have been struggling with what to do…is it time to euthanize or do i wait? neither one is unhappy and that can be a good thing with dementia. some as they lose their abilities to process and reason live in constant fear and anxiety but tugs and sparky do quite well as long as i keep them in a relatively quiet, consistent and safe space.

i think that with both tugs and sparky, the time is drawing quite near and so i begin the planning phase to figure out how to do this without upsetting them in any way.
and then there is raymond….same problem, different dog. except raymond does have a certain level of anxiety going on.

with all of them, it is critical to do a home euth. to minimize any fear. and here is the practical side of rescue that we prefer not to consider. the cost of a home euth, independent of after death care is $200 per house call. i have done it before when there were two,  both ready to pass at the same time. i can’t remember if we have done three in the same day before..i remember struggling with it but can’t remember if it actually happened. but i hate multiple euth’s on the same day…it just seems so cold heartedly convenient. probably because it is.

i try to remember that the animals don’t give a shit about who dies on the very same day…if it is their time to go, then it is their time to go and they really don’t care about much else as long as it is gentle and peaceful. but…i am not the one passing, i am the one that has to decide and then plan it well. and i would feel better inside myself planning each one individually rather than as a group.

so who is this about?…what works best for the animals involved? yes.

the best for saints as a whole? yes.

the best for human needs? not really.

ok, i got that clear in my head now.

that question that shelley asked has been bothering me alot…what HAVE i changed my mind about?

firstly, i change my mind about stuff all the time, every day but it is little things and i don’t think the question is about that at all. i think the question is about something BIG. and here is what i am thinking about today.

i used to believe that kindness alone could make a huge positive difference. but then i learned that kindness alone can just prolong or cause more pain. there has to be a level of cold hearted reasoning behind every single act of kindness or you can just make things worse.

i was reading on-line about the troops in afganistan who are adopting homeless animals and keeping them as pets. the article said it was good for the troops morale and the animals were cared for too. except…what happens to most of these animals once the troops head back home? how many of them had their lives positively changed forever and how many of them will return to the streets?

for the ones who return to the streets, something big has changed. before they expected that life was brutal, that they were probably always step away from death and starvation…they expect it because that was the reality, they didn’t know it could be any other way. so now they have been loved and cared for, they may have lost that survival independent of human edge and they have made a deep human bond…what happens when that is gone again? do they miss it? do they grieve? do they feel abandoned, lost and confused?

was that act of kindness really kind at all or will it just ultimately cause them an added, deeper and more difficult pain?

10 years ago, i would have said…help them, feed them. hold them in your arms…i think now i would say leave them alone, don’t hurt them worse because your soft heart can’t bear to see their reality that they have to survive thru again when you have gone away.

5 Comments on "deep thinking today"

  • shelley says

    Sorry to have stuck that question in your craw Carol, but I knew you’d give an interesting answer. And you did.

  • jane says

    i think this is true.

    i was married and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. i believed that as long as there was love, everything was solvable.
    not true.
    love is a starting point but it’s hard work and hard decisions.

  • Barbara DeMott says

    Carol,
    I would like you to talk more about the dementia thing. We are experiencing that with our 18-20 year old rescue cat. At first we thought it was just her hyperthyroidism but that is more or less stabilized. Now she is doing so many reckless things (like going on the stove top!) that she never did before. When is enough with the mental aspect of aging? Or is it for our convenience?

  • Carol says

    i don’t think it is ever for our convenience…at least not if we truly care about them and their well being…but it is a two part equation…their quality of life and ours too. sometimes the worry, the burden of the responsibility and just trying to get it right somehow… eventually gets too heavy to bear…(like with clyde for me)and when it gets too heavy, we really aren’t able to do our best for them anymore anyway. so it is not always just when they are ready to go but sometimes it is when we need to let them go that matters too.

  • Barbara DeMott says

    Thanks Carol. sometimes it is hard to weed it all out. Are they just bonkers but still having a good time? and if so, at what cost to all the others?
    It has been hard taking care of her and going back and forth to the cancer agency in Vancouver from Pender Harbour especially since my pet sitter is now also ill. At a certain point, I guess I will have to decide but I am not ready yet.

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