Flashbacks of my last schnauzer, Hannah. Now Mandy. I’d just come home from picking up some things from the pharmacy, and my dad was helping me get things into the kitchen. Mandy got all excited, and passed out. I turned around, and she was on her side, legs stiff but twitchy, eyes rolled back… She let out three long, eerie cries before she got still, and I picked her up. She was limp in my arms as I carried her to the couch where she could be off of the floor, and wake up. By the time she was awake and back on her feet, nudging my dad to get her ears scratched, it had only lasted 90 seconds at the most. It felt like a lot longer.
For a few seconds when I picked her up, I thought she might be dying in my arms. Her breathing has been ‘off’ the past couple of days, and I’d already made an appointment for her at the veterinarian for Friday (of course, today’s episode happened after office hours). There hasn’t been anything specific, just ‘different’. She hasn’t been in any sort of distress (it’s probably bothering me more than her, as her activity level has been unchanged). I think her water pill dosage needs to be adjusted (up). I’ve been doing some ‘chest percussion’ which loosens up any fluids so she can cough them up. She has coughed a few times, which can be a sign of the heart failure progressing, but so far it’s not affecting her activity level. At all !
She’s still alert and interested in everything I do. I look down at her sometimes and am in awe that that sweet little dog looks up at me, and wants to be with me no matter what. And I want her around as long as possible. But I also have to have a game plan for when it’s ‘enough’. It has to be what is best for her. I had some parameters for Hannah’s ‘signs’ that it was over, and when she stopped being interested in her beloved grapes (before I found out they’re bad for dogs), that was it. Time to let go.
I’m hopeful that Mandy will be around for a while longer, but nothing in life is a guarantee. Besides death. I’ve had her since early June 2001. She was a little bit of a thing, and had me wrapped around her ‘paw’ immediately. Since I’ve been on disability, we’ve been together nearly 24/7. She is the ‘constant’ living thing in my life; I have little face to face contact with people. I don’t leave home often because of medical issues, so it’s just the two of us most of the time. I have to be thankful for the wonderful years I’ve had with her, and keep looking at what’s in her best interest. I love her too much to do anything less.
In the meantime, I can’t take anything for granted. She’s my best friend.