This link is a short video of Nell, our Collie that we said goodbye to last Friday. The video was taken on Friday. She probably had a minor stroke at some point before she came to us. You may be able to see that she sort of wanders a bit aimlessly and that’s why Jim Melton is turning her back towards the camera. Nell would also get stuck in a corner of the yard and need to be rescued. Nell came to us in February, I believe, weighing in at over 90lbs. That was not only awful because she was grossly overweight at that size but also because she was coping with arthritis especially in her hip joints. You can see the difficulty she has walking in this short clip even though she’s on an anti-inflammatory medication.
Nell’s foster Mom, Sally, did a wonderful job with her, which wasn’t easy. She picked up Nell from the Salt Lake County animal shelter who had found her in a parking lot next door. Sally knew immediately that Nell was in very bad shape and arranged to take her into Cottonwood Animal Hospital that same day. Sally’s instincts were perfect. Not only was Nell terribly overweight but she was suffering from hypothyroidism (low thyroid) probably for some length of time. Nell was also fighting a raging urinary track infection which led to her being incontinent. Don’t we all love to come home from a long and unrewarding day at work to find that we have to spend our evening cleaning? But Sally hung in there and even laughed over the way Nell would use her muzzle to gather up all the potty pads Sally put down to prevent the nightly clean-up, and then Nell would use the pile of pads like a nest…and the bare floors to pee on! After several rounds of antibiotics to clear up the UTI Nell was put on Prolin for her incontinence. It helped some.
Nell’s coat was so matted when she came to us that she needed to be shaved by our only trusted groomer, Julene Mathews. You can see that Nell’s hair was starting to grow back. I think her panting was probably due to the fact that we finally had a few warmer days, her water bowl was a little difficult for her to get to given her arthritic joints (and Nell was a water drinker), she was showing signs of a skin infection that needed to be treated, she was still overweight, and of course, she had pain from her arthritis.
On the way to the vet’s office that day I stayed in the back of our Pathfinder with Nell. I laid down next to her and cuddled right up against her body. With the air conditioning on, it wasn’t too warm for either of us. I stroked her muzzle and talked into her ear even though she was deaf. She was enjoying it.
There were many ways in which Nell needed assistance. It’s likely she’d need ongoing medical attention and a certain amount of vigilance regarding her medical needs. This, in addition to her incontinence. Despite the fact that Nell had become very high maintenance I didn’t believe it was her time to go.
To Nell and all other seniors like her, the special facilities required that will meet your needs and allow you to enjoy the time you have left, are lacking. I am not just sorry, but deeply ashamed. I grieve for you and I grieve for the time you lost.
As we came to our decision at the vet’s office and had the vet techs insert the IV for the later injection, we held Nell, talked to her, but most importantly, we fed her pieces of hot dog which we purchased specifically to distract her and help her get through the process. No dog enjoys getting an IV inserted and the hot dogs before and after helped Nell to forget about that discomfort. Nell got through almost a whole package of hot dogs, which we continued to feed her, while she was being injected, until there was no more Nell.
I wish I had been videotaping from the moment we walked into the examination room at the vet’s office. That may sound ghoulish to some. I thought, if people could see the process every step of the way, maybe the breeders who don’t take back their offspring at any age, might reconsider breeding?
We not only want our adopters and others to be the kind of people who’ll hold their dog through their last moments (as opposed to those who can’t handle it) but to know that there are ways to help alleviate some of their dog’s anxiety and fear that comes from being at the vet’s office and getting an IV inserted.
Now I’m rambling…so I’ll stop here
- Barbara Edelberg
Above is Nell laying on her favorite blanket. She was laying on it at the vet’s office too.