Saturday, May 8, 2010

We wait.




Another morning and to everyones intense surprise, not least my own, Digby's still with us. What a night it's been - I didn't know a little dog could be so sick, so often. This third time round the potent cocktail of piroplasmosis medications seem to have had a particularly adverse reaction . Around ten last night his eyes clouded, his breathing became raspy , and his temperature soared back up towards 40 . Both of us assumed that this was it and got on the phone to tell the family so - a first for 'the font'. The only one not in on the secret was Digby. No sooner had we put the phone down to the boys than he got to his feet and dragged himself , slowly, unsteadily but determinedly through to his bed. He's a pugilist to the end.

I'd hoped that his eyes would clearly tell me when it's time to call the vet. It's proving to be rather more difficult than that . Instead of saying ' I'm tired, it's time to go' they seem to be challenging me with a 'why ?'.

There has to be a natural end to this. We'll wait and see how he gets on today. At the moment 'the font' has the washer and dryer running non-stop and I'm positioned in the office five feet away from him. We are quite clear about what has to be done. He will not be hospitalized. The vets clinics here cater for farm animals rather than dogs and don't have staff on duty at night. This dog has never been on his own in his life - in nine years he's always had his brother or one of us around him - and it's our view that the shock of separation and the loneliness would be a huge negative for him. He'll stay here. We'll make some beef or chicken broth and try to feed him by syringe. As the vet says while he's willing to fight who are we to stop him ? Some recent e-mails have indicated that you think we're losing a sense of perspective . At this stage we disagree - caring for Digby is time consuming, it's upsetting, but it's part of the territory when you have dogs that are so integrated into the life of a family.

There is a wonderful blog in South Africa that has been a great help to us. I used to think that MaxDog was lucky to have so many days of grace. Now we're recognizing how draining the uncertainty and the highs and lows must be for the family that loves and cares for him so much. Our thoughts are not just with him but with his family. These decisions are never that easy.

47 comments:

  1. We feel your pain. Digby is such a stoic soul. Still thinking of you.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

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  2. Angus - For those who scoff

    Where to Bury a Dog

    There are various places within which a dog may be buried. We are thinking now of a setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine, and who, so far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or unworthy thought. This setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at its proper season the cherry strews petals on the green lawn of his grave. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub of the garden, is an excellent place top bury a good dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavorous bone, or lifted head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter, and it touches sentiment more than anything else.

    For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, questing, asking, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps at long and last. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land, where exhilirating cattle graze. It is all one to the dog, and all one to you, and nothing is gained, and nothing lost -- if memory lives. But there is one best place to bury a dog. One place that is best of all.

    If you bury him in this spot, the secret of which you must already have, he will come to you when you call -- come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel they should not growl at him, nor resent his coming, for he is yours and he belongs there.

    People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper pitched too fine for mere audition, who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them then, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.

    The best place to bury a good dog is in the hearty of his master.

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  3. Just listen to your own heart, and you will know what is best for dear little Digby. We think giving him the chance to fight is the right thing to do and the love you have for him will mean you know when tough decisions have to be made. We are sending love and healing purrs to Digby, and (((((hugs))))) to you. Stay strong.

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  4. Please dont listen to negative bloggers. You are doing the best for your sweet Digby, you love him and he loves you, he is in no pain, he is with the ones who love him and wants to fight on. I think this little one ir so not ready to go yet.. Fight on Digby.. Love Carol and GJ x

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  5. I so agree that these decisions don't come easy.
    Gail.

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  6. Dear Angus, I am sorry at this time of such personal pain, exhaustion and uncertainty, you have also having to deal with well-meaning but insensitive individuals who feel your actions with the dog that you know so well is their business. While we've grown to love you, The Font and the Boyz, truly we don't know you or the circumstances you are facing. So blogging friends, let's let prayers, support and loving thoughts, rather than advice and opinion, be the only things we give unsolicited and generously.

    God bless you all.

    Jane

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  7. I know that this is difficult. I have gone through a similar situation with my sweet cat (she was truly the best cat ever and I will never have another cat)... my secret prayer is that Milly and Shelby (my dogs who also happen to be my children) will live long, happy lives and drift off to sleep and not wake up... but that won't be the case and I know that. I do not ever want to have to make that decision again, because it is such a difficult one. I have always thought that the one who knows the dog best is it's owner/caregiver and that is the person who should make the decision. No one else can know. You have to follow your heart. It won't steer you wrong. He'll let you know when it's his time to go... Willow (my cat) did. I wish you strength and peace as you go through this. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Maggie

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  8. if yoiu respect the vet and like him/her....just be guided by them.........
    as a nurse I know just how "subjective" families are at times like these....be guided by the warmth and informed knowledge of the vet

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  9. As I said to you yesterday, make the decisions that are in your heart, and don't ever look back or question them. I admire yours, and especially Digby's strength and courage to continue the battle. I know how difficult it is, and the emotions all of this brings. But it's because Digby is more than "just a dog." He is a much treasured companion and family member. Do not doubt yourself that the road you are on is not the right one, and feel that you have to explain your decions. You don't owe anyone anything, you only owe it to Digby to continue to do what's best, and that is exactly what you are doing!! I continue with my vigil and prayers here in Virginia that you will have the clarity and peace of mind to not have doubts, and continue to follow your heart.

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  10. YOU know what is best for your family member. Do what your heart tells you. We all love Digby from afar. We pray for him. We also know that he is loved and he knows that too. May God be with all of you in this time and may He put his loving hand on Digby and be with him on his journey....

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  11. Dear Angus, the "Font" and the entire Digby household!

    Many folk don't understand the PRIVILEGE of being a blog READER...

    The blog writer is the one who decides what to share with the world. If a blogger chooses to share what is painful, then the reader must start to understand that they are privileged!
    Why?...because what the blogger is giving a unique opportunity of insight to those who are suffering and who will eventually suffer potentially the same situation.

    You are giving us so much! You are sharing yourself and the soul of your animals honestly and candidly! You choose to do this...for the reader's sake!...and we, as your readers, are blessed by your act!

    The saddest thing in the world is to get emails/comment from folk who want to take it upon themselves to make that decision for you! It is heartwrenching and soul destroying and makes one want to give up blogging!
    It's at those times that I say to myself...remember those who are suffering and who will suffer...it is to help them!

    Yes, I'm writing a thesis, but I think it's time that folk understand...

    Each situation with an ailing animal is unique! No two animals are alike! It is holy ground for the owner in this decision. If you are in the position where the animal has been with you for a long time and you have lovingly cared for that animal, it is your sole right to decide what's best for that animal. Others DON'T have that right!

    My job, as your reader, is to encourage you in this extremely difficult path! It is intensely painful, intensely personal and takes a huge effort to share it with the world!

    Angus...you are giving your readers a 'gift', a precious gift...the privilege of joining you on this painful journey!

    Thank you for sharing Digby's plight! You have no idea how much it strengthens us as a family here in SA...I beg you to ignore those who want to take the decision for Digby away from you!
    Be strong! Know that we love you! You are all constantly in our thoughts and prayers!

    Hugs to both your dear pooches and love to your family too!
    With love
    MAXMOM IN SA

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  12. Dear Angus,
    Please do not let yourself get disturbed by any suggestion that isn't after your heart. When it comes to your Dawg you just do what your heart says.We here can never ever imagine 'helping Ginger n Buddy cross the bridge' unless they are in pain somehow.
    do we abandon our family, our children because they are now 'taking up too much of our time or energies'?
    Clearly, Digby is a fighter. Each time i open ur blogpage,his picture tugs my heartstrings.He is so beautiful. and wilf and he make such an adorable pair.He is not just a little dog in France. He is our friend now and we all feel his pain. and yours too.
    The comment before mine says it all

    with Love and prayers,
    Ginger and Buddy's Mummy

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  13. As long as you follow your heart, whatever your decision is, it will be the right one for you & Digby...

    We are only here to support you & send our prayers...

    Your love, strength, & hope inspire us all...

    Much Love,
    Abby & her Mom xxxxxxoooooo

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  14. Angus,

    The only thing I can say after reading Maxmom's insightful words, is yes. Thank you for opening your heart to us and letting us share your joy and pain and these heartwarming/heartbreaking glimpses of your two dogs and their loving family.

    Digby will forever have a special place in my heart, as will you and Wilf and the font.

    I agree with Caryl, we are privileged that you have allowed us to accompany you on this emotional journey -- by your own words, so different from your usual tack.

    As for Digby -- I think it is he who is in charge of his own destiny and will let you know if it is time. You are doing what is right; what feels right; and we are with you.

    Love to you all

    xxx Joan

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  15. This is from Blog Mom,

    The Decision is the hardest thing in the world. I've felt I've left it too long in a case or so, but better to err that way than the other. You love Digby, you only want the best for him. That is exactly the sort of person that we all, humans and four leggers, want making our end of life decisions. It's the worst job in the world making those calls either way. Know that whatever you decide each day of this journey, you're doing what you believe is best and short of personal advice from God that's all anyone can do. You are giving all you have to Digby as he has to you and font. No matter how this turns out, please don't feel guilty or regret decisions you've made because being only human all you can do is your best each day.

    Blog Mom

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  16. Angus,

    Maxmom says it the best - you are giving us a gift. A gift that I couldn't give to my readers until the last day with Java. I don't know if I regret keeping my privacy or not. I know what a tremendous effort this takes for you, but it is also a grieving, healing process and will help you in the end.

    You gave your heart to this sweet pooch to chew on the day you brought him into your life. And when he goes, he'll take a big Digby sized hole out of it. But you will know when it's time to let him go. Trust your instincts and his.

    Hugs all around to the boyz, boys, the Font and especially you, my friend.

    Lynn

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  17. Angus - Although we all feel that we know Digby - only YOU and your family truly do. There's an intimacy and a bond that we have with our furry family members and only we can decide in the end what is best for them and for us. The others who email you are not living this moment and therefore, they can't make the decisions (or, in my opinion, suggest what decision you should make). Having been through this with a beloved cat of mine, you have to be comfortable if/when it comes time to make that decision that you have done everything you can and have done what Digby would have wanted you to do.

    As always, my prayers, hopes and thoughts are with you all today.

    Amber

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  18. It's your decision, and your decision only. Anyone that doesn't know Digby personally should not give their 'hints' that it's time for you to put him down.
    I think it is very disrespectful for them to suggest that.

    Keeping you in our hearts,
    Heather and Ellie

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  19. Digby is lucky to have a family who loves him so much and you are lucky to have him. We are sure that each day, hour, minute, second you have with Digby is a gift for all of you. The cats are sending healing purrs and Fenris has his paws crossed. We wishes we could do more. ~Alasandra & AFSS

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  20. You are doing the right thing. Every creature deserves compassion. Would you do the same for another family member? Of course you would! Just because Digby isn't human doesn't change the fact that he doesn't have the right to be treated the way you would want to be treated. That is reason enough to stick it out with him. You have certainly demonstrated your love and devotion to this little guy, as he has also done for you in the past. Keep doing what you are doing. I applaud your efforts to keep him comfortable, assure him that he is loved, and above that, keep him alive. If he makes it through this ordeal, you and he will be closer for it. God Bless!

    Liz

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  21. I was saddened to read that your actions have been questioned. Only you, your family and Digby know what's best. I agree with Lola's mom - I feel it's better to err on the side of slightly too long than too short. Digby is a fighter and will tell you when it's time. It's never easy and please know that we empathize with you and support whatever decisions you make - we don't know Digby and you know him best.

    Zona's mom

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  22. We have been in your situation sadly and we agree with what others have said.
    You know your dog.
    Take care
    xxx

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  23. Angus, Font, Wilf and dearest Digby ignore people and their ridiculous comments. Fighting for the life of a child is hard and no one outside the situation can tell you when the time is there. Seriously. We have battled with Bishops decision for almost two years now, getting his seizures under control, his new weakness. BUT everyday he is still with us and happy we realize this has been two years we have been able to still have him. That decision is not a hasty one. You two are great people, kind, caring and Digby is lucky to have the two of you. I can only hope you read more into the positive and continue to fight for Digby until YOU decide (or he decides) the time has come. Love lots, the dog farm...

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  24. We are behind you 100% and trust that you know what's best for Digby. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and Dibgy throughout the weekend. ♥♥♥ One thing: I'm not sure what "the font" is ...

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  25. Dear Angus, Font, and family, my heart and thoughts are with you. What a harrying roller coast ride this is continuing to be!!! I say "phooey" on the e-mailers who don't understand what it means to have a loyal animal as part of the family. Digby is such a fighter. You will know when/if the time is right.

    You probably already know all there is to know about canine piroplasmosis -- I was surprised to read that it can become a chronic condition:

    http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2101&aid=720

    It sure seems to be going that route with Digby. I'm hoping against all hope that he will pull through! Is a blood transfusion an option at all?

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  26. Dearest Digby, You have such a wise and wonderful family. They are following your lead, as you and their loving hearts show them. Your family, and so many others the world-over are with you sweet boy.

    Gentle pets,
    C.R.G.

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  27. It is such a difficult thing and Digby's family-you, the Font and dear wilf- are there on this damnable front line. Caryl, as usual, shows her wiseness(is that a word?) and is absolutely correct.
    Personally I do not know how you manage to share with us during this roller coaster, but am thankful that you do.
    As far as folks disagreeing, I am sorry. It is no one's business but your own. And some folks would disagree-and tell you about it-if you had taken the other route(they have me when I had to put our pup down April 12. I simpley ignored those emails and did not respond) They were not here, and they are not there.
    We are here to support y'all, your awful journey and hopefully to give the smallest bit of comfort as we "drop by".
    I am so sorry it was an awful night. I know how weary y'all are, physically and mentally. I still say Digby is teaching lessons not just to you who have loved him for 9 years but to folks from all over the world. So please ignore and delete anything that upsets you, please know we only wish to bring support to you.
    Well done Digby. Well done Angus and the Font.
    We keep you in our heart and prayers.
    Jamie and the Texas Sundogs

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  28. I am so sorry that anyone who's not there in your situation would attempt to tell you what's best for your dog! Especially at a time that's so difficult and heartwrenching. Your decision is yours and I've followed you long enough to know that you hold Wilf and Digby in great regard. When I read about the attack in your house, I can certainly understand that the bond you have with the pair of them is particularly strong. In a way, it's another chapter of what happened that night.

    I went through a very difficult illness with my heart dog two years ago and it was one of the hardest things I ever went through. I agonized over whether I was doing the right thing when we tried several treatments, and she'd always rally and bounce back, giving me hope. That day she looked at me with those tired eyes, though, I just knew. You will know, too!

    I've hoped and prayed for Digby to get better, right along with you, but I do understand that sometimes all our hopes and prayers just aren't answered in the way we want to hear. And then again, sometimes they are! If Digby wants to keep fighting, then help him as best you can!

    Sending many hugs to you!

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  29. PS I still pray Digby gives you the gift of not having to make the decision at all. Whichever way it goes, that is the gift I wish for you (and Caryl too)

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  30. What can we say but that we are there with you in thought, and absolutely agree that as long as Digby fights, you fight with him. Courage!

    From No.1 of The Poupounette

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  31. It is not just that these decisions are difficult. They are hell. I understand completely why you would never place Digby in hospital. I would feel the same way about Edward or Apple. They are such a part of a pack, and given the fact that both my husband and I work from home, they have been with us, and each other, all day, every day, always. In Edward's case, he was rescued from the streets at 9 months, shuttled around from dog pounds to shelters, and then, finally, to us. To place him in a hospital, by himself, at the lowest point of his life, would be unthinkable for us.

    Digby is your family and I know without a doubt you are taking the best care of him in this hideous situation. I just wish it wasn't happening to him. And, to you.

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  32. We lost our Crystal in January. It was a hard time for all of us but we relished every "extra" moment we had with him, as you do with Digby and Maxmom with Max. As long as there is life, there is hope, even if only a sliver. But if/when the time comes Digby is ready to go, you will recognize it.

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  33. Anyone that knows us and/or follows our bloggings is aware that I'm often moved to say

    THINGS HAPPEN FOR REASONS

    Even when you don't see it at the time -

    By sharing all of this emotional roller coaster with us, you've made others aware of the dangers of tick borne illnesses, of the care/compassion we owe our furkids, of their will to live, and at some point, their decision to let go for just now -

    Keep trusting Digby - he hasn't let you down yet -

    Thinking of ALL of you -

    Hugz&Khysses,
    Khyra and Phyll

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  34. The Bougalou BearMay 8, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    Those dark hours of the night...

    We've all been there; all we can say is that we are keeping vigil for Digby and you all.

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  35. I am so sorry you are experiencing such highs and lows - what an incredibly difficult time for you. How we admire your posts, for as we read them, we come to understand your perspective. Only you know Digby well and we are certain he will tell you when the time is right for him. It's sad to hear that you are also being hit with unsupportive commenting -
    We are thinking of you so much.
    xoxoxo Sammie, Miche and Bill

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  36. Like all else who have written, you have given us so much, a gift that has supported us and our family. Including, indirectly, our extended family. And we thank you.

    Nearly one year ago, my mother's Yorkie (this is MomaSally sharing) was diagnosed with canine cancer. Lymphoma. Throughout her body. Gramma was given her options, and at 86 years of age, considered them carefully, and opted for chemotherapy. Despite friends and neighbors who did not understand, and who still don't understand, she stood strong in her decision to treat Chloe. And now, several months after having been given the "she doesn't have much time left" verdict, little Chloe is still going strong. Failing, yes. On the emotional roller coaster, yes. But still providing quality and very important time to my elderly mother, YES! We are so grateful that my mother, Gramma, listened to her heart and that she has used little Chloe's lead as her guide. The days and weeks and months have been a wonderful gift.

    We truly understand the indescribable bond that exists. And the communication that crosses between dogs and their humans. And we trust it. And we know that you know. And we thank you so much for sharing, publicly, your personal journey. It has given us strength. And reassurance. And hope.

    Know that we are with you every day on this path. Our prayers have never ended. And they won't.

    With love,
    Sally and Nina, Jake and Fergi

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  37. Oh dear we just found out about Digby and are sending you lots of prayers and tons of love.We understand exactly what you are going through as we did the same with our last dog Reggie who was 13.....he stayed at home and we gave him what he wanted and needed...we fed him whatever his sweet little body wanted and stayed with him constantly...he had never been without us as well...You will do what you feel in your heart is the right thing to do......Follow his lead ..he is telling you....Love and kisses A+A

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  38. you are NOT losing perspective. you are following your heart and that is the right thing to do. the human that we poodles live with feels the same way as you do - no hospitalization at the end for us either. we will be with our human and she will be with us - always.

    we notice that when Dibgy is on the meds, he is sicker and when he is off them, he does better. are the meds causing side effects that are making him sicker? we aren't doctor dogs and we don't know a lot of stuff. you humans have a lot of education and brain power, so we have to trust you do know what is best.

    Digby, kiddo, you are one tough pup. hang in there and get better. we know you have it in you. we are sending you all of our special B power to get well. it's okay. and hey, anytime you decide you are tired of the fight and want to take a rest, that's okay too. we respect what you want and what your humans know is best in their hearts. we're keeping you in our hearts - your humans too, and our human too.

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  39. Isn't the whole point in relationships to enjoy and cherish every second? This is all part of Digby's life here. He is sharing it right to the end.

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  40. We're still thinking of you all. Give Digby an extra pat from us, and tell him that we really admire his fighting spirit and also yours for posting and sharing your experience of Digby getting ill with us.

    Sending love and hugs to you and all your family,
    Riley and Riley's mum.

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  41. Angus, I would never EVER question your judgment about how to handle Digby's terrible health crisis. It's so obvious how much you and the font love him that I know that you're trying to find the path that Digby wants. I've been in your shoes before... and I know how hard it can be to figure out what a beloved dog wants. But, I agree with you that as long as Digby has some fight in him, you're doing the best thing by allowing him to fight. What an amazing little dog he is with a heart the size of France.

    I'm thinking of you. My internet keeps going out so I can't always comment in a timely way but please know that you're in my thoughts.

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  42. Dear Angus,
    What Lynn told you.....how very true...I don't know if I would have the grace to allow others that close to something so personal...know that your grace will be what gives you the courage to endure, to make the decision, when you feel it in your heart.
    Over and over I agonized with Bonnie....it truly was the most difficult deciion I have ever had to make...but I made it after careful soul searching, with her wonderful vet.
    I will not pretend that is or ever will be easy...but you will know...Digby will know...and you will be at peace with your decision to let him cross over the bridge with dignity.
    We are all continuing to pray for you.
    Gentle hugs,
    Nancy & the menagerie

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  43. I've been following your story thru Petey's blog. I say to hang in there! It is exhausting for you, but I'm sure that it will be worth it for all of you, including Digby. He seems like such a sweet soul! My thoughts. prayers, and crossed paws are with you during this rough time. I'm so sorry for any negative comments you've received.
    Bocci and his Parental Unit, Joan

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  44. As has been said already only you can know the best path for your family! If Digby is willing to fight having you there as a partner can make all the difference. Trust yourself and Digby!

    Sending prayers and best wishes!

    Wags!

    Mr. Nubbin' and Family!

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  45. We'we sowwy about all you'we going thwough. We think of you and youw bwave boy and pway you find good moments and can celebwate the highs and get thwough the lows knowing we'we all thinking of you and sending love
    smoochie kisses
    ASTA

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  46. i appreciate you being so candid with the trials you are going through. you are wonderful parents to digby (and wilf), and it's clear how much you love your boyz. i have full confidence that you will make the best decisions regarding digby's care. you and the font alone are the only people who should decide if it is time to put digby to sleep. digby will let you know if it's time. please don't allow an outsider to try to convince you otherwise.

    the booker man and asa's mama

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