I’m coming out of the woodwork a bit. Actually, I’m kind of going through my old posts, making some of them private, doing a few minor edits and so forth. After being careful not to use real names on this site, I’m toying with the idea of connecting it with my other online personas (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The kids are older now, and things have changed since I started this up in 2003. (The first available posts are 2004, though… I lost a bunch of stuff transitioning servers or something at some point.)
I am leaving some of the dumb stuff, but deleting other stuff that is excruciating boring or generates a WTF? reaction. Not that I think anyone will read my ancient history, but one must be careful.
Anyway, time for a quick update. This one is about death. Today, we lost two very public figures: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. One was expected, one was sudden and shocking.
Tomorrow our family is going to experience a much more personal loss.
Our corgi, Foxxi, has been steadily declining for the past few years. The decline has become much more rapid in the past 10 months. This spring, genetic testing showed that she has Degenerative Myelopathy, a condition that affects German shepherds, corgis and boxers more commonly than other breeds. Her symptoms have been textbook. We noticed a weak back paw, which eventually turned into two weak back paws, and weakness spreading up her torso and into her front limbs.
This past month has been bad. She can no longer reach her food and water without help. She can’t move herself, and whines when we walk from room to room… she can’t follow. She wets herself and can’t move away from the puddle. She poos in the house, or even as we are carrying her. She still tries to do her business outside, but can’t always let us know she needs to go. She hasn’t had a walk in a year. She can’t drag herself anymore.
Yet she still smiles, and she still has an appetite. Which means she still is getting some joy from her life.
That has made this decision very difficult. Tomorrow we are letting her go. We are giving her extra treats and trying to make her last week as pleasant as possible. (It’s tough because she doesn’t enjoy petting and tends to bite because she’s paranoid about being touched. She tolerates being picked up and moved, thank goodness.)
When we came home from work today, Foxxi was on a towel, in a puddle. I picked her up, cleaned the mess and took her outside. Pete helped me wipe her down with cat shampoo. As he was doing that, I told her, “One more day, baby.” She turned her face towards mine and gave me a lick on the cheek — something she never does anymore.
I’m choosing to take it as a sign of her acceptance. I think she’s tired of her immobility and lack of power, and ready to move on. I hope we can all take comfort in that tomorrow.
Foxxi is our first family dog, and gave us a lot of joy over the years. She has been feisty and difficult at times, but we’ve loved her well. And I think she has loved us back.