Friday, 11 September 2015

A Letter From Me, On Arnold's Death

Dear XXXX,

I put Arnold to sleep today. I called the vets from Gasing, they came over and did it as gently as possible as I held him. And right to the end, I don't know if I was doing the right thing,

He had been failing for a while.First, his back legs...they became was spinal I think, and his legs started to atrophy, shrink. And then, maybe because of the same spinal injury he could no longer pee on his own...I didn't know this until he started overflowing everywhere and when I took him to the vet, they catheterised him and syringed out three whole kidney bowls of pee. And Dr Adda told me I would have to "express his bladder" three times a day. Have you ever tried to express a bladder? I don't mind the fact that when I actually press something relevant, the pee shoots out straight at me, drenching my hands or legs or clothes. What I do mind is the fact that I don't know how to do it need to do it until all the pee has been expressed. I was crap at it.

And then his bowels stopped moving as well. One night we were away for a memorial and came back to Arnold having purged all over...that was Saturday. And then, nothing. I could feel the revolutions in his tummy every time I fed him, but he was not able to push all the stuff out. And for the past few days, it has been chicken rice, the char siew and when it was available, the siew yok. When I first found him...that was his favourite food...and it had been such a long time since I had given it to him. I tried the raw food thing and although Arnold responded at first....he soon started turning his face away. He lost so much weight.

And he was failing...his breathing was laboured and he couldn't sleep. I would wake up to find him staring at me, or staring straight ahead. I would pat him, stroke his soft black fur and he would look at me...suffering.

It was like my mother all over again. I was helpless. I didn't know what to do. The acupuncture I took him for worked for one session...and then his decline accelerated. Nothing worked.

And yet, when the vet called today to say she was ready to come over, Arnold, who had been resting his head peacefully on my lap, got agitated. He didn't want to go. Not yet. He wanted to go in his own time. And I had gone back and forth so much about this...watching him so carefully, trying to do what was best for him, not what was convenient for me.

And last night, when his breathing got bad, and he was suffering so...I decided to stop faffing around. I would do it, I would carry it through. A friend told me it was not distressing..he would just fall asleep. And he did...although I don't think he liked having the vet and her assistant over. But he went peacefully.

I, on the other hand, was a mess. I don't know how to be dignified when my dog is dying and my heart is breaking.

And so, he's gone. I hope to a better place, I hope he's running free somewhere, finally, reuniting with all those people he loved, perhaps, his old mistress who may have died (I don't think anyone could abandon this dog) or Sabrina, who ran the shelter he was at for a month (he loved Sabrina to the point of obsession), maybe my mother will lean over and pat his little head (can dogs talk in heaven?) and then, there's Maggot, who died on May 1.

I loved him so much and I did my best. It was an inadequate best but it was my best.


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