How do we know when it is the right time to end their suffering?
I have been travelling quite a bit during this summer and when I returned home this past Thursday my wife Joyce had some disturbing news to tell me. My first response was that it was something about the kids and there drama or other financial support. I was returning from San Diego and driving home leaving the University of San Diego at 4:00 PM on a Thursday right the first day of Comic Con. My pet and walking companion Tommy pictured above had returned from his routine grooming last week and the dog groomer reported what looked like a tumor in his left ear. Well I am not one to believe the groomer so Joyce took him to the vet at 4:00 PM Thursday and had the results.
Well, we had this conversation about eight months ago when Tommy could not walk and had severe hip pain. When we took him to the Vet they wanted $500 just to run the test. My response was immediate just put him to sleep because I'm not going to pay that type of money for a dog. The Vet instead gave him a cortisone shot and then I conducted research and started to give him Glucosamine tablets for pain and joint and within three days he was fine and has not had any issues since.
But Tommy has always been itching and scratching his left ear. He was treated once when we first got him. The decision to get Tommy boy as I call him often was not my choice. I had a doberman pincer named Tomas that I had to give away because he was not allowed where we had to move after the 2008 Real Estate crash. I loved that dog and did not want another one. But Joyce wanted a dog to walk because everyone (55+) had a dog in the community and would walk around the lake with their pets. Well over time I am the one who walks Tommie. Every morning like clock work this dog would wake me up between 4:30-5:00 AM every single morning. He has an alarm clock built right inside. He uses stealth techniques to get me up each day.
First he will wake up and shake his head so that I could hear the clinging noise of his dog tags. Next, he will walk and sit by the bed side and just stare at me just waiting for me to open my eyes. Next he will jump on the bed and crawl very slowing over to my pillow and take his claw and scratch my pillow. If that doesn't work he will next climb onto the pillow and position his face about two inches from my face and just wait but not more than a minute. If that doesn't work then he just licks me in the face. That always works. So for the past seven years Tommy and I have taken long walks together about 1.5 to 2 miles a day. But time has worn on both of us and we still walk but only after I drive to the park first. He doesn't eat very well when I am away and he is always excited when I come home.
Well the doctor visit for him did not bring about good news and my initial instinct was to put him down but this time is different because it's not about the money. I have been fortunate through hard work to be a pillar in the family because I am the bank. I have spent thousands of dollars digging my kids out of crap. At first I told my wife no way! But when I got home and saw his brown eyes and how much affection this little four legged animal shows for me this 63 year old man broke down to cry. So against my logical reasoning I am choosing to make an emotional decision to try and prolong his life.
The prognosis is that Tommy has a tumor or inflammation growth in his left ear that will be removed surgically to conduct a biopsy to see if it is cancer or not. If it is only on the surface and not in the ear canal then he will be OK but restricted for about three weeks. If it is cancer and it goes beyond the surface into the ear canal then this would require more surgery and the cost is just out of this world and at that point I would have to put him down. In fact I don't want to go through this much further. I will be instructing the doctor to not wake him up if it is beyond the surface. The cost will be $1,100 dollars for this procedure on Monday at 6:30 AM. I will keep you posted.
If you really love your pet then take them for regular annual checkups like we do for ourselves.
Posted Feb 16, 2012
Dr. Jordan B smith jr.
I attended the U. S. Naval Academy from 1972-1976 earning a B.S. in Mathematics. Served 20 years both active and reserve in the US Marines. Veteran of the Desert Shield/Storm. I earned a MAED and Ed D. specializing in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2015. I graduated from CBC High School in Clayton, MO in 1972.