Day3 (2) – 4

One day I’m going to look back on all of this and dissect and analyze like I do. At this point I have 3 instances of grief/major stress to pick apart and come to conclusions about how I deal with stressful times.

Yesterday: a few yelps here and there

3:00pm: sister came by before my grandma’s 80th birthday party to visit. Liana tried to get up and yelped a bit, greeted them and then went back to lay down for the rest of their visit. Even when they were leaving, she was morose and much more lethargic than normal, to the point where they even noticed. Only got up right when everyone was at the door to go.

4:00pm: Had no problems running down the stairs for potty break. Anything dealing with the outdoors she is beyond excited to experience.

6:00pm: Went to the bathroom to change pants before walkies. Opened the bathroom door and she must have been sphinxing on the ground but got up too exuberantly. The most and loudest crying I’ve heard since Wednesday. I grabbed her leg and massaged it until she stopped crying. She was scared again and walked tentatively on the leg for the next several minutes. We took it very slow on the walk, but she perked up again after about 8 or so minutes. Remember how I said every time I get my hopes up, something happens? There you go. The crying is so gut and heart-wrenching…

7:00pm: called her in to show her a squirrel happily picking and eating my green strawberries in front of my face. She yelped coming in, but ran out and tried to Kapoom the squirrel. A small kapoom and not as fast, but the enthusiasm was there and it made me smile.

8:00pm: Didn’t want to eat her food at the bowl again, even though she was very eager to eat. Gable gobbled up his and wanted to eat hers. I tried to hand feed her (pssh of course not), so I gave her a few pieces on her bed and went to clean up the dishes. Came out to find that she had eaten those, so I brought her bowl out to her and went upstairs to get out of the way (she won’t eat with me around for some reason). Came back down to find that she had eaten everything except for the few areas I’d left fruit (nectarines and pork chops) for her. Haha. Silly girl. Made me happy.

8:20pm: Still having a very tough time making her take her medicine. I think I’m going to start spacing them out a little to see what happens. Obviously, even with all 3 pills the pain is still a thing, so either the medicine isn’t working as well, or possibly they’re not terribly significant?

9:00pm – 6:00am: Nothing to report.

6:00am: Lots of whining and phee-ing, etc on her part. She’s getting to be quite a brat when it comes time to wake up in the mornings. Once again I can’t tell if it’s because she’s just eager to go outside, or as I’ve been speculating, death’s knocking at her door especially at night and since we’re artificially prolonging her life maybe she knows it. Daytime is fine besides the odd moment where she’ll stand and just stare, but nighttime is bad for her. Could even be medications but that doesn’t make sense: she sleeps fine during the day. At night, it’s like she doesn’t sleep and will whine and whimper and get up and walk and stuff. Like if she stops moving she’ll die. Never had this problem before with her. She’s wanted to go places, but never to this degree.

7:15am: Stronger yelp right before I get out of bed to walk them, so more massaging, but no incidents while walking and she seems fine. Interested in stalking a squirrel eating moldy bread today.

Every time she cries loudly I think more and more about the moment when I have to put her down. It’s depressing. So depressing. I’ve been inside the house leaving only for dog walkies since Thursday. Honestly I think she’ll be OK, but the worry is strong and there. What if she decides to run downstairs and trips? She shows strong signs of distress when I leave or am not there, and every single time she hurts herself enough to cry out she seeks me out instantly.

You know, it’s funny, my mom is much more emotionally affected by this than I am. She told me yesterday that she realized she can’t let go of Liana, that it’s too hard. I’ve been extremely realistic…then again, I think the experience with Tristan and even my breakup and Gable’s dilemma all have prepared me well. I guess if you’re going to experience something deeply negative, it’s nice to already be in the negativity hole. Try experiencing that when your positivity meter is and has been at maximum. I can’t shake the feeling, either, that all of this is building me up for something truly catastrophic…some major heartbreak coming to us soon…I mean, it could be anything, heck I might not make it home tomorrow given the drivers around here, or a plane falling from the sky. Most likely, though, my grandparents. My grandpa is close to 90, if my grandma turned 80 this year. 87, actually. He was born in 1930.  Every time I see him he’s more and more frail. My grandma even is the same. I don’t know, but if this is any sort of preparation, it’s doing a good job. A dog is one thing, but a human? I’ve only had Liana 3 years and I feel like this. Gable I’ve had for 5 now.

Will I have more tears to shed? Probably. Haha. I’m becoming a pro at that, for realz.

One thing I will say, though: if you ever need someone in a time of grief or emergency, aside from being muscle, my brother is the worst support to have with you. He really doesn’t know what to do and his energy doesn’t help the situation. He is good for moving cars and weight around and driving.

Having dealt 3 times with death and close to death, it’s getting more familiar to me and I’ve proven to myself that I can still think clearly (for the most part) to talk to the professionals even if the tears are hard to control. Driving………..maybe not. Have to work on that part, clearing my head.

Today is Sunday. I have no reason to go anywhere (I am in the negative finances-wise, so….death is very expensive, but illness is moreso) but I was trying to think of someplace so I can test and wean her. Tomorrow we always do a grocery run, so that’s fine, but Tuesday I have to go back to work and my mom has a doctor’s appointment. Maybe I should dig out my gate? I don’t even know where it is.

Man I haven’t done a darn thing since Thursday. What a bum. Drowning myself in video games. I tried to play piano yesterday and found my fingers to be extremely unpliable. Even my finger muscles were complaining. Liana seemed to enjoy the music, though.

Day 3

1:00am: Liana yelped loudly and sought me out. She lay in my room and I fell asleep.

5:30am: Liana yelped again and came back to my room to find me, but left immediately.

7:00am: Both dogs are in my room.

8:15am: Liana tried to get up and yelped again. I figure it was time to get up to walk them, so I did. She went quickly down the stairs and kitty-dogged behind me, waiting for her leash and collar. Same as I was putting on my shoes. Gable made way for her as she wanted her place begin first out the door. She carefully navigated the porch steps and used the grass to come down the hill as usual. A little faster today, so we went our normal route. She seemed grateful for routine and normalcy. We still try to keep her pace which is roughly half our normal speed. She pooped well today, no backside weakness. Didn’t seem all the interested in squirrels today. I watched her gait and it seems the L side in general is off, more on the back L than in the past. Almost fell over peeing when she forgot she’s not totally well. I also noticed that she can’t/won’t pick up her head past a straight hold. She gets tired very quickly, breathing and panting heavily, and moving slowly just about 2-3 minutes into the walk. Ran into the house and up the stairs relatively quickly (almost like she wanted to keep up with Gable).

8:43am: Tried to give her medicine and she was just as impossible to deal with, not wanting it at all. Thought about stopping the Rimadyl as a test, but I figure it’s only been 3 days and honestly I’d hate to hear the screams again just yet. Gave her a treat today for taking her medicine and she readily takes treats.

9:00am: Discussed findings with my mom, including the new development of my noticing the L side possible deterioration of the back. I humored the idea of a stroke? but that would have happened instantly, right? And wouldn’t have manifested in knuckling of her front leg. She is definitely moving faster now and feels better overall, but is reminded and frequently sobered by the sharp pains she feels when she’s not careful. I read the medical reports they uploaded onto the app and it seems the doctor is very hopeful with an overall good prognosis.

9:25am: Went to go put mail in the mailbox by myself and while I was looking for my flip-flops, she ook-ooked loudly from atop the staircase, expressing her concern. I go out and when I come back she was busy at the window highly concerned about my return. While this is relatively normal behavior, they’re usually excited (because I normally take them with me) and not so concerned. She seemed relieved when I came back up and went to lay down again.

9:30am: Started incorporating canned food on a more regular basis to help entice her to eat. She shows much interest, but is still so food picky. She ate the 3 pieces of cut meat on top, but left the rest of the canned food (Wellsey Farms from Tristan’s leftover stock) even though she actually came into the kitchen in search of food when I was making it. I can’t tell if this is normal behavior or something amiss.

10:00am: I’m upstairs taking a breather from the dogs while my mom and brother are in the living room keeping an eye on them, when I hear her ook-ooking below. I wander down and my mom thinks that it’s because Gable took the bed she wanted, but she looks up at me with those little eyes and typically if she wants something, she just takes it or lies somewhere else (there are 4 large beds there). She displays similar behavior at night: restlessness and whining/making other noises and just standing around like she wants something or is confused. It breaks my heart a little. Every time she makes some sort of progress, something else seems to go south, renewing my worries. I can’t feel overwhelmingly hopeful about all of this. I chalked it up to the loud video game so they turned down the sound. Gable has since joined me up here.

I looked at myself in the mirror today and damn I look old. Heck, I feel it. This year has been extremely unlucky and full of heartache and stress for me…it’s only half a year done. First Gable (almost losing him), then all my patients dying on me, then my failed relationship, money troubles, house-situations troubles, my dad being an asshole, unexpected car expenses and now Liana. I have shed more tears than I ever thought I had in me, been tormented by extreme feelings and emotions, and I don’t believe for an instant that it’s over. The thought crossed me: is it just fate, luck or karma? I can’t help but remember that it is the year of the Rooster–the worst year for my sign–and all the negative fortunes I had for New Year’s this year.

I don’t doubt that I’ll make it, because I’m not one to lie down and just give up, but good golly these ruts are really taxing. The road ahead is extremely daunting and full of obstacles, but I know smoother roads will be there. Someday. Right? Buh.

 

A Test

Tonight I’m back in my own bed and my babies are upstairs with me. It’s really nice to be on a bed again. As much as I love that couch, being on it for 48 hours was really starting to mess with me physically and mentally. I asked my mom if I could have it when I finally get my own place. She’s OK with that. I basically have my DNA all over that thing because I was there when we first picked and bought it and I’ve been on it ever since.

I want my girl in my room with me, but she went to her usual place. She’s much faster today all around and aside from the scare this  morning where her backside wouldn’t obey her, she’s been overall good and even better…to the point where she’s starting to forget she has to take it easy. Had a little reminder midday when she got up suddenly and yelped. Her leg still isn’t as useful as I’d like it to, but she’s putting a good amount of weight on it and taking stairs more like a pro. Still fighting me with the pills, but she’s eager to eat and was standing and waiting for dinner today. She was even forcing Gable out of the way to be first out the door! Oh my old lady.

Despite the great progress in 2 days (Gable’s month of depressing behavior vs a few days with her? Geez.) the overwhelming knowledge that this may still not end well for her, artificially extending her life with medications, hovers like a weight in my heart and my mind. She doesn’t realize what the medications are doing for her and if the spinal problem is the real deal and doesn’t ease, how can I make the decision to end her life when she’s loving life again? Stop the medications and bring back the excruciating  pain? That’s terrible! Or bring her to the vet when she’s feeling great and then saying, oh goodbye Liana. She won’t understand! She would’ve been fine dying on Wednesday because she definitely wanted to die then, but the medications are making her feel fantastic now…back to normal, which is exactly what she wants. To be normal again.

…Gable was playing with toys today and she very much wanted to play with him, but her body isn’t 100% back to health and she realized that. I had to stop him to from playing to not tempt her.

She’s like me: what’s the point of living life when you have to hold back?

Well one thing is for sure: since this whole drama started I haven’t had to be tormented by my breakup. Unfortunately now that it’s less of a problem and I can think of other things, it’s coming back into my consciousness. Yesterday an E-harmony commercial came on TV and my mom looked at me. I pretended to not notice but I could feel the intention. We were talking about how taking care of Liana like I have, staying up with her, taking care of her and getting no sleep because of her is just like doing the same with kids when they’re sick. It moved on to back pain and muscle pain. Then she says, remember that. Remember the back pain because it’s much worse when you have kids. And I’m like, HUH? Where’d that come from?? She repeatedly hints at me having kids and I keep telling her that I already have dogs. Sounds like she wants me to try getting into a relationship again and to have kids. Wut. Where did this whole kids thing come in? She must think I’d make a good mom. I admit that ever since I started dating M my stance on kids has relaxed a bit. But it’s still not a yes. Then again it stopped being an adamant no.

Sigh. It’s weird. Part of me is not ready to be in a relationship again and part of me is eager to try once more. My current situation is ill-suited to a suitor and I’m sticking with that for now, but more and more it’s nagging at me. Heck, I haven’t even given M back his stuff yet! It has almost been a month, but not even!

So am I over him? Yes and no. Distance has indeed made me realize that he never cared for me as much as I wanted him to. Then again, that obligation I held to him was probably a big reason it didn’t work well from my part. I made assumptions, expected things a certain way and we didn’t see eye to eye on some major things. While it’d true that two people shouldn’t have to have the exact same interests, you have to have something in common, or at least be willing. I always thought I was a very willing person; I love adventures and trying new things…but there were certainly times I should have relented instead of put up a wall. There were so many flaws. Do I still love him as much as I kept claiming over and over again, now that we’ve been apart almost a month? I do. I still love him. If I didn’t, it wouldn’t hurt so much when he responds curtly to my texts or whenever I see a Facebook post from him. Then I start to feel the resentment again and it bolsters my resolve about the decision I made to break it off. I still remember his surprise when he said, “you want a break?” It stuck with me because it wasn’t a break I wanted…it was a break up…I still don’t know exactly what he feels in all of this and it bothers me. Did he ever love me? Or was I just another girl? A nice person, who did things for him, thought of him, gave him things, wished the world for him. I really hope I meant…mean more to him than that. Because I still love him and that won’t change. When I finally see him in person, I guarantee I’ll still feel it and strongly at that. I’ll never get over you, but I’m OK with that. I read somewhere that men are quick to forget but not forgive, while women forgive easier than they forget.

Boy, it does feel like crap, though, to feel like I’ve just been thrown aside like an unwanted toy, unable to compete with other, more interesting things.

I’d love for someone to fawn over me and adore me and think the world of me…is it a mistake to treat someone like that? Maybe people don’t want that? Sigh. I guess I could’ve been obsessed, creepy, over-enthusiastic with my love. I just…all or nothing, you know? What’s the point of doing anything when you can’t put all you’ve got into it?

Well. I hold out hope that someone is out there for me that is in my vicinity, and not across the country. Also that my life situation stabilizes and I am able to try again without so many detrimental factors this time. That clock just keeps ticking.

I’m so so glad my girl is happy again. I just can’t shake that overshadowing negativity…is it foreboding? Honestly if I could have one wish right now, it’d be that I could have both dogs with me for the beach trip…probably our last beach trip to Topsail…and with dogs in general. If I could have a second, it’d be that I could tidy up this whole house ordeal and be done and sold with it.

…I guess that’s one good thing about not having Liana around anymore: there’s no reason to keep the other house at all. Gable doesn’t need it. Just her. Not that it would be any use to her now anyways… I don’t want to think about it.

My mom accused me of not being positive thinking about her today. I told her that I’m a realist. I think realistically. No point in glossing everything over. No point in painting bleak pictures either, though if I had to choose on the positive to negative scale, I’d probably place myself closer to negative than positive.

Hope does keep me alive and happy. Necessary for a happy life. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Words to live by.

 

Friday

These day posts are starting to get old, huh?

Yesterday morning was just awful. She was miserable, I was miserable and Gable continued to act like she wasn’t even existing. It got so bad I thought hard about calling the vet to make the decision to put her down. Even if she had shown interest in food and water (despite not eating anyways) she was in a lot of pain. I started feeling awful and powerless because I couldn’t do anything to help her. However, I was waiting for the vet to call anyways with bloodwork results, so I thought I’d wait until then. It was a sunny day so I let them outside and sat there with them a little before letting them do their thing (she never liked me sitting out there with them). She seemed so happy, watching the leaves fall, the birds fly, hear them sing, listen to the work guys next door and the sun shining on them. Then the vet called and I was sad, but turns out it was just the receptionist asking if everything was OK.

I played video games all day, sad, but then around 2/3ish she started perking up. She barked at a dog walking outside. She realized she could sit up without crying out in pain so she assumed the position she likes the most. Everything really started looking up when she reached around to lick her bottom. My heart lightened.

Then that evening my mom helped me walk them because Gable needed a longer walk. She tried hard, really hard, to keep walking with us. Then she pooped! That made me soooo happy! SHe still kept wanting to go to the trees, though.

Last night, I was able to sleep a lot more. She still whimpered and whined most of the night. At one point she startled awake, stood there a bit and decided to run up the stairs which shot me out of sleep. I stood at the bottom of the stairs and she came back down. It was like she woke up and thought she was supposed to be upstairs, not realizing I was still down there. She lay down again and I tried to sleep, but I hear a small yelp and turn to see her roaching!!! I had to go rub her belly then and got back onto the couch. I could hear her flop over and she proceeded to melt off the bed like she usually does until she gets up and goes to sleep again.

On the walk this morning she pooped again, but then here comes the worrisome part: It was wet and runny and she’d walk a few steps and try to poop a few drips, walk and drip and walk nd drip. We walked slowly and when we turned around, she tried to poop water again, except this time she couldn’t get her behind to stand up. Multiple times. I had to help. Came home, she wanted to see squirrels and got inside and up ok.

I was happy but worried again. Her spirits are high, but is her body failing more? She’s obviously not feeling pain as much. No matter what she needs to eat. And she did.

This is so hard. If she degrades more tomorrow, I’m going to have to make the call. We decided that because I need to make sure she doesn’t run around like she did last night, I’m not going to my grandma’s bday party tomorrow. The rear end weakness worries me a lot. I’m hoping it was just pain from the diarrhea.

She’s also starting to decide that she doesn’t want the medicine. I don’t think the side effects are fair for her to keep using them long term.

In other news, though, Gable acknowledged her this morning by smelling her butt. He always smells her butt, but he hadn’t done it the last few days. To me that means that she stopped wishing to die, but I know that she knows that the end is still hovering. She’s constantly whining like she wants to go do something. All night long. Like she realizes her time is short. On a normal day they’re always always sleeping, so there’s no real difference there.I am more and more convinced that it truly is a spine problem and not a muscle thing. That means that there is no real treatment besides costly surgery.

My baby girl. I’m glad you feel better and more comfortable.

The End?

As I was working yesterday I was waiting, waiting because I just knew my mom would text me something bad about my girl. Trusting that gut. After noon passed, I thought maybe the worst was over and I started to relax, but then my mom calls the office as an emergency and my worst fears were confirmed. We had just secured Friday with a temp for me, but I had to ask for today (Thursday) off. As fate would have it, the dentist’s patient didn’t come so he took my last patient for me and off I ran. Cried pretty much the entire drive home.

When I finally get inside the home, it was just like Tristan all over again. She tried to get up and greet me, but my mom was holding her back because she’d been crying in severe pain all day. I tearfully called the vet even though I tried to remain calm, and they told me to come over. My brother helped me bring her (got chased after by some moron in a Sorento because I cut her off. Can you believe she FOLLOWED me all the way to the vet just so she could confront me? Except she was scared and stayed in the car the whole time. In the mean time she was definitely not in the lane when I was trying to change lanes. Must’ve been doing 60mph or something. Plus, I was almost crashed into by a massive pickup forcing itself into my lane too, it’s not like people around here don’t cut you off all the time. I was so infuriated by her and in grief I managed to carry Liana all the way into the vet on my own. Amazing strength anger gives you) and she was freaking out the whole time and lying down which is very atypical of her at the vet.

Vet agreed with me about her toughness because she didn’t indicate consistently about what hurt her. Got xrays, gave her a pain shot, and the suspicion was slipped disc. Radiographs ruled out osteosarcoma, the biggest fear. Basically it most likely is a slipped disc, you’d need an MRI to know for sure. Other things it could be is just pinched nerve or even neural tumor. Treatment entails medications (gabapentin, muscle relaxer and Rimadyl) and rest for 10 days then re-evaluate. Cause? Could honestly be anything. More than likely her spirited romping on Saturday. About $800 later I was able to take her home. It was a relief but also a major worry that I was able to take her home, because when it comes down to it, I already know from 2 sources what it takes to deal with spinal surgery. $15,000 straight up and MRI too? I can’t. Just can not. Afford that.

That’s where the decision has to be made. Say I do the surgery to save her. She’s 9. She’s a large dog. 10-12 year lifespan. There’s recovery, there’s a chance she doesn’t make it out of surgery or has the same problem Gable does with bleeding (apparently he’s a big celebrity at my vet’s office too about that). Now my side of it, I’m losing even more work and have a massive debt that there’s no way I could pay off unless I sell my house. Which I can’t. And what quality of life is it without surgery? Not a good one at all. Always tiptoeing around stairs or not being able to run or chase squirrels. She’s like me in that she’s all or nothing. It sucks more than anything to know you’re capable of something but having to hold back. Is that living? Who would I be prolonging her life for then? Me or her?

When I got home yesterday, I went to take Gable out for a second walk because he didn’t poop for my mom and he was being Velcro dog with me. Liana was adamant about coming along, so I promised we wouldn’t go far at all. She was very excited and hurried along with us onto the grass. Then, she didn’t want to go anymore. She didn’t want to go forward and she didn’t want to go back. She just wanted to go towards the trees and lay down. I’ve never been more sure in anything, knowing she was ready and willing to die. Just like Tristan. I tried to carry her back, but she was a dead weight and so unbelievably heavy. Eventually my mom came looking for me and had to get my brother to carry her back into the house again. He dropped her at the door and I had to help. She must have been being a dead weight again. Back inside, she lay down and refused to do anything else. No water, no food. Forced some water down her, but she was tachycardic and breathing unbelievably heavily until almost 11pm. Forced the pills down her around 8pm…didn’t seem to make much of a difference in sedating her at all. Lots of screaming every time she tried to move. Her eyes, though, were the worst. They were wild and staring, unfocused, never closing. Gable treated her like she was basically nonexistent.

She wanted to die, I think, very badly. The pain must be unbearably excruciating, even with the pain shot.

Watching her last night and sleeping in the living room with her through the night, experiencing even worse cries and screaming than I’ve ever heard from her as she tried to turn onto her other side. She whimpered basically all night and didn’t move again. At one point I lay on the floor beside her, I could sense a fear like she didn’t want to be alone, a little disorientation.

This morning she was extremely hesitant to do anything, but I asked her to get up. She refused water again, but willingly went down the stairs with me to the backyard. She just wants to be outside. Just stood there for a while, staring at the gate, and then came back in. She couldn’t do the stairs up so I had to walk her slowly up. She lay down on the big bed like she’d wanted to all night, so I napped for a little. Then my mom gets up and I’m able to walk Gable by himself quickly before she has to leave for work. I couldn’t help but break down on the walk. It was just me and my boy again and the prospect of that in the near future was so painful. When we come back home, Liana is standing up in her bed. She had eaten one small piece of chicken. I go take a shower and come back down to see her standing up on her own again. My mom was gone but looks like Liana wants to go on a walk. I gear her up, swatting at Gable to stay (silly boy) and slowly walk her out. She’s looking out at the grass again so I take her behind the house to the quad area. She pees a bit, smells things, watches squirrels. Limps, trips, slowly makes her way around. Looks like she wants to lay out there too, but this time she comes back slowly with me. When I turn to go into the house, she pauses, looks at the trees again and then goes into the house with me. She stands and waits where I usually take off their collars, then goes in to drink water like we always do. My heart is light at that. She then proceeds to sniff around for food. I go to prepare some food, but she still refuses to eat out of my hand or the bowl and only eats 2 small pieces of beef (Gable poohpoohs his altogether, the snot). Forced her to take her meds again, and…that’s where we are right now. They’re both napping.

Now I’m unsure of what will happen. I was settled in thinking she had given up on life altogether, but this new improvement is heartening while disheartening at the same time. Heartening in that she feels better, but disheartening in that putting her down would be extremely difficult, knowing there’s a chance and that she wants to live again.

There’s always the hope that it really is just muscular-based and with the relaxers, pain meds and rest it will be all better. My patient with a similar issue said that eventually it just went away in her dog, and good, too, because they wouldn’t have been able to do the $15,000 either.. I’m so glad for my patients. However, I’m nothing but realistic and always planning for the worst. That’s twice now that I’ve been faced with possibly not taking them home again, but I have been able to. In this case, it’s not over and the possibility of losing her is still extremely high, but I have some more time at least.

Sometimes it’s worse, having more time, but always better than a surprise.

When they were playing and romping on Saturday, I remember thinking to myself,  how blessed I am to be able to see this because this might be the last time I ever see that. Then I decided against going to get my phone to video it because I didn’t want to miss a second of it, to always have it in my mind. Got to play with her and him and watch them be as happy as greyhounds can be. I did think it strange that she ran as hard as she did, I fully expected her to stop after one lap, but she kept going, almost like she knew it would be her last, too. Even earlier this year she hadn’t run that hard. Of course, I almost wish I’d stopped her and we could have avoided all of this, but I’m sure if it wasn’t this than something else would’ve done it. At least she was happy doing what she loved most.

Well, for now, she feels better. No screaming today, just yelping. I know I’m just delaying the inevitable, but I’ll hold out hope. We have 10 days. She’s a stubborn, stoic dog. The most stubborn and stoic I’ve seen and may ever see. Cesar Millan says truly stubborn dogs are very rare, but I am convinced she is one. My tough old lady.

An overwhelming calm???

I don’t know what to feel right now in regards to Liana. I just don’t feel worried or depressed or anything. In fact, I feel…nothing, like everything’s OK. Usually I’ll get an overall sense of forboding before something bad happens, like before Gable’s foot where I was worried about him for months.

In a way, maybe that’s a good thing because my gut is usually correct, but in this case I can’t tell if my goal of hardening my heart to emotion post-M is just successful or not. Certainly my emotions don’t run the extremes much anymore. I get mad in the car, but it’s only for an instant. I get irritated at work, but it leaves me very soon. When I hear about something sad it doesn’t affect me much, like I’m hearing just a statement. Do funny things seem funny? I don’t know…I’ll have to pay more attention to it. My cynicism still works well, though.

It’s painful to hear her yelps when she tries to stand up, to watch her limp and try to keep up on walks, to watch her carefully pick her way up the steps. She knows that she’s lame now, so she’s stepped down from her alpha status, handing it over to Gable. She tries to be inconspicuous too, so that we won’t kick her out of the pack. Dog law says that injuries and lameness result in exile from the pack because the group can’t afford to take care of the weakest link.

In the meantime she still gets excited to go on walks (careful, but excited), she still wants to stalk critters, still likes treats and good food, still enjoys a good belly rub.As I consider the worst case scenario and what to do, I have to take her will to live and quality of life into consideration.

Last night, I upped the resistance on my Total Gym and resolved to really put myself into my workouts again. If I need to carry her home one day, I need to be able to do it. She’s lighter than Gable so the goal isn’t so farfetched or intimidating.

Trying to find a temp at work so I can take her in. I can’t afford this. These dogs…

Can 2017 get any more dramatic?

Really? REALLY!!!!!!!!????

Spent last night watching music videos with the family, but everything was overshadowed by this new development. Even my constant internal heart battle takes a sideline for this.

Starting yesterday, Liana is limping. I thought Sunday afternoon’s walk where she was dragging was the result of heat, and similarly Monday morning. But she was acting funny yesterday in the house afterwards too. In fact, in retrospect she’d been a bit like that even Sunday night. She was lethargic, and she was napping in weird places, not really wanting to get up. Even on the morning walk she wasn’t interested in being mad at her mortal dog enemy the old man with the black dog. Her attention to critters is still around, but the intensity isn’t the same. Even when I was feeding her bits of good food, it was effort to get up. Things really became evident when I went to go walk them that afternoon. She was visibly limping then, holding her paw to me. My heart sank to my feet at that, but I tried come up with a simpler solution like maybe an external wound. We went on the walk which wasn’t going to be long anyways owing to the heat, and she was slower than she’s ever been in her life. It was truly heartbreaking to see that. Gable was busy being oblivious, of course. She walked like she was about to fall over and every so often her foot would just flip over while walking. We get home and I check and examine her all over, testing joints, trimming claws, doing a nerve test. Nothing was amiss. She could feel on them, she didn’t flinch anywhere and to me, at least, the joints and bones didn’t show any swelling.

And that is the reason why I worry. Osteosarcoma is cancer and it really doesn’t hurt until they start affecting joints and acts like walking and running. Liana is a tough dog, so when she says something hurts, you listen. The little yips and whines whenever she tried to get up or turn around….they’re scary. Very scary.

I can’t afford cancer treatment and if I have to go the route of amputation I have to cancel the vacation trip.

But, for the moment, I will keep an eye on her instead. I’m hoping and praying that it’s just a sprain or muscle aching from her crazy dog running Saturday night. She’s an old lady and spirited running, her body doesn’t tolerate like it used to, silly girl. Gave her some old Rimadyl last night to try and help relieve pain and it seemed to be better when we went down for last potty before bed.

This morning she came into my room and I reached out to touch her and poked her in the eye instead, making her yip loudly, but when she tried to get up, same yip. However, the walk was much faster paced than last night. She was careful on the stairs and uneven terrain and her desire for squirrel tracking hasn’t waned. She knows that she can’t race after them, so she chooses to stealth them instead. Clever girl… I watched her trying her best to keep up with me and Gable as if she wasn’t in pain, but her gait tells a slightly painful story. I’m hopeful that she feels better.

I was prepared for Gable not to make it to the beach, although I hope he does, but I did not in a million years plan on losing her just yet. …it looks like I need to plan for it after all. The desperation I feel for needing them to make it on what I already knew and know would be their last beach vacation with us, is oh so strong.

I’m not sure how much more pain I can endure this year. Pain and sorrow. Then again, getting it all out at once is possibly beneficial instead of a prolonged and extended pain?

No, no, happy thoughts, hopeful thoughts.

I’m going to enjoy her and him while they’re still with me.