Thursday, February 12, 2015

Time for a sanity check

Heading out tomorrow for a couple of days of fresh salt air at the coast.  I will not be complete until I see Clark contemplating a sturgeon.

We're taking our bikes, and this is one of the sights along the seaside trail.  I'm sure there will be many other things to see as well.

Sad as it is to lose Syd, there are certainly benefits to being pet free while traveling.

  • We can easily stop anywhere along the way for a pee or scenic overlook without a lot of wrangling in and out of the car.
  • We can stay in any room.
  • I get to take my bicycle.
  • I'll be able to take more photos.
  • We can eat in restaurants or poke around in shops as we please.
  • Nobody will be eating rotten fish or crabs off of the beach.
Things will be just a bit more relaxed.  I wish he was still with us, but he's not.

Yesterday we took a day trip over to Port Townsend for lunch and a bit of muddling around.


Colorful seating

Oh Rob, why have you jilted me at the alter?


Underground pipe peeker

It was good to get out.

I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Moving on...

Oh, how we miss our Syd!  We said our goodbyes yesterday, after a very difficult couple of days with him.  I have to say, the vets at Penn Cove Veterinary Clinic are the best, especially Dr. Lark.  When we called them yesterday morning, it was looking like Dr. G would come out after work, around 5:00.  Not ideal, and to be honest we weren't sure if he would make it that long.  But there was no way we could get Syd into the car, so waiting it would be.  Dr. Lark decided he could come over on his lunch break.  It was so sad, but the time had come to end the suffering for poor Mr. Syd.

It's going to take some time to get used to the negative space and silence here at home.  We gave him the best life we could for three years, so hopefully it made up for whatever horrors he experienced before we had him.  I suspect it did.  But you don't realize how much of your life revolves around your dog until they are gone, eh?

Now we must move on though.  I've started taking a long walk every day to make up for the lack of dog walks - which frankly, didn't really resemble exercise for the last few months.  Today I walked 2.4 miles at a brisk pace.  There is hope for weight loss yet!

We had also planned to take our almost annual Darwin Day trip to the coast, but canceled last week when it became clear Syd had big problems.  Now that he's gone however, we realize we REALLY need the getaway.  We decided to go to the coast this Friday, to Long Beach.  there should be plenty of hotel rooms (even though it's lovey-dovey weekend) as we are not terribly picky - and no longer require a dog friendly room.  There's a long paved trail out there, so we're going to take our bikes.

The fresh salt air and getting away from the sad house will do wonders to help us move on.  We'll love him forever, but more than anything we're glad he's not suffering anymore.

Poor bugger.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A difficult decision

Three years ago to the day, our wonderful dog Syd came into our lives.  Our neighbor found him, and we ended up keeping him.  He was in pretty rough shape when he got here - incredibly skinny and filthy, and he had a big bite wound on his rear end.

What a face though!  We thought he wasn't too old, but couldn't ever be sure.  He started going gray, and we decided that he had lied about his age, in case we might reject him for being older than a puppy.

Syd Barrett

The last three years have been so much fun!  We've taken him on many walks, and he loves camping. It was hard to pick out a good picture, so I just went with this one taken while we watched the sunset at Kalaloch.

Syd looking like King Dog

In the past few months he has slowed down a bit, but just seemed like a typical aging dog.  And he is, I suppose.  The last few weeks he picked up a bit of a limp, and we thought maybe it was arthritis.  Then in the last few days it got progressively worse so we decided to take him to the vet.  Long story short, he has a mast cell tumor on his upper right front leg.

So what's a person to do?

We were very sad yesterday when we got the news, and we were given a variety of options:

  1. Remove just the tumor, but no guarantee of getting it all and because of the location it might not heal very well.
  2. Remove the entire leg - better chances, but no guarantee against reoccurrence or it already having spread.
  3. Referral to a doggie oncologist, full investigation & treatment options including chemotherapy and/or radiation.
We thought about it, and decided to go with the second option.  I called the vet this morning, and in tears told him what we wanted to do.  But it turned out that they would still need to send us to the doggie oncologist (in Seattle) for the surgery.  I called, and set up an appointment for a surgical consult with the potential for immediate surgery if necessary.  I asked for an estimate, and she wouldn't tell me because she wasn't familiar with our case.  I pressed - are we talking hundreds, or thousands?

Thousands.  But just $100 for the consultation!

Michael and I thought about it, and talked about it, and have decided that we cannot in our good conscience put Syd through the trauma of surgery that would debilitate him for a few weeks without the guarantee of accomplishing much and chemo/radiation were never in consideration.  Granted, at this point we don't know the extent of the cancer but it seems much more humane to give him the best possible life for as long as possible without slicing and dicing him apart.  He is quite happy now despite his limp, and surgery would destroy that.

There seems to be societal pressure or an expectation that pet owners must go to any length to prolong their pet's life - but who is that really for?  The animal, or the human?  We were also a bit bothered by the feeling that we were getting sucked into a system that preys somewhat on people who are sad and vulnerable.  Once your dog is on the operating table for a consultation and they recommend surgery, who will say no?  It seems that the only real guarantee is the pouring of dollars into the vet's bank account.  I don't begrudge them their work, but there probably aren't very many people who can truly afford that level of treatment for their pet.

Animals don't really understand what is going on, especially if you cause sickness or harm in an attempt to save them.  What they deserve is love and comfort, and that is the path we have chosen.  We will love him, spoil him, and help him be as comfortable as possible until its time for him to go.

We love our Syd!

When Syd is feeling zany, he puts on his blankie!