All opinions in this post are 100% my own. I value your opinions, and I welcome them completely (even if they are not the same as mine!!) What I will not tolerate is name calling or mean comments. Please do not make them.
The end of last week was extremely tough on us and I would not wish it on anyone.
Our little girl Sammy is 13 1/2 years old. For a dog, that is a senior citizen (she would be about 80 in human years) Most of her life she has had breathing issues. Chronic bronchitis, and a collapsing trachea. Over the last couple of years she has also gained an enlarged heart, narcolepsy and nasal cancer.
For the most part Sam is still pretty healthy (I know that sounds wrong) but it's true. She eats and drinks fine, uses the potty fine, and still acts like a puppy sometimes.
Thursday morning (1:30 am) Sammy woke up coughing. If you haven't heard a dog cough before, it sounds similar to a goose honking. She has a hydrocodone cough medicine that we give her when her cough gets bad. It helps to relax her, which then helps open her airway.
The last time Sammy had an episode, she completely stopped breathing. We rushed her to the vet. She was sent to an emergency vet after that, and then sent to Tufts Medical Center. All they did for her was put her on oxygen, and give her a shot to help open the airway (a shot she has gotten before and then been sent home.) That day ended up costing us over $2000.
So on Thursday we played the wait and see game. We kept Sammy as calm as possible, gave her cough syrup through out the day, and called the vet. They said to try giving her Benedryl. Nothing seemed to be helping. Friday morning as I was taking her with me to bring Ben Jr to school, she stopped breathing. It only lasts for a couple of seconds, but feels like hours.
Even though I knew what was going to be said, I took Sam to the vet. Before we got there, she started acting more like herself and was coughing a lot less. The vet suggested x-rays to see what was going on. The x-rays showed that her trachea was almost completely closed off. The vet was going to discuss Sam with another vet, and get back to us. He said that with her age and other health problems, he didn't think there would be much he or anyone could do. This visit cost us $250.
We went home, and Sam got worse. You could clearly see she was having a very hard time breathing. She was coughing again, and her eyes turned very cloudy. We called the vet back, and after speaking to his colleague, they both agreed that surgery (which was the only option) was not wise because of her age and other health problems. We were told that the best thing to do would be to say goodbye.
As the day went on, Sam got even worse. Ben and I thought it was time. The last thing we wanted to do was have her suffer. She did not deserve that. We called each of my family members and they came over to say goodbye. We were selfish enough to want her with us as long as possible, so we decided that we would take her to the vet the next day to give us more time with her. She wasn't in pain, and with the cough meds, she was somewhat comfortable.
Saturday morning we woke up from a very fitful night, and just felt down. Sammy has been our baby for 13 years. She has done everything with us from working to vacations. She is not a dog to us, she is our baby. We just did not want to say goodbye.
Sammy woke up clearly better then she was the day before. She was coughing a lot less, and was acting more like herself. We called my family and they came back over. We all watched her get better over the next couple hours. Being a Saturday, we only had until noon to make a decision. Ben and I decided to wait and see how she was doing over the weekend. If she got worse again, then we would go back on Monday.
Here it is Tuesday, and Sammy is acting like her old self. She is eating/drinking/pottying perfectly fine, walking around, and coughs maybe two/three times a day. Nothing like before. Her eyes are not cloudy anymore, and she was even playing with her favorite toy again. I don't want to jinx it, but it seems like she is on the mend.
I am very glad that we did not go back to the vet on Saturday. To me it would have been a mistake, and we would have lost her much sooner then we should have. Of course we still live with the day to day fear that we are on borrowed time, but as long as she is herself and not in pain, we are keeping her with us.
Have you ever been faced with a tough decision like this?? How did you come to your decision?? Did money come in to play at all?? For Ben and I that is a huge factor as well. I sound horrible saying it, but her medical bills are extremely over priced and we just can not afford anymore. If we had agreed to the surgery, it would have cost over $4000. For her cancer, they wanted us to give her chemo, and that would have cost us over $10,000. What is the dollar amount for life though??
This post is written by Sarah Coulsey. She is a Wife, and Mother of two boys living in New England. This post may contain affiliate links.