Tuffy arrives at the vet's for the last time.
Contrary to last night's wishful thinking, Tuffy was doing very badly by the time we came home from work tonight. So we took her to the emergency vet on site where the oncologist works.
We knew what the outcome was likely to be. We weren't wrong.
Tuffy investigates a smell before her last ride.
She was struggling to breathe, and it wasn't going to get better. Prednisone might have bought her a few days, but the emergency vet didn't think it was likely. Looking at her disease-damaged body - ears with half the hair gone, the swollen neck, the flaky skin and a new symptom in a drooping mouth - was almost as painful as listening to her puffing and wheezing. We could not put her through another hour of it, let alone an entire weekend.
Another dog collar retired, with honors.
In the end, she had to wait another hour anyway, not counting the 25-minute drive over there. First there was an examination, and some attempt to force some air into her lungs, which we didn't see (or authorize, but that's okay). Then there was the inevitable discussion, in which we quickly made it clear that we weren't going to prolong her suffering, with no real prospect of her getting any better. The tumor that was on one side three weeks ago was surrounding her esophagus and trachea. No wonder she couldn't eat. She had an IV put in, which took forever because a dog named Diesel was brought in in critical condition, and Tuffy had to wait. Then she was brought back into the room for a chance to say goodbye, which also took forever for the same reason. I hope Diesel made it.
The actual end took only a moment. She stopped breathing immediately, and the heart stopped too. It was easier than Noodle, who took awhile to die.
No more suffering, no more worrying over options and possibilities, no more second-guessing ourselves. We absolutely did the right thing. But as John said, "Knowing it's the right thing doesn't make it easy."
We intend to adopt another dog tomorrow. I don't know when the ashes will reach us.