My Grandma’s dog, Doobie, has been hanging in there, but he is not doing well. He has congestive heart failure and kidney failure and allergies and is mostly blind and deaf. He follows my grandma wherever she goes and sleeps with her on her bed. He often pees in her bedroom. But she absolutely loves this dog and dotes on him constantly. I know that any little stress exacerbates her dementia and confusion, and I am often torn between wishing he would die (to end his suffering and end the problem off his disgusting urine making the air unbreathable) and dreading his death and the grief and trauma it may cause Grandma.
Mostly I try not to think about it and deal with Doobie as little as possible. I let him in and out constantly when I am home, but other than that Grandma takes care of him, feeds him and brushes him and gives him his medicine. I keep her medicine upstairs because it had occurred to me it would be possible for her to get the medicine confused. Doobie’s meds have animal pictures on the caps. He gets them morning and night and she gives them to him and marks them off on a chart we have made to keep track of whether or not she has given them. It has been working pretty well.
Sunday morning, I went down to check on her and found her shaking and crying. “I just did something awful”! She had accidentally taken Doobie’s medicine. I called poison control right away and they assured her that what she had taken was harmless to her, but it was pretty upsetting for both of us. She doesn’t want to give up any more independence and wants to feel useful. All day Sunday she kept saying she was worthless. I kept reiterating that I really hope making a silly mistake doesn’t deem one worthless, or that means she has a very worthless granddaughter.
About a month ago, he had to have some routine blood work done and I asked if he could see the vet because he had been scratching and biting a spot on his back. He had a staph infection and they gave us antibiotics. When the antibiotics ran out, he was still itching so I called and they gave him some medicine for the itching. That medicine doesn’t seem to be helping either and now he has a bloody spot on his back and is scratching all over. He looks miserable. Does he have some antibiotic resistant staph? Has my grandma been taking his antibiotics herself? So it is back to the vet today.
My husband and I have joked about just replacing Doobie with a younger lhasa apso. Would my grandma even notice? Just putting Doobie out of his misery and getting a dog that looks just like him that doesn’t pee on the carpet and need all this extra care. I could never be the one to initiate that conversation at the vet though. I cried for days when I had to euthanize my son’s fish several years ago. But I secretly wish that when I take Doobie in today, that they tell us that he would be better off humanely euthanized and then I would get my grandma another dog. It seems the route of least suffering for us all.
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