In October, Bailey’s cancer returned. He had done very well throughout chemo. So we were surprised when he began to lose interest in eating. A trip to the vet for blood work confirmed that his cancer had returned. We changed his treatment and he again did great.
Right around Christmas, his appetite dwindled again. We stalled – neither of us wanting to know the truth. Eventually, we brought him in for blood work and yes, his cancer had come back a second time.
No treatment options are left. And even if there was something, we are at our financial limit.
So, we created a “hospice” plan for Bailey. We stopped feeding him the yucky prescription food he’d been eating, and began feeding him rotisserie chicken mixed with brown rice and vegetables. We put him on prednisone and got something for nausea since the high calcium in his blood makes him feel barfy. We still gave him subcutaneous fluids. We gave him cupcakes for his “birthday.”
And we discussed The End.
Doug found a vet who would come to our home to euthanize him. After watching Bailey slip and fall because he did not have the strength to manage the hardwoods, and cleaning up numerous accidents on the carpet, we felt it was Time. We scheduled the appointment for that Saturday morning. The kids stayed home from school on Friday to spend the day with Bailey. Doug and I messaged each other throughout the day, questioning our decision. See, Bailey sort of…got better. When I got home from work Friday afternoon, Bailey jogged up to me with a tennis ball in his mouth, tail swishing madly behind him.
We cancelled the appointment.
I assume it’s the combination of medications and the yummy food he is getting that are keeping him going. He is definitely slower, and weaker. His skin is flaking off everywhere, and his breathing is often heavy. But he seems happy. He is eating. He (briefly) chases the other dogs. He has not had any more accidents in the house. The recent snow and ice we had here was very hard on him – his feet slid around and he lost his balance a few times. He did eat lots of snow, though.
I know his time with us is coming to an end. Every morning, I check to see if he is still breathing – and there is a part of me that wants him to just pass on in his sleep, in his bed in our bedroom. It’d be so much easier than and less traumatic than having him put down, you know?
In the meantime, I am trying to be present with him. I give him lots of “goodies.” He has become a terrible munch-mouth if anyone is eating anything. He gets to sleep on our new couches, even though sometimes we have to help him get on or off them. He is still sweet and smart, expressive and patient with the kids. He is a great, great dog.