My dear, sweet girl, we are quickly approaching the time when we will say good-bye to one another.
Hard to believe we’ve lived together for six months; it seems like only yesterday I met the rescue group representative at their vet clinic to pick you up and bring you home. You were scared, but that was to be expected. They’d put a thick sweater on you though it wasn’t cold. I later figured it was to hide the massive lipoma on your chest because you hate wearing anything resembling clothing.
You and I never truly bonded and at first I didn’t know why. I took you to the vet to see if there was something physically wrong. I felt guilty, wondering if my depression was the cause. I contemplated returning you to the rescue because I felt you weren’t happy here.
Instead we kept trying. Only after a significant deterioration in your demeanor was our vet certain Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome was the culprit. I now believe you had it all along. The vet prescribed Selegiline and for awhile there was some improvement, but not for long. You again declined in cognitive function. Despite an increase in dosage, your decline continues.
Some days you act as though you fear me. To not know me is one thing, but to fear me tears my heart to shreds. You also fear the cats, though they go out of their way to be kind and loving toward you. Little Girl offers to nap beside you but you won’t let her. Miss Biddy Kitty cries when you get upset, like the last time I clipped your nails and you acted like I was trying to kill you. Leroy wants to protect you whenever you go outside to potty because he knows you’re scared.
The neighbors love you too, girl. They love to watch you and me walk down the street with Miss Biddy following close behind. Leroy too sometimes. You are the only dog in town with her own entourage. Neighbors have asked to film us walking.
You eat well, you have no trouble drinking. Elimination is generally not an issue, though I think you would toilet inside more often if you weren’t so afraid of the cats.
But, my dear Molly, you have little quality of life. Other than our walks, you spend much of your day in my bedroom or bathroom. You keep trying to dig a hole in the bath mat. You sleep much of the time. When we do walk, your pace varies. You used to walk at a fast clip. Now you walk very slow and stop often, staring, as though you don’t know where you are. Sniffing around outside is the only pleasure you seem to get from life.
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, like Alzheimer’s, is progressive and it’s terminal. If the increased dosage doesn’t help, this is as good as it gets, girlfriend. Perhaps if we’d had time to develop a bond, this wouldn’t have been so hard on you, but it is what it is. I cannot, in good conscience, allow you to suffer. So together we will wait until the time comes, and you and I will say good-bye.
I hope the rescue and their vet weren’t aware of your diagnosis, because if they were, what they did to you in your final days was cruel both to you and to me. At least you are here where you are cared for and loved. I just wish you could know that.