A few weeks ago, I told my dog’s veterinarian that my dog, Detroit, was not eating and she refused to take her medicine.
I had always bragged that Detroit thought her daily pills were crunchy treats, and she usually gobbled them down as she did any other treat. But she had stopped eating most everything except chicken. She would not even eat her favorite treats.
One day, we sat on the back porch and watched a cat walk across our yard. Detroit did not even flinch—she made no move to chase the cat.
Detroit lived to chase squirrels and cats. She loved to let the world know that our yard belonged to her and only she could grant permission for visitors. But twice in one week, I had seen her allow a cat free access.
I knew something was seriously wrong. Not gobbling down her food, no treats and not chasing a cat in her yard!
Blood tests revealed Detroit had liver disease. The vet prescribed some medicine, but after a week, Detroit’s liver levels had gone even higher; the medicine was not working. And then Detroit stopped eating chicken.
I inherited Detroit from my friend Jim who died from brain cancer eight years ago. She was the love of his life, and his one wish for her was that she not have surgery—ever. He hated his time in the hospital for two surgeries connected to the cancer. He did not want to live or die in the hospital, and that is what he wanted for his dog, too.
After a third visit to the vet, it was clear that Detroit was not going to get better. The vet said surgery was a possibility but there was no guarantee it would help. I said “no” to surgery and then took a few days to process the fact that Detroit was dying. Last Saturday I took her to the vet one last time.
I believe that Detroit has been reunited with Jim, and although I miss her terribly, I am happy for them. I imagine Detroit jumping into his arms and licking his face—an image that makes me smile.
She was a wonderful companion to me through many changes and losses over the past eight years—and especially during this time of isolation. I feel so blessed to have had her in my life.
Gratitude mixes with grief.