My sweet Arnie…

My sweet Arnie left me for the Rainbow Bridge last night. While I’d watched him closely for the past few days and had my concerns that it was near, after a vet visit showing his perky side and a moment of “chasing” a cat I felt like he was still going strong. Unfortunately, I was incorrect.

Arnie developed diarrhea and vomiting yesterday, which I assumed was from his anti-inflammatory. As a result, I gave him some medication and let him rest. He suddenly became weak, however, his temperature dropped, and his stool became straight blood. So, I rushed him to the Animal Emergency Clinic.

After an exam, the doctor felt it was HGE or Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis. While this is normally treated with success, Arnie had several strong negatives working against him: Cancer, Heartworms, and his age. We discussed all of the options and talked about treatment. Unfortunately, she felt that due to his heartworms and heart disease treatment could very possibly put his heart in distress and kill him. She also didn’t know if he would be able to recover due to his illnesses, especially the cancer, and his compromised system. It was even possible that the cancer had moved to his GI tract and was perhaps a part of his current state. Every thing we talked about ended up at a dead end.

I knew in my gut what my decision needed to be. I found myself pausing, however, wondering if there was a chance that he could recover. Would I be negligent in not pursuing treatment? I pondered…then I asked myself if it was any better to put him through a rigorous and miserable treatment to just let him know that someone wanted to try for him…knowing in the end we’d most likely be in the same boat. Would that really be the kind thing to do?

My gut continued to nag me, and after a bit of tugging back and forth, I finally gave in. He was cold, in pain, his breathing was labored and he was exhausted. Both doctors at the clinic felt like it was the right decision and treatment would be risky. So, I pet his head and watched him as the doctor helped him go to sleep. As I did, I noticed that his expression didn’t change. Normally you literally watch them go to sleep…but not Arnie. Arnie’s eyes were already almost closed, and his face was already weary…nothing changed. It was then that I was reassured I’d made the right decision. His strength had left him.

Arnie is now with the others I’ve loved over the years. He has no lumps, no bumps, no arthritic or injury pain, and he can hear without trouble. The cancer is gone and his heartworms have disappeared…he’s vibrant and happy…I just know it.

When Arnie came into rescue my goal was to provide him with love and lessen his pain. Last night I found myself saying “I hope he knew how much I loved him.”  I realized, however, that he’d been following me around the house because he wanted to be close to me. You can’t ask for more love than that. So yes, I suppose I accomplished those goals.

Ultimately, I feel more at peace about Arnie than I probably ever have with a dog because I know how far he’d come in such a short 4 weeks. He’d conquered his fears, found a new life and hopefully forgotten about the past. I also knew he was in pain and wanted to be released. When I stop to think about him, I see his big, soulful eyes looking at me, and I am grateful for our time together. I’m grateful that he was able to leave this world with someone beside him who loved him and wanted him to be happy. I’m grateful I was able to give him the gift of love, a better life, and the gift of freedom.  As a result, he found peace, which allowed me to do so, as well.

If you’ll remember, when I let Rue go to the Rainbow Bridge, I was exhausted, angry and devastated due to all that we’d been through with her Megaesophagus. In my blog post I noted that when I turned on the car the radio played “Home” by Daughtry…I was certain it was Rue speaking to me. I still feel that way.

Last night, about 12:45am, I turned on the car and placed Arnie’s pawprint on the dashboard slot so it’d not risk damage. I put the car in gear to pull out and noticed the song on the radio…

It was “Home” by Daughtry.

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Rest in peace my beautiful old man. Thank you for the past month.

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