Last Saturday I took Keagan to the vet for his arthritis. He was having a lot of problems getting around. They prescribed him gabapentin, which I thought was funny, since I take that for anxiety, and carprofen, which is an NSAID pain reliever. I was delighted he perked right up and seemed to feel a lot better.
Tuesday evening, he was really weak. He didn’t want to eat. He didn’t want to go outside. He just wanted to lay down. I was worried, but we had auditors, so I was planning on taking him to the vet Thursday or Friday. That idea went out the window when I woke up at 2am and he couldn’t stand up. He’s wet himself, and he’s crawled across the floor to get out of the wet. My heart sank. I considered rushing him to the ER, but instead I made him comfortable and laid on the ground with him for the rest of the night. I barely slept. I just wanted him to be okay. In the morning, he still couldn’t stand, though. I called my mom and told her had to go to the vet, and she came over to help me get him downstairs, and later into the car so I could get him there.
The vet, a very nice man by the name of Dr. Fedder, who always called Keagan my mutant (for what else can you call a Corgi/Husky hybrid?), said that Keagan was extremely anemic. The first potential cause could be a tumor on his spleen. They’re very vascular, common in old dogs, and very fragile. It was very possible that he’s had it, and that when he started moving around more, it ruptured: meaning he was bleeding into his abdomen. The surgery to save him would need blood transfusions and had a very low survival rate, along with a very high cost. The other likely cause would be an autoimmune disease. It’s harder to diagnose, and I’d need to take him to the emergency vet for a series of tests. If it was an autoimmune disease, he’d need to undergo blood transfusions, chemo, and a lot of pills. Survival was 50%.
In what has been the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my entire life… I chose to let Keagan go. He was 17, the survival rates were very poor, and I didn’t want to put him through chemo and pills or surgery at 17 years old. I couldn’t live with myself if I’d selfishly put him through all the stress and pain just for 6 more months or maybe a year… I didn’t want to watch him slowly degenerate right in front of me, just because I couldn’t let go. It hurt more than anything I’ve done, including when they ripped my wisdom teeth out. I’d rather have done that every weekend for the rest of my life than have to have let him go… but life doesn’t work that way.
It was a blessing for me that this experience was nothing like when I had to put Joie down all those years ago. Joie bled out into his abdomen, too. His blood pressure was so low that the shots didn’t work. They gave him enough to put down a St Bernard, and he was a small Bichon thing. We ended up having to hook Joie up to the anesthesia machine and watch him struggle to stay awake. He wasn’t ready to go. He was scared to leave. It was excruciating. While letting Keagan go was excruciating for ME, he didn’t fight it. They gave him the sedative, and he nodded off like he was supposed to. I promised him he’d be okay, and so would I. I told him to say hi to Joie for me. While he had low blood pressure, the second shot worked almost instantly. He stopped breathing, and he was gone. I don’t think he even saw it coming… which is best for him, and probably me.
The vet said I could stay with him as long as I wanted, but he got cold so fast… so much faster than I would have ever guessed. I hated to leave, but he just wasn’t there anymore.
I’m having him cremated, and I get a paw print.
I went home and cried. I folded up his kennel and rearranged so that when I come home tonight the first thing I do isn’t to be reminded he’s gone and collapse. After that, I got in bed and didn’t move again until my mom came home. She brought dinner and we watched some mindless cooking show at her place.
Sleeping was hard. I’m so used to him being there, curled up next to me. I woke up in the middle of the night and reached out for him, and he wasn’t there. I woke up in the morning, and he wasn’t there. I let the dogs out and I counted 1-2-3—- there was no 4, and I just cried. I cried on and off all morning, trying to get ready for work.
I managed to get up early enough to sit in the living room while everyone ate. Bdo didn’t eat all his food. Kyrie didn’t eat all her food. Even Kira, who didn’t even like Keagan, because she was so jealous of him, didn’t eat all her food. They know something’s up. They know yesterday morning he was here and I was sad. They know I came home without him and was sad. They know he didn’t come home and I’m still so very sad. I wish I could explain it to them.
I’m incredibly sad. Keagan was my best friend. He was my soul mate. He was my constant. He was my world. No one will ever love me as much as Keagan. I love all my dogs, but Keagan was, and always will be special. I’m going to be incredibly sad for a very long time…
In the meantime, I have to be okay, because I promised.
One of the hardest parts of that is Kira. I was mad at her yesterday, because Keagan died and she never liked him. I was mad because I thought she wouldn’t even notice he was gone. She noticed, though, and it’s got her messed up. Also, I can’t be mad at her for being jealous: I favored Keagan all the time. And lastly, I can’t be mad at her for not being Keagan. She loves me uncontrollably. She does. No one will ever love me like Keagan, but if Keagan loved me like a soul mate, Kira loves me like an obsessed stalker.
I started thinking Keagan was going to die when he turned 10, because Joie died at 10. Keagan kept on going and was in great health till the last 24 hours, and I conned myself into believing he’d always be there…. Now I have to adjust without him… and that hurts so much…
I’ll never forget him.