I had a moment at home with Moses before we left for the vet. He’s been such a good dog even though he was a complete nut. Never wanted to do anything but hang out with us or play with us. It was hard to know that and know that he was not going to be around in another hour.
Keegan spent the day and night with some friends so we could devote our attention and energy to the task at hand. That was a great gesture on their part to help us with that.
At the vet was tough too. We went in, and they had a room set up for us. They laid out some blankets on the floor and a pillow. Jen and I went in with him; Murphy stayed out in the lobby with another friend of ours. We took Moses off the leash and let him walk the room a little. He enjoyed the smells on the blankets and in the room. We gave him a treat — couldn’t hurt anything at this point, right? The vet came in and just checked him out again. He could feel where one of the tumors felt bigger than just the day before. He said there were sounds in his lungs that sounded like it was spreading into there as well. It was just confirming our decision. He’d lost 6 pounds in the last three weeks. He’d lost muscle tone in his shoulders, his hind quarters, down his spine. You could put your fist through his collar he’d lost so much muscle in the neck and shoulders. Things were going south for him in a hurry, and he was the type of dog who would suffer quietly with it. We couldn’t let that happen.
So first they started with a sedative — Ketamine (or Special K as the kids like to call it) — the drug that addicts steal out of vet offices all the time. We didn’t break out any glow sticks though. It took about 10-15 seconds for Moses to feel the effects of that. He was completely calm. One of the few times we could ever say that about him! He was slowly licking the blanket and then completely relaxed and left his tongue just hanging out of his mouth. He got the vet’s pant leg all wet. Then the vet tried to find a vein on his front leg but couldn’t find one (another effect he thought of the advancing cancer). He moved to the back legs where there are larger veins. Even that took a couple of pokes to find one (Moses was feeling nothing when he poked him each time thankfully). Then he gave him the injection. Jen was holding his face. It was peaceful but it was gut-wrenching all at once. To know that this was the moment he was leaving us. The vet was pretty broken up too because he’d been seeing Moses now for at least 5 years, and he worked with Jen when she worked there. The vet tech made a paw print for us on a card which was very nice. Then they left us alone with him again. I lost it a bit at this point as I rubbed his side and head and face. It was good though. We always knew that it was the right thing to do for him, so that was a constant comfort even while the waterworks were flowing.
Then we let Murphy come in. She sniffed his butt and then wanted nothing more to do with him. (That’s right Eli, I said “butt.”) She wouldn’t look him in the eyes at all (which were still open by the way — dogs eyes don’t close when they’re under anesthesia or when they die. I guess they’re constantly on watch like the loyal friends they are.). She just paced around the room. Then we met the guy who was there from the cremation service. I signed a consent form. He handed us some information. And we left with Murphy. We decided not to watch the guy put Moses in the van. We had said our goodbyes. The service took him last night and will call us Monday to pick up the box o’ Moses that they will have for us. (Pardon the gallows humor.)
It was a hard night, but it was good. It was hard to write this, but it’s good to get it down to get the experience on paper so to speak and to get more closure on it. Jen said when she let Murphy out this morning, she left the door open after Murphy came in out of habit waiting for Moses to trail in after. I suspect that will happen a couple more times.
Thanks for thinking about us last night. We’ve appreciated all the thoughts and prayers from everyone.