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Losing Jesse

Jesse

Jesse

Recently, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life.  I decided that I did not want to see my beloved dog, Jesse, struggle any longer.  Jesse seemed to be in perfect health until his diagnosis of diabetes nearly two years ago.  We managed the diabetes well, but something else happened at the same time causing Jesse to become very weak in the hindquarters.  The weakness progressed to stiffness, falling, apparent pain, and finally the inability to stand up at times.  Severe arthritis was a factor, but I always suspected that there was also something more.  We did everything reasonable – blood tests, x-rays, a test for Addison’s Disease – but couldn’t find anything to treat, so only administered insulin and pain medication.  It became harder and harder to see Jesse struggle.  I can’t begin to describe the difficulty of my decision.  Guilt played a big part in it; thinking about how I’d feel guilty if I ended his life too soon and guilty if I let him suffer too long.  And then I felt guilty for letting my guilt play such a big part in the decision.  I wanted my decision to be based upon what was best for Jesse, not what was easiest for me.  While I was in Texas in April, my dog-sitter found Jesse on the floor unable to get up without help on several occasions.  I thought that I could see an overall decline, too, in the two short weeks that I’d been gone.  But he still had good days; his tail still wagged; he still greeted visitors at the door with a toy in his mouth.  How I wished that the signs had been clearer and consistent.  Finally, I decided that I wasn’t willing to risk Jesse suffering a serious injury in a fall down the steps and I couldn’t bear the thought of his being “trapped” on the floor, unable to get up.  And there was the ever-present awareness that he was in pain.  So, I made the decision that no one ever wants to make; I decided to say goodbye.  Jesse lived a little over 12 years and gave me a lifetime of love and devotion.  I will write about Texas and I will write about China, but please indulge me with my next post about my dog.

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