This morning, around 1:30AM, my wife woke me up and thrust her iPhone into my face. “Look at this poop,” she actually really said. And there, on the screen — viewed blearily and gauzily through my sleep-shellacked eyes — was indeed a pile of canine diarrhea in the grass.
However, that word — “pile” — is notable here, because up until recently, what came out of our taco terrier’s Other End could best be described as “gray water.” And it’s been going on for months. Tai has IBD/colitis and maybe, just maybe, cancer. (Diagnostics on this are uncertain, and further tests would run us about two grand, and would tell us little as we would have no intention of running this almost-12-year-old dog through the rigors of chemo.) Her lower intestine was severely swollen and any attempts to do an end-run around the IBD with various novel proteins or special foods have failed. Worse, it’s been too little too late as the dog has been losing a lot of weight and vitality.
So much so that today we have, or rather, had, her on the schedule to be put to sleep.
We’ve now changed that appointment.
I know, it’s gross talking about DOG MESS, but last night her, erm, leavings looked genuinely improved after months of nothing. And this morning she went again, and that looked good, too. (“Good” being relative — I mean, it’s not ice cream we’re talking about.) Further, she had a bit more pep in her step today, and even (eagerly, without urging) climbed up the steps to join me in my office for the morning ritual of Both Dogs Conglomerating Around Me As I Work And Occasionally Ruining The Air Quality With A Foulness That Would Gag A Slaughterhouse Worker.
Our pup will not be put to sleep today. We moved the appointment to Tuesday (still at our home) to give her a few more days. Our last ditch effort was something I found online, not something vets had told me (and no, it’s not “collodial silver” or whatever other wizard reagents you might suggest). Some folks reported that the drug Atopica worked wonders with uncontrolled IBD, and curiously, Atopica had been a miracle drug for us and our little pooch before — early in her life, she basically had a list of skin allergies as long as Gandalf’s beard, and she was tearing herself apart. Atopica cut her allergies off at the knees and gave her a fairly normal life as a result — so, we’ve ramped up the Atopica once more. I put her on it last week, and it can take a week to show its effects. Hopefully what we’re seeing here is a glimpse of those effects.
Truthfully, this is probably still going where it’s always been going. And we wrestled with the decision of whether or not to prolong this for her — there comes a point when this gets cruel for the poor little dog. (And if she really takes a hard dip, we have an emergency vet nearby which can handle the very unpleasant task.) But at the same time, she seems a bit happier this morning, and she ate food last night (a miracle unto itself), and it feels like we can afford a few more days to see if this down-to-the-last-seconds-Hail-Mary actually does something. If it doesn’t, then Tuesday comes and she still goes, and that will be a very hard, very sad day.
But for this day, at least, our little taco terrier is still with us.