Today I had to have my dog Fergus put to sleep. It was one of the more difficult things I've ever had to do. He was a great dog, only 6 years old, which just was way to young to lose him. For the past few years he has been suffering from a thyroid problem and apparently from some other undetermined illness as well, most likely an adrenal or pituitary gland problem. It caused him to loose his hair, gain weight, become arthritic, and be susceptible other problems. A dog that use to be tireless and loved to run and play, and chase deer when he could find them became more and more lethargic, only able to walk a block or so before needing rest.
Even so he was a great dog, just a good natured loveable hound, always waiting and wagging his tail when I came home. We kept him on his medication and didn't really mind his problems, we just loved having him around. Last week however he got an infection on a sore on his stomach and the infection spread rapidly. We got him on antibiotics and things seem to improve for a couple of days. Our relief quickly turned to apprehension as he went downhill rapidly. He quit eating, and the medicine we were giving him for his arthritis was causing pretty severe bleeding in his gut. We had to stop the arthritis medicine, and without that he couldn't get up and down the steps to the kennel, within 2 days he couldn't even get up on his own. He wouldn't eat or take any of his other medicine. He would drink, but often threw up even the water, and he didn't have the strength to get up so he just laid in his own vomit. We cleaned him up as well as we could, but its tough with a 140lb dog that can't manage to get up on his own.
Sunday night I spent sleeping on the kitchen floor with him, I didn't think he would make it through the night as weak as he seemed, and I just couldn't stand the thought of letting him die alone. He did make it though, and Monday morning we took him to a place called Wayside Waifs, a non-profit animal shelter here in KC. They had a nice room with a couch and a cushion on the floor where we could stay with him while they put him out of his misery. It only took a few minutes, they gave him a shot to put him to sleep, then when he was out, another to stop his heart. It was a hard thing to do, but I couldn't stand to see him suffer anymore either.
I know in the greater scheme of things, its no big deal. With all the pain and suffering in the world the passing of a dog may seem minor. But he was a dear friend for his 6 years of life, a constant source of happiness and comfort to my wife and me, and he will be missed.
Fergus, we love you.