Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Gordie Blackstone and the 50-50 rule

We've taken to calling Gordie the Jurassic Pug because he's starting to fossilize.
He's all crusty around the eyes and ears and Scott spends a good hour every night cleaning out his facial orifices. He can barely walk, has trouble peeing and is half blind.
I swear, at times, he's also demented.
With two young dogs in the house, cavorting and chewing and fighting, it's hard not to view Gordie as part of the furniture. He gets up only to eat. He still loves eating.
But the light has left his beady little eyes.
It's about time to say goodbye.
We made the decision last night to cease treatment and allow the little curmudgeon to go toward the light. I'd say he's going to walk the Green Mile, but he can't walk and will have to be carried.
Poor little guy.
We'll spend the next week or so letting him do all manner of bad things. We'll feed him bacon.
He still loves bacon.
But before he goes, a retrospective. I'd rather write this now than on the sad day of his demise, so here goes.
Gordon J. Blackstone was discovered in a pet store when Marissa was about eleven. We already had Ming the pug and I had promised Marissa a black pug. I was sitting having a beer with Roger Levett while Marissa combed her favorite stores at Billings Bridge when my girl came rushing in.
"Mum, they have a black pug."
Eight hundred dollars later -- I know, I know, pet stores! -- we piled into our car and brought the little bugger home. He was the cutest dog I've ever seen, all droopy ears, barky, with a luscious coat.
From the beginning, he was trouble. He peed everywhere. Barked all the time.
Most people would have given up on him, but there was something so damned endearing about him that I loved him through all his bad bits.
A couple years later, we discovered he had sand in his bladder. That required several thousand dollars worth of veterinarian care and two operations, the first to remove the sand, the second to repair the repair. Dr. M. hadn't sewn him up properly, so he had to have a second operation at Alta Vista, the place your credit card goes to die. Fortunately, the vet who botched the operation paid for it.
Next, came pancreatitis. That was another big vet bill and a rethinking of his diet. So for the past five years, Scott has made his food and that's gone great.
Last year was not a banner year for dogs in this house.
Our retriever, Hannah, got cancer in January and died on the same day we took her to the vet.
Then the vet convinced us to have both dogs in for major dental.
Ming never came out.
Gordie came out with what seems like brain damage.
He was never, ever, the same.
Within weeks, he'd put on ten pounds. He stopped patrolling the perimeter of the yard and scaring the children. He even stopped menacing my granddaughter, the baby Skylar.
These days, when he can poop at all, he poops whereever and whenever, most often in front of company.
He can't lift his left.
His beautiful coat has gone tacky.
And his eyes have stopped fixing on any subject.
Fortunately for Gordie, our newest baby pug, Sophie, has given him a bit of a second life. She pecks at him, rolls over and let's him smell her. Disgusting, I know, but it's at least a doggie thing.
But this week, even Sophie can't get a rise out of him.
I heard recently about a fifty fifty rule that vets use to decide when to euthanize.
If the dog has more than 50 percent good days, he's worth treating.
If not, it's time to say goodbye.
And so we come to the end.
I cried last night and scared some folks on Facebook who all enquired today after my mental capacity.
I'm alright, I guess. Just sad. Three dogs in a little over a year.
Note to self. Space out the next generation of dogs.
And brush their teeth.
Gordie, I will love you forever.
I will hold you tight every day until you're gone and remember all the good times -- and wickedly bad ones -- you've given me.
I'll try not to be sad knowing your pain will be gone and you're scaring all the dogs in heaven.


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