Monday, October 17, 2011

Farewell, Ruthie


We have to put Ruthie the Wonder Dog down this afternoon.

She’s 14 years old and has developed Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (doggy Alzherimers).

She sleeps all day and roams the house in confused terror most of the night, trembling uncontrollably. She scratches at doors, whether they’re open or closed, as if she thinks they’re a portal to another dimension.

When we first noticed this condition several months ago, the vet prescribed Valium. A half tab of Valium did the trick early on, but 2½ tabs didn’t faze her last night. I awakened at 2:15 a.m. to the pungent stench of dog poop and found that she had relieved herself in a half-dozen spots on the recently-shampooed dining room carpet.

Unable to sleep with that smell in my nostrils, I picked up the poop, dragged out the carpet scrubber and re-did the soiled spots, spraying the air with Febreze and opening windows on opposite sides of the house to flush out the bad air.

I called the vet this morning to explore our options. The news wasn’t good. He said it was almost certainly CCD, but maybe a brain tumor or liver shutdown. Since she’s fine in the daytime and freaky at night, everything points to CCD, which can only get worse.

The vet said there used to be a medication for CCD, but it didn’t work well and was withdrawn from the market. He said we could try to sedate her with stronger doses of Valium or maybe Xanax, but that might only work for 3-4 weeks.

If she was his dog, he said, he’d free her from these nights of terror and put her down.

So Ruthie goes to Doggy Heaven sometime around 2:30 p.m. today.

I hate this. She has been a wonderful member of the family and we will miss her terribly.

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