Along for the ride:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Circles of Life

Diva had a check up last Saturday, scheduled long before we knew we were to have a foster kitten. Diva is my sweet collie girl with markings similar to Lassie. (Picture taken last year). Diva has never been the gung-ho, "rescue Timmy from the well" collie. She is all about peace and love; the Barbie flower child of collie-dom.
Many of Diva's social friends and acquaintances have passed on, to await their masters in the lovely meadow at the foot of the rainbow bridge. She is too old now for the play-date schedule but still puts up with a variety of animal house guests and foundlings.
Diva's visit was to draw blood to make sure her, now twice daily, dose of anti-inflammatory  meds was not creating havoc with her liver or kidneys.
As a large dog, fourteen years old is considered geriatric to the point of living on borrowed time. Yet, Diva's eyes are bright, she enjoys her food and we walk to the end of the block and back two or three times a day.
Just recently, I have noticed that she has become bony around her hips and back legs. That is her area of arthritis pain and she motors more from the front end than the back so I was not sure what to put down as normal, as her muscles atrophy.
As any girl will tell you, a good hair day and losing a few pounds will get you noticed in all the right ways, but I was beginning to have a nagging worry.
Back from the Vet's:
Diva has lost almost fifteen pounds. Five were extra, ten were not. She has been on the same amount of food for a long time and her excercise has diminished. On the other hand, her blood work was very good. Cholesterol, thyroid, liver, kidneys, pancreas and everything else they could test for. Our vet sounded amazed and pleased to tell me her good results when he phoned on Monday. I was happy too but not totally placated. He agreed we should keep a close eye on her.
This week, since her vet visit, Diva has refused her food a couple of times. She has been pacing in and out and around, which gave the impression she was perking up but I was reading some discomfort. I took her back in today and puzzled through her symptoms with a vet who was clearly listening and puzzling right along with me. Temp was normal, teeth were fine. We decided an X-ray was called for.
Diva has a "mass" as they call it, affecting her stomach area. I can't say I was surprised. I have had my suspicions, intermittently, for some time.
There is no particular change in her care, except a daily weighing up of how good or bad her life is for her.
I didn't refill her prescriptions. I don't imagine we will need them much longer. She is not going to see the month of August.
Any of you who have read my blog know that I am a pragmatist. It is a given fact that animals do not live as long as we would wish and that we can honor their memory by loving other creatures again, sometime in the future.
All of that does not relieve the pain nor stem the tears that must be shed.


  1. Ironic juxtaposition of posts with little Sparkles just starting life below and Diva reaching an end above.

    I am sad for you, but it's clear your beautiful girl has been blessed with a wonderful life with you. And you have been blessed with her presence as well. I send you hugs from afar and all the support I can offer.

  2. I am sorry to hear that - our wonderful Golden Sunny developed the same symptoms as your girl, and had the same condition. He had some good days after that and got to enjoy some of his favorite activities - lying on the front porch, rolling in the grass - before he told us that it was time for him to go.

    Very sad news, but you and she have had wonderful times together.

  3. Damn it damn it damn it!
    I'm going to go give my elderly shepherd some extra treats. And a hug.
    Your pup looks absolutely beautiful, like a dog who's been loved and appreciated. I am so sorry you will have to say good-bye.

  4. Oh hell.

    Or if I'd been born english perhaps :

    Oh bloody hell.

    Hugs to Diva, and to you. Funny, how just through this totally virtual connection I feel attached and moved and saddened and pissed and frustrated... tears here too... after reading about her from time to time over these past months, if not a year... she's come alive.

  5. Diva hasn't missed out on a single thing. The next few days will be tougher for me than for her. That's how it should be.

  6. My dear English Riding pragmatist,

    I am sorry to hear about Diva's stomach mass. And I'm not surprised that you were not surprised. Good human that you have always been to Diva (I never believed that she was Lovely Daughter's canine companion) it is not at all a marvel to me that you diagnosed her illness before the vet.

    I regret the fact that this time of anticipatory grief has been foisted upon you and I am simultaneously glad for you to have a window of time with her in which to mourn her passing and shepherd her to an end to her earthly life that is in complete alignment with the sheltered and pampered existence that she has enjoyed with you, Lovely Daughter, and the French Artist lo these many years. Diva has been one lucky daughter of a dog for the past 14 years!

    You have my heartfelt sympathy in the impending loss of your sweet Diva.

  7. Terribly sad news. My heart is aching for you. Don't forget to allow Diva to take care of you in the next weeks . . .

  8. This has made me cry, bringing back memories of my similarly tempered Belgian, Jenny.
    A pragmatist you may be, but your heart is bigger than many. It must be overflowing. Hugs, ER.

  9. I'm so sorry to hear this news. I know the feeling well and I feel sad along with you.
    Bon Courage! X

  10. So sorry. She looks and sounds like she has had a good life. God bless you for that. Wishing you strength to get through the next few weeks.

  11. We lost our beloved Springer/Collie cross over ten years ago. It still hurts. No matter how pragmatic I felt I could be, she was a dear and loving friend, just a fraction short of having words to tell me how she was feeling.

    Best wishes.

  12. However pragmatic one tries to be , it's an awful time so it's good that you're not alone .
    I'll be thinking of you .

  13. The fact that you are watchful and diligent in the care of Diva, you were aware of each change in behavior. You are a good example of a loving and careful pet owner. How different each home would be and each animal shelter would be if pet owners were like you. I know you will post changes in Diva's status here and just know we are sending you hugs from our little hippie house in Nebraska!

  14. Oh dear ER, dear Diva.
    It's all very well being a pragmatist, cool headed, unsentimental and suchlike, but the pain of an animal on its way out is not to be borne lightly.

    I know all about it. Boris only lasted 10 years and Benno is coming up to 11. As you say, Fuck!

  15. The tears will be for me, not for her. I've started practicing already: Cry, sniffle, sob. bawl. I need some more vocabulary, but I am at a loss for now.

  16. I'm so sorry you are going through this, there is no way to prepare even though you know it is coming. I am still mourning the loss of my beloved Bailey in March. And yes, cry the tears for you, it's perfectly all right.

  17. my precious border collie Kip was diagnosed with something horribly similar about Christmas time...the prognosis being she wouldn't see Easter. still hanging in there and managing the occasional tail wag, but sadly i don't think she'll be needing a Halloween costume this year. we've had 13 brilliant years together and i'm grateful for each one of them. hope your friend passes gently...

  18. Donna, thank you for your empathy.

    inDi@, Diva wouldn't thank me for prolonging this. We are almost at the end of the road. I'll assume my duty to her.

  19. Fuck indeed! I agree with the sentiment of moving forward and loving all the other animals that need our time and care, but it doesn't stop the heartache! Just yesterday my eyes filled as I tended to some yard work, and stopped to wipe clean Dolly's ashes (in their nice pottery 'pebble') I still can't even believe she's not here, and it's been more than six months already. Enjoy your remaining time with Diva. Relish every moment and commit it to memory for the time she won't be here.

  20. Joanna, thanks for spending your seven precious seconds commenting here. I hope you didn't lose the photos you had of Dolly in your computer crash. She was fantastic.

  21. I was born on a farm and was supposed to have learned pragmatism at an early age. It's a good quality to have when you live with animals. There is nothing sweeter and more beautiful than a dog at the end of her life though, and my heart aches for you.

  22. Kerry, no matter how many times we go down this path it is never easier.