Rufus. The final chapter:
Friday, August 2nd, Rufus woke up lethargic; we were deeply concerned.
Why do dogs seem to get an ailment right as we go into the weekend when the vets’ office hours become limited??
Saturday, August 3rd, Rufus bounces back. But his appetite slowly diminishes.
Sunday night (August 4th), Rufus vomits his boiled chicken and stops eating.
Monday, August 5th, Rufus continues to have diarrhea, vomits water / clear two more times and stops eating completely. 😦 He won’t eat anything offered. He is surprisingly in good spirits, despite not eating.
It’s always a fine line for us, as doting dachshund parents, to know when to rush to the vet and when to give them some freedom to heal and recover on their own.
Tuesday afternoon, August 6th, we go the vet to get some subcutaneous fluids and do our 3rd quarter blood panels. We also get an injection and meds for the vomiting.
Vet and staff let me know individually that this may be Rufus’ last month and they encourage me to feed him anything he wants. They say now is the time.
It’s funny; we spent 14 years and 11 months saying no, and now it’s a free-for-all.
Wednesday, August 7th, the vet calls late afternoon with the blood panel results and the news isn’t good. Rufus’ number are off the chart, he says. The forecast doesn’t look good. Rufus eats a few morsels.
Thursday, August 8th, our days are spent napping at home and trying to feed Rufus anything he’ll eat. He takes interest in some tuna, salmon and chicken. We no longer bother with kibble (dry or wet).
Friday, August 9th, we return to the vet for some more subcutaneous fluids and complete the blood panel with a urine sample. It’s our intention going forward to visit the vets office biweekly: Tuesday & Friday to get fluids. We hope it adds to Rufus’ comfort and quality of life.
For the last four consecutive nights, Rufus unknowingly pees in the bed. So when we’re not napping together or attempting to feed him; I’m washing linen. I’m not angry about it; and will happily change the linen as many times needed. But I am getting smarter about it. I place Rufus on a bed of faux fur blankets and soft towels at night to help.
Saturday, August 10th, is more of the same; we toe the line. But I’m inspired late afternoon to walk Rufus around a single resident block to check the mail. I thought the fresh air would do us both good.
The walk starts strong, but two-thirds into it; Rufus starts to walk funny and it’s clear it is too much for him. My heart breaks a little more, but I gladly carry him the rest of the way.
For the remaining night Rufus sleeps hard and we limit his walking. We carry him out to pee every few hours.
Saturday night / early Sunday morning, August 11th. I’m on Rufus watch. I take him out at 2 am, 4 am and 8 am, and he pees each time and drinks a big helping of water again at 8 am. Rufus doesn’t pee in the bed for the first time in four nights. #SmallVictories
I find myself watching him as he sleeps, experiencing mixed emotions: sadness, joy and deep love. ❤
Rufus will turn 15 on August 21st (in 10 days). And at this point we’re unsure if he’ll make it; we remain optimistic but truthfully it’s whatever he wants.
Our benchmark is 5 or more days without eating or drinking. If Rufus stops eating for 5 consecutive days; we’ll schedule “the appointment.” Thankfully our vet has agreed to make a house call so Rufus can transition in our home surrounded by his pack.
July was a good month for us. Rufus and his pack traveled to Palm Springs, CA and Dove Mountain, AZ making some final memories. And although I wanted to take pictures, I was too busy being in the moment to actually do it.
Since August started, and Rufus has been unwell, I keep intending to take a few more pictures. But I’m more inspired to live in the moment than I am to photograph it. I feel like I will never have enough photos – no matter how many I take. #NeverEnough
This final chapter of Rufus’ journey has been tough on me. For me, it’s a fine line of allowing Rufus to take his natural path, or me fighting it and trying to extend his life for my personal ego and vanity. I wanted Rufus to live to 20, and now I’d be grateful if we’re able to celebrate 15.
Everyone reminds me Rufus has lived a good and full life; one better than many humans. For example, Rufus has traveled by plane, boat and car. Rufus has been to New York, Chicago, Texas and 20 other states in the Midwest and South. Rufus has visited Graceland, Mount Rushmore, and barked at a bison in Yellowstone. Rufus has visited the Grand Canyon twice; once in the summer and once in the winter. Rufus has enjoyed the snow in Mammoth and Sant Fe, and chilled in the dessert at Joshua Tree. Rufus swam in Big Bear Lake and has toured over a dozen different beaches in Southern California. Rufus has visited dog-friendly museum exhibits in LA and Long Beach, hiked many famous LA, Ojai & Malibu trails and shopped in Beverly Hills (regularly). He has lived both a sporty and posh life, and we’re so grateful to have given him the chance to do as much as he has. This gives me comfort.
For me, it’ll never be enough – time, pictures, adventures together, but I think we done our best make memories that’ll last me a lifetime. ❤
I’m not sure yet how we hope to spend these last days: at home or on one last adventure. I guess I’ll let Rufus tell me. Right now his greatest joy seems to be a car ride with his nose hanging out the window and his ear flapping in the wind. Maybe we’ll just take lots of neighborhood rides in the car.
The only thing I know for sure; I want to be with Rufus for as many minutes of each day as possible. I want to be with him more than I’m not so I plan to stay close to home. If you don’t hear from me or see me; know I’m with Rufus making our final memories. I’ll update when I can.
Thanks to everyone for the unyielding love and support.
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