…the end of Elgin’s journey.

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Elgin's Salmon Dinner (5) Elgin's Salmon Dinner (15)

We knew the time was drawing nigh.  So a week ago, Saturday, my husband grilled salmon for Elgin and fed him with a fork.  We have a very sophisticated Dogue, after all!

Elgin's Filet Mignon dinner 16 June 2013 (7)The next evening, he grilled filet mignon, and again fed Elgin with a fork.  I’d like to reiterate that Elgin oozed sophistication, but I think it was the other stuff he oozed that prompted the use of the fork, now that I think about it.  My husband’s a smart guy.

 

So we watched his every move during this past week, because we could clearly see that the leg was hurting him.  He was such a stoic dog, it was difficult to judge really how much it hurt.  I upped his Rimadyl, and it had no effect on him.  He was shaky on that leg and could barely make it up onto the couch on his own.  But boy, did he rally when it was time to go to the park!  I was hesitant to take him, knowing how sore and weak he was, but once I got him there, he hopped around like there was nothing wrong.  He peed on everything, sniffed around like a bloodhound, and really relished his time in the sunshine.  There were a few times he tried to play with his browndog girlfriend, but couldn’t support his weight on that leg when he really wanted to lunge and run at her. He just sort of lurched at her and scooted his rear closer.

After agonizing together, neither my husband nor myself wanted to make that final decision of calling the vet to schedule that last appointment.  But Friday morning I couldn’t take the thought of Elgin’s pain getting any worse and I made the appointment for Monday (today) at 9:45am.  That would give us one last weekend.  Almost as soon as I made the appointment, it was really strange, Elgin’s pain seemed to increase greatly. He was panting hard, scooting from place to place around the house, and apparently not able to find a comfortable spot.  It got so bad on Saturday morning that I broke out the pain meds UC Davis sent us home with when Elgin came home from his amputation.  He now had Rimadyl AND gabapentin onboard, and once the gabapentin kicked in, he relaxed and was able to sleep and looked much more comfortable when he woke up.  We began to wonder if Monday was too far away…

…cancer sucks.

We stayed close to home this weekend, except for when we went out to buy him a big, juicy bone, and special food. We brushed him, fed him treats like crazy, and laid on the floor with him a lot, cuddling.  Neighbors came to visit him and say goodbye, and tears were shed.

I won’t go into a description of how this morning went, because I just don’t think I can.  But we did what we could to make it peaceful and not scary for him.

Run free on four strong legs, Elgin.

Elgin on the hill feb 2013 (14)

 

 

 

 


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Slowing down…

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On April 1, the specialists at UC Davis discovered advanced osteosarcoma in Elgin’s remaining back leg. We saw the X-ray, could clearly see the spongy cancer breaking down the margins of his bone, and were devastated. They projected that a normal dog, with all its limbs, might have a good quality life for four months at this stage.  Elgin, being a heavy mastiff and being that it was his only back leg, was looking at two months.  And based upon their concern and cautions against Elgin moving around more than to go potty and to eat, Gary and I were planning for much less; maybe one month.

DSC_0170Thus we began indulging in his bucket list in earnest:  His pool is now full of sand/dirt so he can dig and scrape as much as he wants. Large femur bones come home from the butcher, frequently.   Our younger son spends a lot of time each day, laying on the floor next to wherever Elgin is resting, just petting his giant head and cuddling.  I drive him to the park every morning, so he can sniff and pee on stuff without hopping very far, and sometimes his Browndog Girlfriends come visit him.  And he gets a treat for almost everything; especially just for being Elgin. But we still won’t get him a IMG_20130525_215456_943cat.

It is now June.  Elgin breezed through the last two months almost like nothing was wrong.  He still played, caught a rat behind the grill, chased the squirrels on the fence, still begged, still got ornery and frisky. IMG_20130525_135613_962

But we knew this streak of incredible goodness would wind down, and it seems it is doing just that.  In the past two weeks we’ve noticed that he doesn’t dig anymore in his pool, but just lays in it.  He picks and chooses which squirrels are worth chasing. He hops around the house and sits down almost as soon as he comes to a stop, not standing as much. He pants a little more and seems slightly restless.  Just today he spent significant time licking his back leg where the cancer has come back. But meanwhile, he is still bright eyed, affectionate, and defends his home when he feels the need… his guardian nature overruling his pain as he storms the front door to growl and stare down solicitors.

DSC_0202This weekend he had a good DSC_0211hosing-down in the backyard, as temps were over 110.  He used to play in the water, but this time I had to hold him still while I soaped him up, trying to wash away all the dirt he’s collected, wallowing in his dirt pool.  He wasn’t enjoying his bath at all.

We were discussing how we will know when the right time to say goodbye will be.  We are not ready for him to be gone from our lives.  But we are not willing for him to suffer much.  It seems that the Rainbow Bridge is looming closer every day.