Friday, April 30, 2010

On the Loss of a Good Dog

Taco, December 15, 2001 to April 29, 2010.

On Thursday, April 29, 2010, at 6:15 p.m. I had to hold my 10-year-old Miniature Pinscher, Taco, as he was put down. My husband, Reggie, my 16-year-old daughter, Ruth, and my dear friend, Shirley, were with Taco at the end.  Dr. Ruth Ainsworth at Village Vet in Sterling Ridge administered the pink injection.  We will have him cremated.

We thought we had licked the liver infection and had him on the road to recovery, but yesterday he began to suffer neurological distress--weakness in the hindquarters, which progressed to staggering and falling, along with impaired vision and vertigo.  The Vet determined it was hepatic encephalopathy--the neurological decline that comes from cirrhosis of the liver.  Essentially, toxic chemicals were building in his brain, causing muscle control loss and eyesight stress.  Taco must have been light-sensitive because two days before, he was barking at the little light on the ADT alarm pad and the red-light in the anti-pest plug-in device.

In spite of his staggers, Taco had a good last day--he ate his breakfast with fairly good vigor, he got to snuggle with me under a blanket in the mid-morning and patrolled his yard (lurching), and he sat calmly at in Ruth's lap and let us all love on him before it was time.

We had Taco since December 2001, and got him at a PetsMart Adoption event in Louisiana.  He was a quirky little dog, but a very good dog.  He killed rats and moles, could jump five feet straight into the air, always had to work for treats, and once stood up to a husky (and lost).  He loved to jingle his collar tags for attention, and if that wasn't enough, he was a loud barker.  He was nippy and ugly with toys, especially his favorite "uggee bone."  He tore up all the blinds he could reach whenever he saw something he wanted to attack on the other side of the window.  He was bossy toward other dogs and only tolerated Cross, our little Rat Terrier Mix, although this last month, we could tell he was really quite bonded with her.  In short, Taco generally swaggered around like a buff stud-muffin in a 14-inch high,17-pound stag red Min-Pin body.  He was a brave little guy.

His six-week battle began on March 12, triggered perhaps by his nom-ing on a squirrel carcass, and cost over $5,000. However, he had improved and was eating on his own again after having to have force-fed slurry and sub-cu fluids.  We thought he was recovering.  I have never worked so hard to take care of a dog. Plus, I never dreamed I would do what I did for this particular dog (he was VERY quirky--a bite-first, ask questions later little terrier-killing machine).

Taco will be much on my mind over this weekend and in the near future as I do my part with dog adoption off-sites.

5 comments:

  1. Oh! I am soooooo soooo very sorry! This is the last thing I expected to learn, today. Rest In peace Taco! My thoughts are with you and yours as you deal with his loss.

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  2. I'm so sorry to hear it. He was a lucky dog to live with you - sounds like he could have been a problem in other circumstances. Have fun chasing the squirrels, buddy.

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  3. I'm so sorry about Taco - I know it's been a really rough road with him since he got sick, and it's so sad that he wasn't able to pull through. I'm very sorry for your loss.

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  4. i am so sorry about taco. he sounds like a really special little dog. i actually love napoleon complex in tiny dogs, i'm sure taco was a real trooper. you did what you could for him, more than most people would do for their sick pooches and i'm sure taco felt your love.
    that photo of him in the field with all the flowers is so beautiful. i like to think that dog heaven is a blissful place like that and taco is there.

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