(Collar Tryout Pictures Taken June 19, 2010)
One year ago today was the end of a pretty bad week, when we had to say goodbye to our Beautiful Trixie. Trixie joined her brother Tucker and her kitty sisters Trouble and Pooh Bear over the Rainbow Bridge.
Despite her terminal illness, she was still smiling until the very end, and enjoyed love and attention from the staff at the office before retiring with her Mama and Dada to a comfortable bed in a quiet room to await one last visit from her veterinarian.
About a week before Trixie went to the Rainbow Bridge, we began seeing blood in her stools. Actually, Saya the Mighty — who continues to do wonderfully living with her grandmother, mother, and sister, and enjoys finally having dogs in the house who will play with her — was the first to detect the blood, when she suddenly took an unusual interest in Trixie’s deposits in the yard. (But the less said about that, the better.)
At the time the blood appeared, Trixie was winding down a course of prednisone, which she had been taking to prevent the recurrence of an aural hematoma after we’d had it drained a couple of times. (Yes, about a month after Saya’s aural hematoma, Trixie had one too, although hers was much smaller and didn’t require surgery.)
What we and the vet hoped was that the prednisone had caused the bleeding by irritating her stomach. We stopped the treatment immediately, and started giving her sucralfate to heal any ulcers that the prednisone may have caused. Normally we wouldn’t be hoping that our dog had a bleeding ulcer, but the alternative was that her intestinal sarcoma had finally ruptured or had otherwise caused something to go very wrong, and that, of course, would be much, much worse than an ulcer.
For the first several days of sucralfate, it seemed to be helping. Saya became less interested in her sister’s deposits, which seemed firmer and less tarry. A sigh of relief was breathed by all. But it didn’t last; on Thursday the tarry stools returned. And on Friday, the Beautiful Trixie didn’t want her breakfast.
The vet couldn’t see her until the next morning, but that evening we ran down to their office and picked up some anti-nausea medication. It didn’t help; Trixie declined to eat her dinner, and even turned down her favorite treat, vanilla ice cream. Needless to say we were getting very worried about our elderly girl.
On Saturday morning, she ate a little bit of freeze-dried chicken treats, so we were slightly encouraged by that when we took her to see the vet. They confirmed that the blood in her stool was back, which we already knew, but her vitals seemed good and the vet thought she might have a little time yet; he said that as long as there was no vomiting, it was likely that the intestinal sarcoma had not yet blocked the intestine, which was everyone’s big concern. He suggested giving her a drug to stimulate Trixie’s appetite and encourage her to eat. We considered this, but remembering an earlier experience with giving such medication to Tucker — which made him hungry, but left him still unwilling or unable to eat — we decided against it, hoping that she would start eating again on her own instead.
Not long returning from the vet, I bundled Trixie out to the car for her weekly Saturday visit to her good friend the chiropractor. And that was when I discovered that Trixie had, undetected by the inobservant humans in the front seat, vomited up the small quantity of treats she had eaten that morning, as well as some of the small amount of canned food she had eaten the day before. This was the red flag we didn’t want to see. I cleaned up the back seat and then, while I took Trixie to what would be her final adjustment and goodbye visit, mama called to the vet to make arrangements for Trixie’s last vet visit at 2:30pm the following day.
We still harbored some slight hope that things would turn around; Trixie did accept a small amount of dried beef lung — another favorite — from the chiropractor, who sent us home with an entire bag full of them.
But the next time we offered Trixie some of the beef lung, she declined. Sunday morning came, and Trixie showed no interest in any food or treat we offered. At this point we were sure that anything she ate made her sick to her stomach. Trixie spent a leisurely morning at home, being showered with affection. When it was time to leave for her appointment, she shared a last sniff with Dennis and Saya, and then we went out to the car. She set a leisurely pace, smelling whatever she wanted to smell, for as long as she wanted to smell it.
Back at the vet’s office once more, Trixie went peacefully to the Rainbow Bridge at 2:39pm on 12/6/2015, with her Mama and Dada in attendance. We knew we were doing the right thing for her, but that didn’t make it any easier. We found some comfort in an article posted by Dr. Jennifer Coates, who says:
My clients frequently tell me how worried they are that they might step in too early. To this I reply, “Better a week too early than an hour too late.” I have seen what the “hour too late” looks like and would do anything to spare pets and their owners this level of suffering. In my 12 years of veterinary practice, I have never had a single owner tell me that they wished they had waited longer to euthanize, but countless people have said that they wished they would have stepped in sooner.
Looking back on it now, I don’t think we were a week too early with The Beautiful Trixie, but if we had waited we may well have been an hour too late. Trixie went to the Bridge when she was still our happy girl, and we’re grateful for that. We’re sure that she has made lots of new friends there, as making friends is something that The Beautiful Trixie was always good at.
Run free, Beautiful Trixie, until we see each other again.
In Trixie’s honor, I finished the vanilla ice cream she left behind. It was indeed the finest of the flavors.