We discovered a couple of weeks ago that our beloved dog Max has (had?) congestive heart failure. It's not a surprise that he has gotten old and gray (actually, according to the chart in the vet's office, he has passed the 'adult' and 'elderly' stages and has moved into 'geriatric'), and, truth be told, I knew when we got him from the pound that we would in all probability outlive him. But still, it's not something that you ever really expect. There's a rumor going around that I am cold and heartless, but this is not always true (except with really mean or dumb people). I am the little girl who cried in the bathroom for an hour after reading Where The Red Fern Grows (side note: What the heck kind of terrible book is that to put in the children's section of the library? And what kind of person writes a book like that for children?!). I still have never watched "Old Yeller" all the way through, and when I read The Yearling out loud to my own kids, I changed the ending so that for years they thought the deer just ran away into the woods.
So, when we realized what it was (thank you Google) that was causing Max-the-Dog to cough and have trouble breathing, we prepared for the worst as we took him to the vet. Seriously, we made Jason get up in the wee hours of the morning and say goodbye to him, and with many tears, we drove down to the vet's office. Max-the-Dog is probably one of the very few pets that actually loves visiting the vet, so he wagged his tail as he struggled into the car, which made it worse of course. We were fully expecting sweet Dr Hallock to tell us that it was time to put Max down. Tragic. Heartbreaking.
But, after a blood test and an xray, it was determined that, with new advances in heart medicine, Max-the-Dog can hopefully live another wonderful "6 to 12 months". A reprieve! So, Jamey and I have now become "those people" who faithfully give their dog heart medicine (three kinds!) twice a day, in wonderful meaty canned food, no less. Pricey, yes, but what else can you do for a dog who has faithfully watched over you, your kids, your yard, your walnut tree and your chickens for ten years?
Max of course might be under the illusion that he has already died and gone to dog heaven, since he now gets to eat basically whatever he wants, come inside way more often, and is going on rides to visit his favorite places. He seems to be back to normal - just this morning he chased a squirrel up the apricot tree, across the electric wire and out of the yard. So, we are okay with being 'those pet parents' who put little pills in peanut butter sandwiches and make sure they get eaten (actually, while Max-the-Dog does love peanut butter, he eats everything, so I can simply throw the pills on top of his dinner and he will eat every bit very happily) if it means that we get some good extra time with our good boy.