Friday, May 11, 2012

Nero, RIP: Good dog, bad disease

I've been struggling with this for a week or more, ever since I was no longer to give Nero the daily injections.  He learned that what I was doing was going to burn or sting and he started screaming and fighting to get away from me.  He was trying very hard not to bite me, clearly didn't want to, but he also clearly didn't want me to give him the shots. 

I'm not a believer is putting dogs with cancer through chemotherapy because they can't understand that you are making them miserable in order to try to help them.  Also, it is generally not going to work and at most you are prolonging the inevitable at the expense of their quality of life.  There's a cost/benefit calculation to be made and in most cases, I feel that the costs outweigh the benefits. 

I guess I came to the same conclusion about Nero.  The medication was clearly imposing a cost on him.  It was painful; not the injection itself, which was a minor and temporary discomfort, but the medication would sting once it was in him and he knew it.  I couldn't explain to him that this was the only thing that stood a chance of helping him, as far as he was concerned I was just doing something awful to him.  The benefits were a long shot.  This drug would likely have shut down his kidneys before we made it through the full course of treatment.  Even if we did, it was likely that some new strain of MRSA would have then taken over that was resistent to this medication, which was pretty much the last drug left in the arsenal.  That had been the experience with the prior rounds of antibiotic treatments we had tried. 

After a week to ten days without the medication the infection was coming back with a vengence, as we knew it would.  So today was the day I took him to the vet to be euthanized.  After a good pasture romp yesterday afternoon and again this morning.  A big breakfast of canned food.  It was all I could do.  It's not enough, but it was all I could do.

Nero was a good dog. He drove me crazy with his barking for attention, but he was just so desperate for attention he couldn't help himself and he didn't know any other way. 

I finally decided I would have to come to terms with the dog and we developed a relationship, I took him hiking and we played ball, and it helped us both.  He would have been a very good dog for someone, he was extremely attached and devoted.

He came out of a terrible situation and so I guess his life was much better here, but it was never what it should have been.  I don't believe in the christian heaven/hell thing, but I would like to believe in something like reincarnation, and hope that this guy has a better go of it the next time around.  The Rainbow Bridge myth is beautiful and comforting for us dog people, but in that scenario, I wouldn't want this guy waiting for me, he deserves happiness and a person of his own now.  I hope he will latch onto the next rescuer to die and lead him or her across that bridge.

Nero was a good dog with a bad disease.  Aside from the barking, he was an easy foster in many ways.  He knew the routine around here and he loved it.  He learned things quickly.  He would come when called, he would go back to his kennel when I asked him.  Even when he was loose in the yard, he stuck around.  I guess that tells me he wasn't too unhappy here.  By contrast, the woman who picked him up from the original owner said that he threw himself at her and lept into her truck, ready to get the hell out of there. 

He would have been a wonderful companion.  I'm sorry he never got the chance.  He loved his tennis ball. 


Jo Heil said...

In the short time Nero was with you he experienced more lovethan he experienced in his whole life. Looking at the photos he was one happy pup. Brent any dog who you bring into your home is lucky. You always have their best interest at heart. You did the right thing. It is quallity of life not quantity. I know you wrestled with that decision. It is the hardesst one to make. Thank You for all that you do.

Ashley A said...

Brent - I am so sorry to hear this news. I know that this decision was hard but it was the right one. You gave him a great place to spend the last few months and he loved you for it. Know that he is at peace and if we are lucky he will come back to this world to show you how wonderful he could have been. You are in my thoughts. BIG HUGS and kisses from Krypto

IndestructibleLioness said...

Please accept my deepest condolences. I know that your decision was a hard one but you did the right thing. Nero was lucky to be cared for and loved even if it was for a short time.

Risa said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear about Nero. You made a heroic effort with him, and I'm sure that he knew and understood. May you both find peace.

Ann Mellen said...

Brent, I've been following your blog for awhile now and for my money, Nero was about as lucky as a foster dog gets. You understand the life you wanted for him but all he knew was where he started and where he ended up. Jackpot! There was a reason he was maniacally attached to you. That boy was no fool. RIP Nero.

BudsBuddy said...

You gave Nero every chance at recovery -- and a lot of happy days too -- but it just didn't happen. In my favorite Star Trek episode the captain tells a discouraged crew member: "Sometimes you do everything right and still lose. That's not failure, that's life." Sympathies to you and RIP Nero.

Shelley said...

I just learned of Nero's passing. I followed him on the rescue site and always thought he was a beautiful boy. My white shepherd is 12 this year and nearing the end. I have been watching for a black shepherd but just adopted a
6 y/o black/tan, Zeus. His family is moving and I didn't want to see him go to a shelter.
I am dreading the day that I know is coming with my old girl but I know she has lived a life full of love and happiness.
I found your blog today and I am so inspired by all you do with these dogs. I hope to one day meet you!
May you find comfort in knowing that you truly make a difference in the lives of these animals. That is a special gift not everyone has.

Cathy L said...

I've been thinking about you and Nero every time someone mentions MRSA at work. Again, I am so sorry for your loss and the hurt and disappointment you must be feeling. Hopefully not disappointment with yourself but with the disease. You did an awesome job with him! It's my belief that dogs who go too soon get a "do-over". Because of what you have given him he will know what to look for next time. Perhaps you will see him again. it might be hokey but that's what I try to believe. RIP Nero (and my fosters, Honey, Marley and Madelyn, who also left too soon).