Last week was rough.
Our thirteen-year-old Labrador Retriever, Lola, was having trouble with her back legs and seemed in distress accompanied by more than usual panting for this time of year. We suspected the Rimadyl was no longer helping her and our vet on Long Island suggested she start taking tramadol along with another painkiller, and supplements, but before making any changes she needed to have a check up.
We put off the visit for a bit but ordered the supplements, and we noticed a slight improvement, but then the heavy panting started again. So off we went to the vet and received a shock. Her panting was connected to being in distress, but not from pain—something was going on in her lungs. Possibly it was pneumonia or worse—cancer. To eliminate the pneumonia diagnosis, she was given antibiotics. She also needed a painkiller and another prescription for her arthritis.
The doctor wanted to test her liver and have her stay overnight, but the Ol’ Man wasn’t comfortable with that, so we took her back home. She seemed okay, no worse than before, but the next morning she vomited her medicine. Later when we were taking her to the car, she collapsed and had a seizure.
This time, we decide she would stay at the clinic overnight for observation, and if everything were okay, she’d come home the next day.
That never happened.
It turned out her liver results were normal, but her liver had shrunk. In addition to that, her kidneys were failing. But what was bleaker was that she vomited her medication and water and refused to eat. Lola is a dog who eats anything offered to her. I have never seen her turn down food unless it was a green bean or a banana.
We drove down to assess the situation, spoke with the vet, and based on what he told us make a decision. The best case scenario was she could live another six months, but her quality of life would be questionable. She’d be doped up, but also given how fast her organs were shutting down she could also make it for another week.
We made the decision, and it was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make in my life. Her passing has left this soft, achy bruise on my heart. I knew she was old, and I was preparing myself to have her leave us one day on her terms. But it didn’t work out that way, and I’m sad she couldn’t have had one final swim, a roll on the grass, or chase a tennis ball or see one more Christmas. Instead, I’m left with memories of the joy she brought me. I will celebrate her life by remembering our good times together.
Goodbye, Pretty Girl.
Lola, April 2, 2002 – July 30, 2015