When Life Intervenes

Clancy helping me and Michael hang my large piece in the living room

Clancy helping me and Michael hang my large piece in the living room

 The things I do rather than working every day. 

 Today was Clancy’s recheck at the vet. This meant I had to give him his sedatives at 6:30 am so he would be ready for his 9:30 am appointment. 

We have to sedate him to take him to the vet. This has been going on For years, ever since the first time he bit one of the techs who was trying to give him a shot. That was when we got the muzzle. I’ve been sedating and muzzling this 80 lb dog for 11 years now. Don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t have to carry a drugged 80 lb dog. Within the first few hours of sedation, he’ll still walk to the car. In fact, he’ll still growl, bark, and bite someone if he gets the chance. 

Sunday two weeks ago, the day after the Forth of July, Clancy got a hot spot on his hind leg. Michael had to go to the pet store to get a cone to keep him from biting himself. We were out of sedatives when I took him to the vet Monday, and I didn’t put the muzzle on him at home because he gets rather agitated when it’s on. The past few years he’s been much calmer, so I thought we’d be ok. I was so wrong.

We couldn’t get the muzzel on him in the exam room, he kept biting it. So we decided to bring him back the next day.  We went back to the waiting room to check out and get our medication. When we had gone in it was empty, but now there were other people with other pets there. One of the techs brought a pug out of the back and Clancy freaked out. Michael and I were holding him, trying not to get bit, and the receptionist came over to help us, but I had to warn her off with a loud, “don’t he bites!” Have I mentioned how much I hate this dog.

The next day we drugged him, dropped him off, and picked him up after he was treated. They had to shave his whole leg from the base of his tail to his ankle. He was passed out on the floor the rest of the day, as he is today. It was cleaning day and I explained to the cleaning crew about the vet and all. Today is cleaning day again, so I explained he had to go to the vet again. But still I’m afraid they’re going to think we always drug our dog.

Some people who know me don’t understand why I don’t like dogs, and why I don’t get all gushy over their cute little dogs. I may seem hard hearted, harsh. I used to like dogs, I used to like big dogs, but living with Clancy has taken all of the romance out of the canine species for me. its not just the aggressiveness toward other dogs, which renders him impossible to take out in public; nor the ticks, nor the dog hair all over the house, and its not just the stealing paper and eating it. The digging in the trash and eating tampons, that alone could turn me off from ever having another dog.

But when you have the whole package, when you add to it the biting, the whole ‘man’s best friend’ image is just blown. I can’t put Fontline on him, or remove a tick from him without having to be careful not to get bit. You can’t hold his collar, even gently, to keep him still – he’ll whip his head around and bite your hand. We’ve been ready to put him down several times over the years, and we couldn’t do it. I’ve had conversations with the vet, and when it came down to it, it means killing a healthy dog. She warned me that if I ever bring him in and tell her to put him down (because he bites), it can’t be retracted. She also warned me the biting will not get better as he gets older.

Our decision a few years ago was to let him live out his life, because I couldn’t bring myself to tell the vet to destroy the dog. I fear the day is coming soon when we’re going to have to do it. His back legs both have arthritis. He already can’t jump up into my minivan. We had to get the redwood steps that came with the spa and put them up to the side door of the van for him to get in and out. He doesn’t go into the garage anymore because the two steps up to the house are too hard for him to climb.

When the day comes Clancy can’t get up by himself, we won’t be able to help him. He most likely won’t let us put our arms and hands around his ribcage or under his hips to help him up, its exactly the kind of situation where he bites. He’s 12 now. He’s on pain meds all the time, and the pain seems to be getting worse. He hobbles sometimes. I don’t think he’ll see 13. And I know the decision will fall to me, ultimately the final word will be mine. (My husband and I have been married for 21 1/2 years now, these things I know). I hate this dog, he’s been nothing but trouble; and it’s still going to break my heart when I have to make the final decision.

I am never, ever having another dog.

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