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abattoir5
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abattoir5

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26 May 2006
My wife Jan saved Pesto from a neighborhood pet shop 13 years ago. I say 'saved' because, since he was 6 months old and not likely to be sold, he was being kept in a filthy cage in the basement. His hair was dirty and matted and he had a cough. When I came home and saw him for the first time, my first reaction was to tell Jan to take him back and get her money back. She told me to lower my voice as the poor dog was frightened enough already.

The next day she took him to the vet for a check-up, got medicine for his cough and brought him to a groomer. When I came home that night I saw the beautiful dog Jan had seen beneath the filth and sickness. While he started out as Jan's dog, he quickly became 'our' dog. I've often told Jan that she represented the parent, with all the attendant headaches, while I was the uncle who got to just do all the fun stuff.

Shortly after we moved to a new apartment, we noticed that Pesto was becoming increasingly agitated when it rained - especially during thunderstorms. We began giving him Rescue Remedy and doing our best comfort him. Over the next several years, he bacame more and more anxious. The vet said he might have Cushing's disease and he seemed to be exhibiting some of the symptoms - drinking a lot water, urinating frequently, panting, etc. Several rounds of tests were inconclusive.

For the past year Pesto has had to go out several times each day and more often at night. Since I work full-time and Jan baby-sits occasionally, the burden fell on her to walk him, sometime four or five times a night. He also seemed to be losing his zest for life, having breifly interludes of happiness but looking miserable the rest of the time. Jan was heart-broken to see him fading and expressed her thought of ending his suffering. I asked her to try and keep up hope pointing to the brief happy periods. When he stopped eating, Jan said she could no longer bear to watch him fading away.

We agreed to put to him to sleep. When the vet asked if we were in agreement about the decision, we said yes, though I was still secretly hoping Jan would have a change of heart. I felt I had to respect and support her decision, since she was Pesto's primary caregiver (mommy). When the vet suggested we take him to a specialist, I again hell out hope that Jan would agree. But she said she couldn't bear to prolong his and her suffering.

That was on May 24. For the past two days I have been riddled with guilt, thinking I should have volunteered to walk him at night, taken him to a specialist myself - anything to change the outcome. I am haunted with the image of him trying to leave the vet's office while we waited, as if he somehow knew what lay ahead. I haven't even begun to feel sadness for the loss and am doing my best to support Jan in her suffering. It's way worse than either of us could have imagined.

Sorry about the long post - it's my first. We could both use some words of hope for the future, because right now it's bleak.

Thanks for listening.

Chris
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