October 12, 2012. It's been over a year since we lost Deco. As can be seen in an earlier post on the main page, we had to say goodbye to Deco on July 31, 2011.
On Thursday, July 28th, Deco went to bed on the main floor, not much different from any other night. There was no indication of what was in the immediate future. In retrospect, maybe there was a sign. She didn't follow us upstairs in the hope that we would let her sleep with us on our double bed, which was a rare occurrence.
On Friday, July 29th, Deco woke up unsteadily. I went to the back door, thinking that I would need to let her out. Danforth charged out the back door, like he always does, Kitty just kept laying on the loveseat, like she always does. But Deco, she stood at the door, unwilling to go outside. She was shaking, and I wondered if something was frightening her. It was a sunny day, as opposed to there being a thundershower. Deco was terrified of thunder. Deco dropped out a little "poopsicle". Just a single little poop. Very rare for Deco to accidentally relieve herself inside the house. Sarah came down, and asked me what was going on, and because Deco was shaking, I suggested taking her for a short walk to the end of our street, where there is a parkette. We don't have grass on our property, so sometimes the dogs like to munch on the grass like a billy goat. Sarah leashed up both Kitty and Deco, and Deco could barely make it partway down the street. She refused breakfast.
I don't remember how long into the day that we waited, but I think that it was some time in the afternoon when Sarah said that she didn't like how things were looking with Deco, and decided to take Deco to the vet. She spent several hours down there with Deco while tests were being performed. No results indicative of anything were coming back, and by late evening, Sarah asked if I could come down to swap out staying with Deco. I did, and by this time, Deco had been put into one of the cells in the basement to spend the evening. I don't mean to describe it like she was being jailed. I just can't think of another word to describe it. Anyway, I don't see it as a prison, just a way to separate all of the vet's in-patients. She had barely been going to the bathroom up to this point, and she was still struggling with stairs. I stayed with Deco until about 3 or 4 in the morning. I decided to leave, so that I could come back the next morning.
When I came back, she appeared to be in better spirits, though she was still moving slowly. I had gotten a text sometime after 9am from my friend Chris, who was asking how Deco was doing. I responded that she seems to be doing ok, and at 9:39AM, he responded "That's great!". I stayed with her while more test were performed. This was very difficult for all of us, including our vet, who was struggling for any sign of what was going on. At this point, no test result had given any indication of what was wrong.
At 3:18PM, Chris followed up, and I told him that there was no news yet. The ultrasound didn't tell much, and that they may do another Xray. They continued with pain medication and antibiotics.
But by somewhere between 5 and 6PM, the vet gave me the bad news. Deco's lungs had been filling up with fluid (pleural effusion), she had pneumonia, caused by blood clots in her lungs. She was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a deterioration of the heart muscle. They didn't believe that they could do anything. There was one "Hail Mary" that they could try, but the risks involved were so high, they couldn't recommend it. By 6PM, I had called Sarah to tell her, and even though I hadn't broken down, I was on the verge. Our beautiful Deco was not well, and there was nothing that could be done.
Sarah decided that she wanted to take Deco home. I was reluctant, but unwilling to fight her about it. We brought her home, and fed her a bag of ice chips that Chris had bought, since that was the only thing that we could give to her. I still regret not having bought some cheese slices. I will always wonder if that would have been the only solid food that she would have eaten. Boy, was that ever her "trigger" food. We called our friend Stacie, because we knew that, like us, the news that Deco was so severely ailing would be crushing. Stacie came by with her daughter, Carmen, so that they could spend some time with her before she passed.
By the time it was midnight, we knew that we were simply being selfish. Deco was not going to recover. We called our vet to ask if he could come over to put Deco out of her pain, and he agreed. He came by sometime past 4AM, and he did what needed to be done. We are grateful to his understanding and willingness to come at such an awful time of day.
To this day, it is heartbreaking. Though Sarah had been through this before, it was my first time having my own dog put down. Typing this brings tears to my eyes. And every time I look through these, I remember the beauty that Deco was, and all the wonderful memories that she gave me.
So it's time that I put together a page just of Deco pictures, to celebrate what we continue to miss.