Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Another Somber Christmas

Ro, in happier and healthier days.

   We survived the fourth Christmas which has occurred following the sudden passing of Daniel, the day after Thanksgiving, in 2008.   It was a pleasant gathering.   We bought a moderate number of gifts, and filled Christmas stockings.  My husband, the perennial excellent cook, prepared the turkey and other fixings including the stuffing, and I prepared sweet potatoes. All of our children came to the gathering, including our daughter who has her own house now.
                A lot of my time this Christmas was taken up caring for Rosheen  (Irish Gaelic spelling is Roisin)  When our small hunting dog Angus died on December 1st, at a very advanced age, Rosheen seemed depressed.   Despite my keeping an eye on her, she seemed to slide. She is fourteen, but not nearly as old as Angus had been.  This week it was hard to ignore her being withdrawn and so we finally had to have her assessed.  Ro had a bladder infection, which explains her comparative listlessness and poor appetite in the last couple of days.  We moved her from the kennel room she shared with Angus, and from the other dogs, to a warmer barn room which is more suitable for caring for sick animals.  We set up a sponge mattress, chux, and some soft and warm blankets.  Despite antibiotics, her appetite remains poor. She is drinking water very well. Fortunately, she is not diabetic, which would have made the management of this issue even tougher. I realize that time is winding down for Ro.  I would still like to get her through this illness and keep her with us for another few months, but I understand that I don't choose how long our beloved pets remain with us, as hard as we do try.
                Daniel was very fond of Rosheen. Our daughter Stephanie remembers that once when she was young, Ro ran off toward the road, and Daniel screamed,  "Rosheen !  Don't go, I love you !" And then the little dog returned to him.    So many of our animals were very young when we got them, and they grew up with Daniel. It's hard to watch them become old and pass now, even though we know they will go to Daniel
               I spent yesterday every one to two hours checking on Ro, offering everything from chicken broth to gatorade, and then eventually even turkey and plain sweet potatoes.  She took lots of fluids but no food.
I will keep in touch with the vet today.
                Today, despite the heavy rain and intermittent snow and cold, my daughter Stephanie and I have been caring for Ro about every hour.  We can do nothing more but get varied fluids into her. She still can get up and walk with a leash to the outdoors, but I don't know how much longer she can go without food.  When Stephanie bought her own home this year, we all made a decision not to move Rosheen, who was always Stephanie's dog, with her.  We thought that Ro would do better staying with Angus and with the dogs she had known all of her life.  In addition, Stephanie lives nearby and is here all the time. I hope we made a good decision.  When a beloved pet is failing, it's easy to second guess onesself.    Prayers for Ro are always appreciated.

UPDATE:  Rosheen passed at 5:15 pm on Friday December 28th, 2012.   No doubt, she was in a hurry to follow her mate and cherished companion of many years, Angus, who passed suddenly following a stroke on December 1st.    Right now, I am very sad, but with time I trust that I will come to realize all the blessings associated with this passing.  I was fortunate enough to be with her. She rested quietly while listening to the radio the entire last day, and she truly knew how much we love her.


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