When Piri was young and healthy we only had two kinds of treats in his feeding rotation, which we gave twice a day, and maybe 2 special treats for special occasions (birthdays, holidays, when there was something else to celebrate). My main thing was I didn't want to upset his stomach by giving him something new.
After Piri was diagnosed with kidney disease we restricted his treats even more.
After his cancer diagnosis, his treat basket is exploding. Every time I order from Chewy or I'm passing by a pet store, I stop and pick up a new bag of something.
For the past couple of weeks, Piri was all about Vera's chicken fillet, Natural Balance dental chews (duck meal) and Zuke's chicken fillet (Rosemary, Sage and Turmeric). But his interest in those seem to be gone as quickly as they came.
A few weeks ago I came home with a bag of rawhide chews - chicken and beef flavor. I remember we stopped giving him rawhides because his gums started bleeding. And then we deemed it too high in protein after his kidney disease diagnosis. But he loved them. And I felt bad that we didn't give it to him all these years.
Excitedly I opened the bag and gave one to Piri. He took it in his mouth and dropped it. And for a while he just kept it close to his chest and slept. I dunked it in water so that it could become soft, but he still kept it close to him but didn't chew.
He's too old for chews. He had three of his teeth extracted. He has oral melanoma.
I bought these for him because I had felt so bad but I ended up feeling worse that he couldn't have it even if it was now right in front of him.
When Piri came to live with me, I didn't give him any scrap food (pizza, hamburger, fries, etc.) because I didn't want to ruin his appetite. Instead I gave him fresh fruits and vegetables, his treats and his dog food, which he ate like clockwork. But after all these years, I wonder now if I was too strict. And this feeling of guilt and feeling bad is just an endless cycle for me.
People tell me I did a good job and that I did all I could. I don't know why at this moment, when Piri is old and sick, that I keep doubting myself. As if... he is sick because I didn't do a good enough job. That I didn't give him cancer fighting supplements when I had the chance. That it was something I did, or didn't do, that made him sick.
Piri has a recheck with the oncologist on Monday to see how his cancer treatment is holding up. We aren't that hopeful as he hasn't been doing very well these past couple of days. And in the bigger schemes of things, he has steadily gotten worse since starting treatment back in late March. I thought back then he wasn't eating well. I realize now he ate like a champ compared to now. His stool is increasingly bad. His drops his food like he's in pain - just like how he used to when he had the mass inside his mouth.
I know I'm going to have to decide. These big decisions (continue chemo or not, give him a new vaccine that hasn't been tested in the US or not - having to make decisions never NEVER ends) that just weigh so heavily on my shoulders. And each time I make them, I wonder if it's the right choice... or if I have made a mistake like how I did with those stupid rawhide chews.