I don't know why I have trouble handling the upsetting news of Piri's cancer regrowth. Or why it's been so difficult for me to come to terms with him having this terminal illness. I see other dog people who had to go through similar painful experiences but seem so strong.. no matter how much their heart hurt they remained strong.
I, on the other hand, am fearful of what may come.
Will it be sudden? In a matter of weeks? Or will it be another 6 months? Or will it be longer?
Will he slowly just die before my eyes. Wither away more than he already has. Will he not eat and soil in his bed. Will he not recognize us. Will he continue to hang on despite his health continuously failing because he has been such a strong willed fighter all this time... because he wants to be with us as much as we want to be with him. Will we be left with no viable option except to put him to sleep or will he go peacefully in our arms.
I don't think I can bear to see him lifeless. I try to find comfort looking back at our long time together but sometimes it makes it worse.
Piri wants to go everywhere we go. Even if we are in the other room, he'll trot over and stay close to us. Every time I see him like this my heart hurts and I begin to put human motives in his behavior... it makes me think he really really wants to be with us and has no intention of going.
I know.. it sounds silly. But to my broken heart it also sounds plausible.
Yangkyu and I talked over the possibility of euthanasia yesterday. I know it's very premature. I just wanted to be on the same page with him should we ever have to face that cruel situation.
After conversing a lot of what if's, we concluded that it is not an option for us. We will likely revisit this decision in the future should things just turn so terribly horribly impossibly hard for Piri and mass removal surgeries are no longer an option, but right this second, we don't think that it is our right to decide to end Piri's life or not.
Last Christmas, a friend on Instagram gifted me with a book called The Last Walk. I read the first chapter and couldn't bear to continue on. But a passage got my attention and has stayed with me all this time..
Is a "natural death preferable, for Ody, to euthanasia? Why is it that we have such a revulsion against euthanasia for human beings, yet when it comes to animals this good death comes to feel almost obligatory? If it is an act of such compassion, shouldn't we be more willing to provide this assistance for our beloved human companions as well?
I worry: will I be able to read Ody's signals? And I wonder: does life ever become so burdensome for an animal that he or she would prefer death, or is this something we have judged from the outside? Is it that their lives become burdensome for them, or for us? The more troublesome Ody becomes -- the more he pees on the floor, the more often he barks for no reason at odd hours of the night, the more frequently he stands, confused and panting, in the middle of the kitchen while I'm trying to cook dinner - the more ambiguous the question of burdens becomes.
-- The Last Walk, Jessica Pierce