Saturday, 9 January 2016

Tank's last day on earth

Hi everybody.

This is a sad one so don't read it if you're a week away from starting your period or if you've got pets you love with all your heart.

We had to make the terrible decision to put Tank down yesterday. As I mentioned earlier he had been having seizures nearly every day. Big ones. So we made a vet appointment for yesterday morning.

I got him into the car, he was drooling a lot more than usual. Like thick ropes of drool. I thought he may have been nervous about the car ride so I lay down a towel. Tank would ride in the front seat on the floor where your feet normally go, because ever since Ryan was in a bad car accident that smashed the entire back of the car he swore he wouldn't put any living being somewhere so dangerous.

So Tank was in the front seat.

About ten minutes into the drive he started seizing. I had to find a place to pull over and I just parked and let it happen as we were instructed. But it went on and on and it was bad. His head was jammed between the car door and the seat and one of his legs was twisted weirdly under the seat. When the worst of it was over I went to the passenger side, and opened the door and kneeled beside the car so his head could move from that position. It took him a couple minutes to come back. Blood was coming out his ear. Not for the first time.

And of course then came the panic attack. Damnit body, this shit does NOT help. So I purposely did not bring any drugs along with me because I had a feeling this was going to be a bad vet visit and I am a loopy sleepy weirdo if I take ativan. No way I should take that shit and drive.

So I was sitting in the running car pulled in front of a stranger's house full panic, hyperventilating, sobbing, with a disoriented foaming-at-the-mouth bulldog in the car beside me.

Fuck, get him to the vet.

So once I got my breathing back to ok I started driving. But I was out of my head. And Tank was confused and kept trying to climb onto the passenger seat but falling because his legs kept giving out. And the seat has a weight sensor that screeches if there's somebody on the seat and the seatbelt isn't done up. And the roads are winding. And there's lots of traffic. It was crazy. After some chaos (probably swerving around like a maniac) I managed to fasten the seatbelt behind Tank, get him situated on the passenger seat and drove. He kept falling, and the road was SO DAMN CURVY like holy shit. It's also a 45 minute drive out to where I had to go so this was going on FOREVER.

I screamed at some cyclists on the side of the road "I CAN NOT DEAL WITH CYCLISTS RIGHT NOW" one hand on the steering wheel, one hand holding my fucked up dog on the seat while we went around curve after curve, now trying to keep the car between oncoming traffic and a gang of cyclists taking up half the narrow road.

It was stressful.


We arrived at the vet. Tank was excited. He loves that place. I was still crying from when he had a seizure half an hour ago.

We went into a different room than we usually do and had a pretty short talk ending with some options. But the long and the short of it was ... there was nothing we can do.


The vet said things like "if this were my dog..." "no amount of money will help" "brain tumor"


I said we are realistic about what this appointment meant, but I couldn't make the ultimate choice without talking to the family first. And they said "no charge" for the appointment and they all came out and hugged me.


And I went to the car, loaded up the dog, got in the car and screamed FUCK FUCK FUCK and cried a little. And I don't remember the drive home. Tank didn't want to come in the house, and when I came out a few minutes later he was sleeping at the bottom of the stairs on the freezing cold pavement. I said "hey do you want to come in the house?" And he stood up on shaky legs and it took him so much effort to get up those three steps.

 I took 2 times the amount of ativan I usually take, I don't know why, guess I wanted to escape my feelings. And I must have just fallen asleep on the couch because I woke up hours later to Ryan, who had worked the night shift, asking me how it went.

We had a tough discussion but the long and the short of it was that we didn't want to prolong suffering, even if we weren't ready for it. So I called the vet back and asked when we could come in to have him put down. They said 5pm if we were ready. I said we were ready. I lied.

So we had to wait at home for 3+ hours, Tank of course had no idea and was ignoring our requests for special cuddles until I went to the store and got him his two favorite treats: bran muffins and plain yogurt. (See? He was such an old man!) And I gave him so much, as much as he wanted.

We just hung out on the floor and let him give us kisses or sleep on us or whatever he wanted until it was time to go.


When we got there they had it all set up for us. The vet who was there was the man who had known Tank his entire life. Everybody was so kind and sweet, and they cried with us.

There was a blanket on the floor and treats everywhere. (So sweet, honestly). They gave him a shot of too much anesthetic, which would put him to sleep and said it would take around five minutes. One of the ladies who has also known Tank for years came in and gave him a shortbread cookie which he has never had in his life, he was very into it.

They left us with him and he walked around for a bit and got more and more drowsy, then lay beside the blanket and started snoring. Ryan picked him up and moved him onto the blanket and we gave him all the love and told him all the things a dog wants to hear and then he was sleeping.

They came in and moved him to an operating room, and gave him the final injection. It was all very peaceful and sweet and quick. I am so glad I was there for it, he knew we were there and wasn't scared at all. I did some reading on what to expect before we came and knew that the first injection shuts down brain activity, so he wouldn't be aware of the final moments. He just fell asleep and died.

We left his leash and harness there and decided not to have his ashes sent to us.


The house is so weird.

On our way home that evening I looked at the time and thought "Tank's going to be ready for his dinner when we get there" but ... no. This morning there was nobody to say hello to or to beg for the other 5 muffins in the pack I have to eat alone now.

It's so weirdly empty.

I am certain we did the right thing at the right time, which is a comfort.

I don't know how to end this post.

I'm sad.

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