Regular readers will know that occasionally I publish links to article in the Whole Dog Journal, when I find the subject matter interesting or thought provoking. Recently a piece came in on the subject of euthanazie - when is the right time and as my galga Carmela has started to suffer from dementia, I read up some more. Links to a couple of articles are below.
It is over 10 years since Carmela came into my life, during one of my many trips into Spain with L'Europe des Levriers to bring back podencos and galgos for homing in France. She had been rescued from a perrera and showed many signs of having been badly treated by her galguero, mostly in mental fear. She gradually gained in confidence living alongside my outgoing very friendly galga Sahara - who sadly was pts when riddled with cancer. No longer living in the shadow of Sahara, Carmela became a lively happy galga, a joy to behold.
Last September whilst we were in the UK for a wedding, I got a call from our house/animal sitter that Carmela had collapsed and they were en route for the vet. We immediately cancelled the rest of our plans, booked an earlier ferry and headed home. Carmela spent 4 days in the vet clinic and made a slow recovery. Mainly her balance was affected and our vet suspected a stroke. We took her to the vet hospital in La Rochelle where an MRI scan confirmed evidence of a stroke. After 6 weeks on medication (mainly Candilat) a second MRI scan showed Carmela had made a 99% recovery. At the beginning of 2019 she had a second stroke which left her with bladder problems and a blood test showed liver problems too. I've renamed her Miss Costalot as her medication is over 100 euros/month!
She's had a third milder stroke, brought on by a thunderstorm of which she is petrified, and over the months she's started to show signs of dementia. Mealtimes are difficult insofar as she will be partway through a meal and then walk away; she needs reminding that she has a meal to eat and returns to it. Sometimes she stands in a corner and 'sings' - she's always sung but never as much as she does now. Quite often she is 'spaced out'. The bladder problem is mainly leakage - I have towels folded over all the vet bedding in the dogs' beds, which are relatively easy to wash and dry (may be a problem come winter!). She still has problems sometimes walking in a straight line but on a good day runs and plays with the other galgos in the courtyard.
It is likely she will suffer more strokes and each one will take its told on her health. It is probable that one day the ultimate decision will have to be made.
I had to make the ultimate decision earlier this year when my beloved last horse, aged 26, collapsed once or twice and on the last occasion he was unable to get up.
In this respect we are kinder to our family animals than to our human family. Until the days comes to make that decision again, we will continue to enjoy the company of Carmela each day.