How cute is that little face?!? This is Steffy who was recently surrendered to a shelter by her former owner and ended up with my rescue and in my home. I frequently foster seniors and dogs with significant medical issues and she checks both of those boxes. I am not afraid of a challenge and have taken dogs through serious neuro-surgeries, regular therapies, special dietary issues, etc. I am happy to do it and the dogs deserve a good advocate. The hardest part is having to help one of the dogs to pass when things have gotten to0 severe and we are out of options. Although that is always difficult, I can feel good that I always stay with them, pet them throughout and talk to them to try to soothe them and I always know that at that point, I have done all that I can.
For dogs that I have had the privilege of fostering for a long time, I know that I am able to soothe them through this last life transition. Grandma Pearl, a favorite foster who lived with me for most of her last year, was calm and fearless in the face of her last moments because we had been together for a while and she trusted me. But in cases like Steffy, it is so hard! She just arrived here. After taking her to the vet today, it is looking very likely to be that the best course of action is going to be to euthanize her. I can try to comfort her but she doesn’t know me, she doesn’t trust me yet and she has no idea what is happening to her. Surrendering a dog in this condition to a shelter is so cruel. If she were able to be with a familiar person during these final life moments, that person could soothe her, talk to her, look into her eyes and she would know that she was loved. Perhaps the prior owner wasn’t a good person or wouldn’t have been a calming presence for Steffy, but I think more often than not, the prior owner was too afraid to do it themselves. They were too selfish to look that dog in the eye and take them through this process. Or maybe they feel too guilty for not providing the proper vet care for the years leading up to this critical point.
I am still hoping that things will turn around for Steffy. I am hoping we will be able to successfully remove the tumor, address her pain, fix her broken teeth, make her comfortable, let her feel loved and cared for but if we can’t…I’ll do the best I can.