This is my dog, Sugar, who just turned 9 years old. Last August, I noticed that the skin on her nose was discolored, and that there was mucus around her eyes. I took her to the vet, and he was not immediately sure what was wrong. We ran some tests — first, it was liver damage, then skin cancer, then a bad bacterial infection — until finally we pinpointed it to Lupus (I know, Dr. House wouldn’t have been pleased).
The treatment was complicated, and not exactly inexpensive. Sugar wasn’t getting much better. I told the vet that I just couldn’t afford her medications, and felt that she was suffering enough to more than justify putting her down. He wanted me to try one more time, that we’d switch the medication up, and that maybe we could get her on a schedule of pills that she could tolerate better. This second attempt worked, and I was graced with a closer shadow of the dog I once had prior to her illness. The ulcerations and scabs and missing fur all over her face were replaced with smooth skin, and almost full growth of her hair. The fur on her muzzle and the skin on her nose as well as tips of her ears never fully came back. But some of her energy and happiness did.
Until about 6 days ago. Mucus appeared around her eyes and she refused to take her pills or eat. I knew it was time. My dad said he wanted to be there. My mom and grandma also wanted to come. It was the first time my mom and dad had been in the same room in over 3.5 years. The doctor came into the room with an assistant. Sugar was sitting on her favorite blanket. He shaved her arm, put in a catheter, made sure it was clear, and asked “Are you ready?” I said yes, please just do it. Within two seconds of him starting the injection, my dad saw her eyes go. The rest of the injection went in and her head went down. It was instantaneous. The first time I’ve ever seen my dad shed a tear.