My sweet little dog crossed the rainbow bridge Friday (July 29). Multiple health issues finally caught up with her. I’ve had her since she was five weeks old. We celebrated her 13th birthday in May.
Six years ago, we discovered she had diabetes — most likely due to Cushing’s Disease. Between my vision issues and her size (6 pounds), checking her sugar at all — much less twice every day — was neither feasible nor possible. In time, I could tell something was off by her behavior.
She got insulin twice a day and saw the vet at least every six months. Three years ago, I started giving her drops for cataracts every day and, since late last year, a pill every other day to ease respiratory issues (wheezing and reverse sneezing). Intestinal issues popped up with increasing frequency.
Her last checkup (in January) didn’t go well. Her routine lab results were way out of line. The vet said she needed more tests to determine the cause, which he believed to be Addison’s Disease. It’s fatal, but can be treated with steroids which diabetics can’t take. Or maybe it was cancer.
I decided then there would be no more testing or treatments. What was the point? Knowing wasn’t going to change a thing.
Several months ago, she refused her kibble. She’d lost most of her teeth and had also been refusing all but soft treats. Switching to wet food helped. When she refused the wet food a month or two ago, I called the vet. He said to cut her next dose of insulin in half and, if she didn’t eat by morning, take her to the hospital for IVs and tests to determine the cause.
A few hours later, she ate some canned tuna. This happened several times in recent weeks. Tuna always worked. A day or two later she’d be back to her old self.
We had a great ay Wednesday. She was happy, frisky and playful. She went outside during the hottest part of the day for a good roll in the grass. She even pranced on our walk.
Thursday morning, I gave her insulin as usual but she didn’t eat. When she refused tuna, I knew the end I’d been preparing for was near. Later, I got her to eat a few bites of tuna and cut her second dose of insulin in half. Maybe an hour later, she threw up all the tuna.
The vet’s office was closed on Thursday. Toodles stayed in her bed at my feet all day. I picked her up and carried her outside to pee a few times. She slept with me and barely moved all night.
Friday morning, I didn’t give her any insulin and called the vet. We talked and I had two options: take her to the hospital or put her down. I wasn’t putting either of us through the hospital thing. I’m grateful to Shoal Creek Animal Clinic for squeezing us in late in the day.
Making the decision was easy. By then, she’d stopped drinking water. Waiting for the 4:40 appointment was the hard part. I laid on the floor next to her most of the day. Picking her up ignited her respiratory issues. My dear friends, Tony and Jesse, drove us to the appointment.
As we waited for the vet to come in, I talked with her about what a good dog she had always been, how much I loved her, and how much I would miss her. She held my gaze the entire time. I’ll never forget that look. She knew and she was ready.
I held her head in my hands and scratched her ears as the vet administered the drugs. The end was peaceful. She rested comfortably the last two days of her life and did not appear to suffer. I am beyond grateful.
Toodles and I have been through a lot together. She died on the 10th anniversary of my dad’s passing. I never would have had a dog without Andy (who we lost in 2018). Seeing him with Tico (2017). made me want a dog too.
We had a great time together. She traveled well, had no bad habits, and had little to do with anyone but me. Since before the pandemic, she was rarely more than a foot or two away. I don’t know what I’ll do with myself without her.
Toodles can’t be replaced, but I do want another dog ASAP. Finding the right one will likely take time. I’d love to have another female long-haired Chihuahua puppy. I definitely want a female puppy that won’t get very big (under 15 pounds) If you know of any, please let me know!