What a terrible weekend! My son was swimming in the Junior Olympics in NJ. My husband and I took him while my daughter and our 5 y/o Shih Tzu stayed with my mom in PA (where we're from). On Friday I got a hysterical call on my cell phone from my daughter saying that she had been playing withToby, our Shih Tzu, and he let out a scream and now he was dragging his leg behind him. I originally thought he had a stroke but he just got worse every minute. I wanted to come home but my mom kept telling me no, stay there, we can handle this. They took him to a vet who said he felt that Toby had a ruptured disc and he wanted him seen by a neuro surgeon on Monday. He gave them 2 types of pain killers and 1 steroid to give him. By Saturday afternoon, he was so bad that he had no feeling at all in his hind quarters. I guess he would feel that he had to go to the bathroom but couldn't control it and would start screaming and trying to run in a circle just dragging his back legs behind him while bitting at his rear end. Then he would just fall over and lay there. No one could get the medicine into him because he wouldn't let anyone near him without bitting them. By Saturday evening, he was so bad that my mom and my sister had to put him in his crate and just leave him there because they were afraid he would hurt himself if he was able to get around the house, he was peeing all over, and he bit my sister so hard he drew blood when she tried to pick him up to take him outside to the bathroom. We left my son with team mates and my husband brought me to my moms house, dropped me off, and went back to NJ to be with our son. I was up with Toby all night Saturday night as he just kept crying and spinning around in circles in the crate and falling over. It was the worse thing I've ever seen. It just broke my heart. Sunday morning I called the neuro surgeon that the vet had given me the number for and they actually have an emergency hospital for pets that's open 24/7 and they told me to bring him in right away (which I wish the vet had told them on Saturday, they could have taken him in then). The vet there told me that she felt that indeed he had ruptured a disc and that the tests that she did showed he had no deep pain sensation at all, so basically he was paralyzed from behind the front legs back. She said they could do surgery on him but that his chances were 20-50% for only a partial recovery and it had to be done immediately. She felt he would probably have to use wheels and need diapers and constant care if he survived the surgery. How do you make a decision like this?? It was the worst decision I've ever had to make. Do I put him through the surgery in the hopes that he will recover? If he doesn't recover fully are we able to take care of a dog in diapers who will probably need constant care? Is it fair to Toby to have him live like that? He doesn't want anyone cutting his toenails, how will he be with letting me change a diaper? My daugher feels that it's her fault, do I want her seeing him in diapers for the next __ years and feeling that guilt? OMG, so many questions, so little time to decide, and my husband not here to help me! Honestly, it's hard to understand how bad this was if you didn't see Toby. He was such a pitiful looking soul - it broke my heart. In the end, I made the final decision to put him to sleep. The hospital said they would keep him there, under light sedation to keep him as pain free as possible, until we could get the kids in to say their goodbyes. We took the kids in that night at 9pm and had our final alone time with Toby. It was gut wrenching. I asked if I could stay with him when they put him to sleep and they said yes. I felt I owed it to Toby to not let him be alone with strangers in his final moments. He went very peacefully.
Now, I can't stop second guessing myself. I feel such terrible guilt that maybe I should have tried the surgery. I know in my head that I did the right thing for Toby but my heart hasn't caught up to that thinking yet. Coming home that night to an empty house was aweful. His things were everywhere. I couldn't go to work this morning and my daughter couldn't go to school. It's as though my feelings are out of my control as I don't seem to be able to stop crying. I'm trying to be strong for the kids but then my daughter will say something like, he's not here to cuddle up to me on the couch. She's a mess too and can't stop crying. She said, "I feel stupid crying like this over a dog". I try to comfort her by telling her that a pet is a part of your family and it does hurt terribly to loose them but I feel the same way she does. I miss him so much!!