Jeepers, The Finale
I didn’t want to write a blog post about Jeepers passing. But each time I sat down to write about something else, I couldn’t finish. So, here it goes.
Many of you have been on this journey with me. You have heard how Jeepers came into my life. I think it’s fitting that you hear how she left.
5 months ago when Jeepers started showing odd signs of imbalance and strange back leg placement, we feared the worst. Of course I went Google crazy looking for something that matched what she seemed to be presenting. Her symptoms pointed to something neurological. X-rays were not conclusive. We saw an orthopedist, we did some therapy, and when we went back for a re-check, the orthopedist sent us to a neurologist. Her initial thoughts had changed.
The neurologist gave us a few possible diagnoses. She feared it was a tumor in her spinal column. We could do an MRI to verify that information, knowing that a tumor located there would be inoperable, or we could put her on Prednisone first, and see what kind of changes would occur. We chose the latter.
For a few months, Jeepers had her coordination back. She was no longer dragging her back paw. Her gait wasn’t perfect but it was a whole lot better than it had been. At the same time, though, we noticed that she had lost most of the muscle tone in her right-front and right-rear legs. Her hips were moving in a more deliberate stride and much lower to the ground. The Prednisone was losing its effectiveness and some of the side effects, like excessive panting, were starting to be much more pronounced.
As I started to face the reality that my sweet dog didn’t have a lot of time left, I worried most that she would “seem” perfectly fine mentally, but be “not fine” physically, and that it would make our decision of when to let her go, impossible.
This is when we had our talk.
I told her that I was sure she would have her beautiful smile on her face until she took her last breath and I was going to have a lot of trouble knowing when she would be ready. So we cut a deal. I told her that when the number of times that we had to help her get up, overwhelmingly exceeded the number of times she could get up herself, we would have our answer.
And that is exactly what happened. On the morning of July 9, she could not get herself out of bed. We took her outside for her morning potty, but she was so focused on trying to stay standing, that she couldn’t go. We brought her inside and laid her gently on her bed in the middle of the living room where we hugged, kissed, and loved on her for her remaining hours. Her last meal was her most favorite thing in the world, chicken curry, which she gulped down like a champ.
Our faces were the last thing she saw. Our voices were the last thing she heard.
Until we meet again, my sweet Jeepers...