It has been a rough month on the 'dogs we know and love' front. Two of Loki's 'cousins', dogs he has played with for years, died recently because they, like Loki, just got old.
Loki's medical situation has been tricky, and heart breaking, and anxiety inducing. It has caused a few heated conversations, many tears, a few laughs, but mostly deep sadness. We stopped testing after spending what we agreed was a reasonable amount of money and getting a second opinion. At the end of the day more testing might have given us a diagnosis, but it might not have...and Loki is almost 13 years old.
He has been suffering with some sort of illness that makes it impossible for him to retain protein. His appetite remains steady (although his diet has changed - only 'soft' foods) but his ability to keep weight on is long gone. He is a shadow of his former self...all skin and bones and hollowed out eyes. He looks like a malnourished dog...so much so that a neighborhood busybody started leaving bowls of food and water and (gasp) even called the SPCA (they were totally professional, apologetic and sympathetic once I explained the situation). I can see that the neighbor was acting from a place of goodness but I the message was not so well-received by Christian and it certainly confused and saddened Lucy.
It has been a mix of emotion for the kids - they obviously see that he is sick since he does not move around like he used to...and perhaps Loki's slow death is a blessing...it is very peaceful, mostly pain free and it is giving us all time to come to terms with the idea of life without him around. He started distancing himself from me three months ago when he began to opt out of our morning runs. I am used to running solo now, though I will always miss what was probably the best running partner of my life.
I guess this is all just to say that I am sad about Loki every day. When I wake up in the morning I am on pins and needles until I am sure he is breathing. When I see his chest heave I wonder if it is his last breath...and then still sometimes he will see or hear me and I will use my sweet 'Loki boy' voice and he will thump his tail just to send me a reminder that he is still here, taking it all in, waiting for a few more sticky kisses from James, to lend an ear to me when I want to complain about my day, to sit protectively while Christian putters around in the yard, and to lounge patiently through one last heart to heart with Luz. Thank you boy for breaking it to us gently.
This is the most recent picture I have of Loki. It was taken over Easter weekend at White Plantation. It is amazing how much weight he has lost since then. I will take some pictures this weekend for comparison:
And if you are wondering where all of this is coming from...plain and simple - dogs are awesome. Here, see for yourself:
I guarantee you Loki would hobble home to us on two broken legs. No question.