The past few weeks have been very bittersweet here in our house. Foyle's kidneys are starting to fail very quickly and he's been declining day by day to the point where I keep thinking today is going to be the day....no, today will be the day.....it will be this week, definitely. But then I see a hint of energy in his eyes, he scrambles to get up to go out for a walk or a car ride, and he just wants to keep going. Am I being selfish keeping him alive? Yes, definitely. Is he just being a Newfoundland and being stoic? Absolutely, it's part of the breed to want to keep working and Foyle just wants to be with his pack at all times now.
This is pure torture, and it is heart wrenching to even bring the thought up in my mind that I should just take him down to the vet and not let him go through this at all when ultimately we'll end up making the decision to put him down anyway. But it feels like an execution to me, it really does right now. If he was in significant pain then I wouldn't hesitate but he seems relatively comfortable for the time being, and as long as he's comfortable then I still want him with me. Selfish, I know.
It's so hard to let go, as I'm sure many of you know, especially with the silence that will be there afterwards. The missing silhouette in the window when I come home from work, no longer taking him on Sunday morning walks with his buddies, no more feeling him bump me from behind when he wants to go outside or get something to eat. No more Foyle.
The guilt is already settling in because I know there will be a feeling of relief that I will have when it is all over. The relief of not having to wonder when his kidneys will finally give in, the relief of not spending an outrageous amount of money on medication and vet bills, the relief on not having to worry about him getting hurt at the dog park because he wouldn't survive another surgery. We've done absolutely everything possible, with the exception of a kidney transplant, to give him four more years so there's no regret that we could have done more for him. At least there's no regret.
But for now I am thankful that he is still meeting us at the door, jumping on the bed to lay with us even if it is for only a few minutes, and having enough of an appetite to eat the steak dinners he's been missing out on for the past four years. Everyone has been saying that he's been lucky to have us, but really we are the lucky ones that were able to get such a sweet, wonderful dog! So now we wait to say goodbye.