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November 21, 2007

A Terrible Decision

Yesterday I took Pharaoh, my elderly great dane mix, to the vet. He came home with me, but there's only a limited number of hours left.

It's been a long time coming. This trip. It was a consultation on his worsening condition. Since we brought him home he's had terrible back and hip problems, so bad initially that he slept outside for the first week. Stairs have always been his nemesis, and lately they've been more and more of a problem.

He's an incredibly proud dog, and hanging around anywhere near his hind end while he negotiates any obstacle is a good way to end up with puncture wound. His body language is clear, "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HELP. I CAN DO THIS MYSELF." Touch him, and a roar of anger will emit from within and he will go down, all forward progress stopped while he flails to reach you like an alligator in a mud pit. Charming, no?

Pharaoh wasn't meant to be here this long. We adopted him to have a home while he lived out his remaining weeks or months. Instead he lasted a year and a half.

He started following me around after a few days, insisting that his broken, clunky body get up and down to be in the same room with me, even if I was just changing the laundry around. He loves to plunk his head down in my lap, expecting his entire head to be roughly scratched and rubbed for a good 10 minutes before he will finally relax in his own bed. He's slept beside me since he could make it inside the house.

But he's started snarling and snapping at the other dogs and cats, inciting fights with The Jeffrey and ending up the loser in a number of battles. He's refusing to eat more and more often, and he can't seem to remember when he's in or outside before letting loose his bladder anymore.

During the car ride to the vet yesterday he couldn't get all the way onto the car seat to see out the window - possibly his favorite thing ever. He had to ride on the floor.

So this weekend Frinklin and I will have a Pharaoh Day with car rides and walks and dog park. He's on super-duper pain killers to keep his body up to the tasks his mind will enjoy.

Next week he will be put to sleep and his ashes spread over the Tacoma Narrows.

As I write this he is curled up beside me as best a great dane with back problems can curl. I am already missing him.

Pharaoh Comfy.jpg

Posted by Ensie at November 21, 2007 01:12 PM

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When I first read this, I couldn't respond. Largely because I had too many tears I was trying to fight back. Having had the honor of meeting Pharaoh, I know he's an admirable dog. Lots of pride, but still a total sweetheart. I will definitely miss him.

I think your Pharaoh Day is such a sweet, wonderful idea. I'm so glad Pharaoh has been able to spend is latter days in your household. You and Frinklin are the best pet parents ever.

Posted by: Cassioposa at November 21, 2007 02:12 PM

Love you guys and Pharaoh too. He's been such a sweetie when we've come over and definitely a dog even I could love. He has great parents and I'm sure is very grateful.

Posted by: KevinFreitas at November 21, 2007 02:16 PM

I am so sorry. I hope he has lots of nice walks this weekend. You are very special people to have met him where he is at all this time.

Posted by: Jen at November 21, 2007 02:19 PM

I am so so sorry. I know what it's like to have to make this kind of decision and, even when for the best, it is never easy. As fellow pet lovers we thank you for taking Pharaoh in, keeping him, caring for him and loving him so well he lived well beyond his expected time. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend together and please let us know if we can do anything. Angela & Steve

Posted by: Angela at November 21, 2007 02:20 PM

Sad to hear :( Pets are family and it's never easy

Posted by: Michael at November 21, 2007 02:34 PM

Thanks everyone. In between bouts of crying I've been doing OK. Pharaoh has been getting lots of extra walks out of Frinklin and enjoying treats of hot dogs.

I really appreciate your support.

Posted by: ensie at November 21, 2007 08:17 PM

All condolences. What a wonderful year and a half you've given him :)

Posted by: Eden at November 21, 2007 08:34 PM

I came across your blog while looking around on Blog Explosion.

As a dog lover myself (We have 6 of 'em lol) I've been through similar situations as this and your story brought tears to my eyes and an urge to just hug you .. despite you being a complete stranger.

My thoughts are with you .. and thank you for sharing your story. I know too well how painful this is.


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