I found out yesterday that our wonderful gentle giant of a dog has chronic renal disease (CRF). As it turns out he was dealt some bad kidneys at birth, we found out they are abnormally shaped which has lead to his disease.
I took him in for a routine teeth cleaning yesterday and I ticked the box to get his bloodwork checked. Our vet called us later on that day, I thought to tell us we could pick him up. I was not expecting what she said in the least. See Newton always has been a bit on the lazy side, every since he was a pup. He hasn’t exhibited any of the signs as listed below, except for excessive water intake. So it shook the ground I thought was stable and threw me for a loop.
Chronic renal failure is one of the most common diseases seen in older dogs, right up there with arthritis and cancer.
Unfortunately, by the time most dogs show signs of kidney disease, much of the irreplaceable tissue needed for good renal function is already destroyed.
Many pet owners mistakenly think that as long as their dog is peeing a lot – often more than he did in his younger years, in fact – his kidneys are still working well. In fact, the opposite is true.
A dog with developing kidney disease will feel the need to drink and urinate more in an effort to keep his body free of waste – a job his kidneys once did with a whole lot less effort. This cycle of over drinking and over urinating will work for a while, but eventually, no amount of water will be enough to get the job done.
By the time your pet starts showing other obvious signs of illness, for example lack of appetite, weight loss or low energy level, significant irreversible kidney damage has occurred. (Thanks http://healthypets.mercola.com for this descriptive).
My heart is shattered. I am still in shock. He’s on an IV to try and increase the functionality of his kidneys until Saturday. Best case scenario is that he lives for 3-4 more years with meds and a special diet (yay!). Worst case is that he won’t live another 6 months.
Everything about this is unexpected. As an owner of a pet under 3 years of age, you do not expect to have to think about these kinds of things, this soon. I’m at the angry stage of my acceptance. He does not deserve this, the prodding the procedures. One thing I will never accept is for him to be in pain. So far, he is not.
As most pet owners can understand, He’s my best friend. Where I go, so does he so it’s hard to think about a parting. You know this will happen eventually, but not before your story together has had time to develop.This has been a very difficult time for us, this period of not knowing. Friday is when we’ll have a definitive answer of how long my loving giant has with us and how far his progression is.
To help me cope with this, I turned to writing. I wrote my very best friend a letter and made a promise.
It’s with the heaviest of hearts I write this.
Today I was told you weren’t perfect.
To me, you still are.
The doctors aren’t sure if you’ll live 6 months or 4 years.
I want you to live forever.
I visited you today in your sterile temporary home.
I missed you and cried when I saw you. I could not hold it together.
I thought of everything you’ve given me over the past 2 years, and as I looked into the kindest big brown eyes I promised you:
You will never suffer or be a prisoner of your own body for my selfish reasons.
You have always treated others with the gentleness and tolerance I can only admire.
Therefore, I pledge to you, my very best friend, that whether you live for 6 months of forever:
You shall be treated with respect.
You shall only be treated with love.
You, my gentle giant deserve only the best. You’ve given me so much. You’ve been the keeper to my secrets, my shoulder, my confident, my jester, my soldier, my love.
My favorite moments are when you sneak up and give me hugs as I’m tying my shoelaces, letting me know you understand I’m leaving, but not forever.
What am I to you?
I can only be more.