WARNING: This blog contains details of a puppy being euthanized.
Yesterday afternoon I had Tiddler euthanized. I had expressed concerns about Tiddler as he had been born small with a very domed head and open fontelle, which is one of the classic symptoms of Hydrocephalus (water on the brain). You so sometimes want to be wrong and my initial concerns were undeniably confirmed at around 14 days as his eyes opened and they were set in the classic symptomatic position of water on the brain causing pressure in the cranium which makes the eyes appear to gaze downward (called the “setting sun sign”). He also was not as lively as the other puppies and this was getting more noticeable as each day passed, and on nursing him had a rigidity and twitchiness coming about him.
I rang the vet yesterday morning and spoke with him, expressing my concerns and that from what I had researched on hydrocephalus and how classically Tiddler was presenting, that I was considering euthanasia as the best option for Tiddler, but I was still open minded and on the vet examining him would consider his opinion if it was contrary to mine. I said, "I know it might sound rather hard of me, but I have not come to this decision lightly," and he said, "No, I think you are being very pragmatic about the situation." I told him that I did not want to bring Tiddler in to surgery and booked the vet for a home visit.
My vet arrived just after 3 pm and on examining him, was in no doubt that the puppy had what I had diagnosed him with and the only way forward for him in the very near future would of been shunt surgery, but as I knew and he confirmed, this would just be palliative care. Tiddler would be lucky to see 12 months even with surgery and he's death then would either be during a fit or as of a result of a fit being paralyzed and being then euthanized. He's very short life would of been one of suffering and struggle.
Tiddler was not an angel sent to me, he was a puppy born highly compromised and would have very little if no quality of life. I had an option here for him though, a duty. Yesterday just before 4 pm with our four oldest children wishing to be present (The two youngest had gone to my Mother-in-laws), Tiddler was given an injection in the neck of sedative whilst suckling his Mother, which put him in a deep sleep and when his Mother left the whelping box. Tiddler was removed and gently laid in a towel in the arms of the veterinary nurse who was with the vet and due to Tiddler being small and a vein hard to find, the concentrated dose of penobarbital was administered abominably (known as an intraperitoneal injection) and within a minute his breathing ceased and soon after his heart stopped. It was very peaceful and I felt like we had made the right choice for him. I had agreed prior to him being euthanized, that the vet surgery could have his body for autopsy or used towards any research. I lent forward kissed him and the vet and nurse left with Tiddler wrapped in a towel.
Tiddler touched our hearts and did not leave us without being noticed. Deep in the recesses of the psyche he has been given a space which he can be recalled from. They never leave you.
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!