Feb 18 2008
Pepe is ill. His kidneys don’t work very well, he’s drinking and peeing a lot, and he slowly loses weight. Getting the diagnose of kidney failure took a while because the vet wanted to check his blood and urine a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t a temporary illness that could be cured with some anti-biotic. She prescribed him antibiotics for a month ówhich made him feel nauseated causing even more weight lossó but it didn’t help.
So he is going to die. Not in a couple of months, but probably in a year of two. There is no cure but we can stretch his life a little, and improve his quality of life by giving him magical kidney powder. In order to make sure the medication is not having bad side-effects he also needs blood-tests every 3 months.
All this is not going to break the bank (it’ll cost slightly more than dollar a day) but during the last few months we thought long and hard what our limits are. Not only financial, but also moral. Should one really spend thousands of dollars to prolong the life of a dog (who had a good 12 years on earth) while for the same amount of money you could keep some people alive? It starts with a few dollars but since you have started, when and where do you stop? We’ve decided to treat him until the treatment stops working or until he has pain and isn’t happy anymore. But no big interventions.
Just thinking about our boundaries makes us feel guilty. Who are we to decide about life and death? But in reality we do. Our pets won’t survive without us. They need us for food and shelter and in return they keep us company and give us affection. But all these questions and doubts come up with Pepe, a dog we don’t have such a tight bond with compared to Poupoune. If Poupoune was ill we probably would go much further in extending her life.
Sure, Pepe is always good humoured, dances adorably (although not on camera) when he is excited and is very snugly and likes to be under your sweater and peep out his head like a joey. He sleeps 20 hours a day, preferably under a blanket, can’t go out for walks in the winter, sometimes poops and pees in places he’s not supposed to and, above all, he is not very bright.
Even though he’s ill he still does all of that. He’s not suffering as far as we can tell, and we give him special canned dog food specially formulated for dogs with kidney failure. Unfortunately Poupoune is very jealous he’s getting special treatment and she’s even grumpier than before.