How do you decide when you are keeping a pet alive for your sake instead of his? And did I just call Murphy a "pet" - when did I start seeing him as a pet, instead of my smart, bossy, full of life and personality four-legged roommate? I'm forced to admit that Murphy isn't the Bossy Little Dog anymore. He has minutes of awareness each day. I'm pretty confident that he's not in pain, but he's also not enjoying life lately. He's just existing.
These few days off have given me a chance to watch Murphy's day. It's almost entirely spent sleeping. He does get up maybe twice during the day to walk to the kitchen for a drink of water, pausing to take an oblivious pee on the floor, and then it's back to bed. I had been softening his familiar dry food with warm water or warm broth to make it gummable. He stopped eating that, so I picked up a can of prescription food. He eats it willingly, but I have to hand feed him tiny bites. (Sophie says it's fabulous, though it gives her gas.)
I hand fed him several bites of the canned food tonight. He is deeply asleep in his little bed again. I'm honestly hoping that one morning he just won't wake up, and I won't have to make any hard decisions. But I'm starting to question my judgment, and wondering what is the right thing to do.
Of course I'll write this and tomorrow he'll pop up alert and demanding, at least for ten or fifteen minutes, and I'll feel like shit for even thinking maybe I'm not doing him any favors by nursing him and hand feeding him. I just don't know. He still has those bursts of "Gimme Mah Teddy Grahams!" and when he does, he is a fair approximation of his bossy old self.
I keep thinking that he'll send me a clear signal when he's had enough of being a blind, deaf, toothless old dog. I just question whether I'll recognize the signal. I'm so used to how he is now, it sometimes takes an observation from someone who doesn't see him every day to make me realize how he really is.
It's wimpy and cowardly, but I'm hoping he'll make this decision for me, so I don't have to. But there's a fresh box of Teddy Grahams in the kitchen.