Jiffy out by the fire
Out by the fire

We are at the vet getting Jiffy checked out. He is in the twilight of his life and wil be turning 16 on December 2nd. He threw up blood a little yesterday and we thought we should get it checked out. While he has gained .2 pounds since last time and doesn’t have a fever, he is weak and doesn’t want to go on walks anymore. Tami is despondent. I’m trying to keep my chin up. I want clarity from the vet as to how we negotiate these last weeks or months of his life. How do we know when he is done? They say we will know but it’s hard not knowing.

Stormy, 9 months older than Jiffy is going strong, it seems. He is the ugly stepchild, having been adopted at ten from Tami’s mom when she went into assisted living. He whines and we never know what he wants, but we love him anyway. I am trying to communicate with him more since up to now I thought he was deaf. I don’t think he is.

Karen, our 8 year old cat, just got done with a few weeks of staples in her neck from an apparent cat fight injury. She is, however, happy and vital.

The vet, Dr Franquin, comes back in after doing an ultrasound on him and informs us he has a mass around his pancreas. We go back and forth about the possible treatment options. She could give us a referral to the animal hospital in Woburn. If it was pancreatitis they could treat it and maybe we get a few more months. If it’s cancer it is a whole treatment routine for a very old dog. Or we can euthenize him today. Or wait a couple of days. She leaves us alone.

We cry and hold him close. We hear him struggling with each breath. We know he is old. We want to at least let Andrea and the kids say goodbye. But that would mean making an appointment for his death. We went through that once before with Daisy Duke and it was awful. I remember Tami lying on the front porch with the kitty, crying, knowing the day was coming tomorrow.

We make the decision to do it today. Rip the bandaid off, so to speak. Dr. Franquin tells us what to expect and takes him out to put a catheter in his foreleg.

They give us plenty of time to sit in the little room and cry. Another tech comes in and has me sign a paper saying we want individual cremation. As opposed to cremation with a whole lotta other animals. We have a graveyard in our garden with Daisy Duke and Cheryl. Of course we’re gonna have the individual cremation. I just couldn’t deal with holding the body, so we got the cremation.

We cry some more and hold him, this dear sweet poodle who has made our lives so much better in so many ways. We could bring him to parties and he would run around doing all the socializing we were too shy to do. He was smart, charismatic, and a really great dog. A once in a lifetime dog. He even had his own website for a while, jiffycam.net. Ironically, that domain name expired yesterday.

A tech, Danielle, comes back in and asks us if we need more time. We answer no. Dr Franquin comes back in with the 2 syringes, one to provide the anaesthetic and the other to provide the overdose. That’s how dogs die, from a an overdose.

We put him on the steel table wrapped in an Indian blanket. Tami holds him as one syringe is connected with the catheter in his arm and then the other. Dr. Franquin puts on her stethoscope, listens to his heart and says, “He’s gone.”