So last night was a bit of a long night for me and my gal.  Whereas mom hand feeds her, massages her, and brushes her teeth, dad is in charge of ensuring she does her business and sleeps comfortably through the night.  Akemi has noticed Suji has been having trouble breathing of late and he nose has been very leaky.  I must have awakened two dozen times last night to readjust her or wipe her nose.

In discussions with the vet yesterday, she said that only we would know when it was time.  Some people draw the line when their dog or cat stop walking, but if that was our line, we never would have adopted Suji in the first place.  She came to us with a wheelchair, her back legs useless.  But, over time, we got her walking again – albeit in a wobbly manner.  And she did walk, wheelchair-free, for several years – until last year.  Despite our best efforts to repeat our success, she didn’t regain her walking ability.

Other people draw the line at a pet’s inability to do their own business but, again, this was yet another issue Suji had when we adopted her, so we learned how to express her bladder and I became a poop-whisperer of sorts.

For me, the line I’ve always drawn with my pats dogs has been loss of appetite.  Pugs and frenchies are notorious gluttons and when they reach a point where they no longer show an interest in food, then I know it’s time.  Suji is still a voracious eater.  In fact today at lunch, after sampling the pan-fried chicken breast, she angrily barked for more.’

BUT, it’s very clear that she is increasingly having trouble chewing and swallowing. You can even see her frustration in her attempts to accomplish the previously simple task of eating.

I knew it was Maximu’s time to go when he stopped eating and then simply gave up on walking on afternoon.  I knew it was Jelly’s time when she stopped eating.  Akemi was more attuned to Bubba’s needs, and she knew exactly when it was time – calling me off set late one night.  In the case of Lulu, it was somewhat easier on all of us in that, rather than us having to make the decision, she ate a big breakfast and simply keeled over.

As I said, I’d always kind of hoped that Suji would go out that way, preferably quietly in her sleep, but as our vet pointed out, EVERYONE hopes that is the way their dog or cat will go out but only about 2% of them do.

On the one hand, Suji is animated and hungry and we can see her personality shining through.  On the other hand, she is struggling to eat and, of more concern, struggling to breathe.  Not always, but occasionally, enough for me to fear she will aspirate.

So we’re taking it one day at a time and keeping a close eye on her.  Our vet has given us the name of a mobile vet that does in-home euthanasia, something we’d rather not think about but realistically have to at this point.

And that’s the update.  As I write this, my gal is dozing comfortably beside me.  She sleeps particularly well after our lunch (table scraps!) and after Akemi gives her a massage.  Thinking I may spoil her with ice cream later.

15 thoughts on “September 16, 2023: Another Suji update!

  1. It’s so hard to know where and when to draw the line with pets. I am from a cat rescue family and we’ve never lost one of our feral-to-in-home cats to natural causes. With my most beloved tabby Polidori, I tearfully asked him if it was his time. No joke, in answer he put his paw on my hand and I knew. But it’s always about their quality of life. I know that as much as you and Akemi love and adore Miss Suji, you will know when that time is. Until then, hug her and love her and keep her going as best you can. We’re rooting for the three of you ❤️

  2. Joe and Akemi, she’s a beautiful fur baby and you’re her beautiful mum and dad xxx she’s having the best life ever with you 😘

  3. So very sorry to hear Suji had another rough night.
    Ice cream sounds like a nice treat.
    Wish I could join her.

    Sounds like a move to all soft (baby type) foods with meats, vegies, and fruits
    grinded to a pate consistency in the blender might help, at least somewhat,
    to ease her chewing and swallowing difficulty? ??

  4. So sad yet everyone with beloved fur babies goes through it. Makes me wonder why we keep getting furry friends when the end is so hard. But we do. The time they have with us is worth it. But oh the heartache of when they leave us feels unendurable. Thinking of you and Akemi and Miss Suji.

  5. I really feel for you all at this time. As you say – you’ll know when it’s time and I’m sure it will be with Suji’s blessing too.. 💕🐾

  6. Hugs, Joe. With our Miley, once she became epileptic last year, we knew our time with her was coming to an end. Even though we’d always did everything we could to spoil her happy, we’d multiplied our efforts to just lavish her with our love. I’d always baked her special cookies over the years, but we started giving her more every day. We’d take her for walks & stay out as long as she wanted, which on the weekends at one point was for hours. When she couldn’t jump up into our son’s bed any more, we bought her super-plushy beds, & our son would sleep on the floor next to her at least once a week.

    Taking stock from day-to-day is so freaking hard, but it reminds us to cherish every moment we still have with them… as I know your & Akemi are doing. Suji is such a fortunate pupper to have you both.

    Love, hugs, treats & belly rubs from here in Maryland. 💕

  7. Oh, I’m so sorry that it’s time to contemplate this. I know how much you care for her.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear your situation. It’s such a heart crunchingly hard situation.
    All I can say is, you will know when it’s the time – sweet Suji will let you know when she’s ready.
    The difficult thing for us ‘parents’ is, it’s different for each precious soul (as you’ve said here) It’s more than heartbreaking waiting to know the right time. It doesn’t get any easier with each experience either.
    You both just have to know you are so special to Suji. You can see how much she loves and trusts you. She will let you know when she’s ready… but you both know that.

    Love to all three of you at this time.

  9. You both love her so much, but thankfully she’s had a wonderful life with you and when it’s time to say goodbye, you will make that as easy for her as possible. I’m glad you have a mobile vet for when the time comes. It makes a huge difference. It won’t be easy, but you can console yourselves that her final years were spent surrounded by love.

  10. Not for nothing…..but………so well written.

    Have you ever considered writing as a profession?

  11. You and Akemi will know.

    For Sam (named after Sam in Quantum Leap), he was acting strange one day and I called the vet to see if I could bring him in. I saw him go into our bedroom and then I heard a thud. I went in and saw what I thought was a seizure. It was his body spasming as it was in the process of death. He was only 10 (a golden retriever and a gift we gave each other for our wedding gift). We had him cremated.

    For Buddy, he was an old dog who needed a home. He was deaf. But this dog came out to us in the living room and sat and stared at us until we got up to go over to him and once he saw us moving, he went into our bedroom where we saw Patrick almost falling off the very high poster bed because he was having a seizure. Buddy developed congestive heart failure. We didn’t really know when to call it, but the financial burden of all the congestive heart medications was becoming more than we could handle. Jeff took him out front and walked him just a little bit to help his bowels move. He collapsed in the street. We got a blanket and brought him inside and called the place that will pick up your pet and cremate or bury them. We had Buddy cremated.

    Next was our Maddie girl. We were able to get in touch with a golden retriever breeder who had field goldens. We thought perhaps she could be trained to tell us when Patrick was training. We call her our “discount puppy.” Mercedes, who was a remarkable breeder and came with lots of positive comments, had been a special education teacher and when she saw Patrick, she fell in love with him and pretty much gave us Maddie. Maddie is her nickname. Technically she was named Belvedere’s Madison Avenue. The other dogs being sold had prominent names like Belvedere’s Mercedes Benz and others like that so we thought golden retrievers are excellent marketers, and Madison Avenue became synonymous with advertising. There was no cancer in this blood line…until it was. I took her into the vet because she was not acting right. I had to go to the Houston Medical Center for a doctor appointment. As I was exiting the freeway, the vet called (this was still when it was legal to talk on the phone with your hand on the phone while still driving). He said stuff and the word cancer and more stuff. I kept saying to myself, “Don’t crash the car….don’t crash the car.” When she got home with us, she was in so much pain she was bearing her teeth to us. The next day we called to schedule the euthanasia. She had to wait another 2 days to get in. She was created.

    And now our current mixed breed rescue guy–Boomer. Not like baby boomer but for Boomer, the Cylon. He was likely born in 2012, months before Maddie died. So that makes him about age 11. He is a BIG DOG. Pyrenees/golden mix. He is still walking 3 miles a day (well, not when it was 90 degrees at 5 am in the morning. His labs are good. He is biting a bit on his back leg but we have some chewy things for him to help that. We are hopeful he has at least a few more years with him. He is an amazing dog and I can’t even think about the day we will have to say goodbye. We are taking him to our next beach vacation after Christmas. He has never seen the ocean (okay Gulf of Mexico). Although he isn’t a water dog (he hates our pool–think he had a really bad experience out when he was a stray puppy), I think he would enjoy the walks and meeting up with other dogs while there.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.