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12 June 2008 @ 10:17 am
Sunday was the fourth anniversary of my dear, sweet Mercy's passing.  She still seems so fresh in my mind and heart.  Even though I have been raising two beautiful GSD/border collie pups for the past two years, it still hurts every time I think of my girl, my Mercy.

Following is a series of journal entry I made leading up to my baby's death.  In the beginning, my sweet Mercy had what our vet believed to be a tooth infection that had spread to the bone around the tooth.  On June 1, I was notified that she had terminal bone cancer.  On June 8, 2004, Mercy was put down.

This is a lengthy entry, mostly to serve as my own reflection and remembrance.  But I figured if anyone would understand my lasting pain and feeling of loss, it would be the members of this community. 

Mercy needs some happy thoughts right now...
When I woke up this morning, I could hear Mercy breathing/wheezing, which kind of seemed odd. When I looked at her, I realized that her snout was all swollen on either side of her nose, and it was making her breathe a little strangely. When I tried to lift her lip up to see if there was a problem with her teeth (it looked like it could be a tooth/gum problem), she yiped and circled around to huddle in my lap.

Andre had to work today because it's Mardi Gras, and is probably the only time the cafe will get foot traffic. Every time I tried to call him, he was too busy to talk. I comforted Mercy and quietly freaked out (I had to freak out! She's my baby!).

I finally got ahold of Andre and told him about Mercy. He closed up the cafe as soon as he could and came home to look at Mercy's snout and discuss what we should do. Since it was such an unexpected problem, we didn't know if we could wait until tomorrow to deal with it. Since today is a recognized holiday in Louisiana, none of the vet offices were open. We took Mercy in to the emergency pet clinic to be attended to ($60 examination fee! Yikes!).

The vet we saw was a really nice lady, and noted how gentle Mercy was. Mercy always gets accolades from vets for being a sweet dog. When we took her to the vet in Bham to get kennel cough vaccinations before we thought we were going to Germany, the vet brought in a huge assistant to help out because most dogs struggle and snap and bite when vets administer kennel cough vaccines (they have to back the dog into a corner, grab their head, and put the vaccine straight up the dog's nose). Mercy tried to avoid the vaccine by turning her head a little bit to the side and looking thoroughly miserable. The vet exclaimed that she had never seen such a gentle dog before.

Anyway, it was about the same this time. Everyone loved Mercy for her miserable gentleness.

But I digress. Mercy's gums are all swollen around the front part of her upper jaw, and the vet wasn't exactly sure what was causing it. Her best guess was an abscessed tooth, which we have to wait to deal with (the emergency clinic doesn't really do dental work). She got Mercy started on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine (the same medicine Mercy took when she "had" hip displacea) and sent us home. The vet's office we normally go to will be open tomorrow, but they only do dental work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So tomorrow we have to call and make an appointment for Mercy to be seen on Thursday. I hope she'll be okay. :(

In the meantime, Mercy is licking up mushy dog food that I hand-feed her so she won't have to hurt herself trying to eat from her bowl. She can't really do too much with her mouth, and she seems perfectly miserable...though, as always, she handles the pain with admirable grace.

Examination Results
Well, the medicine we've had Mercy on has reduced the swelling in her muzzle a huge amount. Last night, it was hardly noticeable at all. So...the vet looked at her briefly, suggested that we get her teeth cleaned (because her teeth really need to be cleaned), and said that they could better determine what had caused the inflammation while she's being cleaned/examined. He prescribed some more anti-inflammatory pills and antibiotics for her in the meantime.

Also, we got her tested for heartworms (she doesn't have heartworms! YAAAAAY!), and bought her a monthy heartworm/internal parasite prevention medicine in the form of a tasty treat.

Another $170 later...

We made an appointment for Mercy to have her teeth cleaned on Tuesday. It's going to be expensive, because it takes a lot of anesthetic to keep a dog that size under. Pah.

Anyway, there's a chance that Mercy just had an infection in her gums, or that she has an infected tooth that will need to be pulled. We shall find out on Tuesday...OR WILL WE? DUN, DUN, DUN!!!!

Good thing I'm working a lot of overtime this week...

In other news...
In other news, I find it super cute how meek Mercy gets at the vet. She tries to hide and look away and be just about as miserable in appearance as possible. Yesterday, when the vet had to take a blood sample, she just buried her head and tried to avoid him. Afterward, when we were waiting in the reception area, he came up to us to let us know the results of her blood test. She literally sidestepped away from him to stand as close to me as possible when he came over. Nobody ever expects such a big dog to be such a wuss. I find it ever so endearing.

So, another $280 dollars later and we get mercy back from the vet. She has clean teeth and no longer possesses her toxic breath weapon. The vet told us that some of her teeth are really corroded (she's a ten-year-old dog and used to have a habit of chewing on chains. What did I expect?), and one molar had to be pulled because it was cracked. There's another molar that is apparently corroded near the root, and we'll either have to arrange a root canal (which this vet doesn't do) or have it pulled in the future so it doesn't get abscessed.

I'm a little peeved that the vet didn't pull it when she pulled the other one. Not because I don't want to pay for a root canal; if that's necessary, I'll do it. Moreso because Mercy's getting old, and I don't think it's safe to put her under anesthetic more than is absolutely necessary.

Anyway, that's the deal with Mercy. But because her tooth enamel has been worn away in a lot of places, Andre and I need to buy doggie toothpaste and a doggie toothbrush to brush her teeth as soon as her gums feel better (her gums are sensitive from the cleaning, so we have to wait a few days). My poor little Mercy is getting old.

It makes me feel bad that I don't own any land or a house yet. I always promised her I would have land where she could run as wild and free as she wanted.  I'll have to really, really strive for that in the next couple of years. Muh. I'm all growed up and thinking growed up thoughts. How pathetic.


Andre and I are taking Mercy in to the vet again today. The tooth that the vet didn't pull last time is bothering her, and her gums are getting all swollen again. :(

My poor baby. By the time we get back to Washington, she's going to be toofless.

New Vet
So, we took Mercy to the vet again today, a different vet this time. Her muzzle on either side of her nose was swollen again, and she yelps when she accidentally bumps it on something. The vet we took her to today was exceptional. He was very thorough, and made sure to check her eyes, ears, and general health in addition to addressing her muzzle concerns. He looked at her nose, felt the swelling (something the other vet didn't even do; she just put Mercy under, figured it was due to bad teeth, and pulled some teeth) and asked us thorough questions about what we had observed.

Mercy, as usual, buried her head against my side, keeping me between herself and the vet. When the vet would circle around me to where her head was, she'd move her head to the opposite side of my body. Heh. She's always great comic relief at the vet's office.

Anyway, this vet said that the swelling around her muzzle probably wasn't due to her teeth, since the teeth that are cracked are her molars, not her canines. He said it could be simple allergies, but that we needed to be prepared for the possibility of cancer, especially since the swelling around her nose seemed bone-like. He said he was hopeful, though, because the last time she had this swelling, it reacted well to antibiotics...so it could just be allergies or an infection. He told us that we had to be prepared for the other alternatives, though.

So he's put Mercy on more antibiotics, to see how she responds to it ($90, right there). Then we're taking her in to get her skull/snout x-rayed on the 13th (approximately another$350). Hopefully everything will be okay. :(

I must say, though, I am thoroughly pleased with this vet. Absolutely. I almost don't want to leave Louisiana because we've just now found a terrific vet. Andre and I were so pleased with the way this vet handled Mercy, that we had to thank him right then and there, noting how thorough and caring he was, especially compared to the other vet. He said he does what he can, and that he just wished he could have been Mercy's vet when she was young.

Anyway, everyone keep Mercy in your thoughts. Her poor little muzzle is sensitive, and we still aren't quite sure why. But at least I know that she's in good hands now!

I don't mind spending all this money on Mercy and her vet bills at all. I just feel horrible that I couldn't provide better care for her when she was younger. She deserves all of this and so much more. My poor baby. :(

Aww. So sad. :(
This goes to show how painful Mercy's muzzle is right now.

Widget loves to rub up against Mercy's face when Mercy is lying down. Mercy knows that Widget has this habit, so now every time Widget approaches, looking for some affection, Mercy gets up and walks quickly away so her nose won't get hurt by Widget's love. She will retreat behind me or behind the desk, dodging Widget every time she gets too close, and won't lie down until she has made absolutely sure that Widget has been cleared from the area. Poor Mercy. :(

an update on Mercy's condition...
Another $500 later (I kid you not), Mercy is well on her way to recovery. Our new vet (the really wonderful one) put Mercy under for x-rays and sugery yesterday. He was really afraid that she may have cancer in her muzzle because of the way the swelling felt. So we dropped her off yesterday morning, fearful of what news we may receive upon her examination.

The vet (Dr. Plauche') called me in the afternoon to tell me that the procedure was finished, and to let me know what they had found. He informed me, to my great relief, that he believed Mercy did not have cancer (he sounded really happy about this). She did, however, have three infected front teeth that needed to be pulled. Why the other vet never realized this is beyond me. Mercy's muzzle was swollen in the front, near her nose, and the other vet decided that her molars must be the problem. WTF? Dr. Plauche' apparently doesn't think too highly of the other vet after her distinct err in judgment.

Anyway, Mercy's front incisors were so infected that they had to be pulled (though Dr. Plauche' has no idea how they could have become infected like that.)  Anyway, they were so badly infected that her bone in the area was literally flaking off when Dr. Plauche' pulled her teeth. Poor baby. I can't imagine how much pain she must have been in for the past few months. :(

I should get my money back from the incompetent first vet I went to. Grrrr.

Anyway, I'm just glad we found the problem and had it dealt with before it became terminal. Something like that could have easily killed her if it got bad enough. :(

So, last night we got home with Mercy, and she was so drugged up, she could hardly even stand. She was weaving from side to side like a drunkard (which I must admit was pretty funny), and she couldn't walk in a straight line if she tried. Her mouth was all swollen, and she was still bleeding out of the mouth a bit on occasion. It was really sad to see her that way. :( I finally got her to eat after a while, but she didn't eat all of her food. Then she went to sleep and slept through the whole night.

This morning she was feeling considerably better, but was still a bit wobbly. She seemed in pretty high spirits, and even trotted a little bit on our walk this morning. She ate her full breakfast, so that's a good sign. :) I'm really sad that Mercy had to go through all of this, but very glad that it didn't get any worse. I can't imagine how long she's been feeling this pain, though. I know she's going to be feeling better than she has in months once she heals up.

I'm going to write a thank you letter to our new vet.

Mercy had her ten-days-after-the-operation check-up today. She is doing great. :)

We also officially started an account for all five of our little mosters at this vet's office. And we're taking Starsnik in for a basic check-up next week.

I got a cold this weekend and slept a whole bunch. My sore throat is gone now, but I'm still sniffly. Puh.

We took Mercy in to see Dr. Plauche today because she had some swelling in her gums left over from her surgery. Dr. Plauche said at the time that it may just be a reaction to the antibiotics, and to give it time to go away...but to bring her back in to see him if it didn't go away in a certain amount of time, if it changed color or if a hole developed (because that would be a sign of infection). Well, we had been checking it every other day, and we found a hole yesterday. Today when I checked it, I could see the bone of her upper jaw through the hole.

We took Mercy in at 2:00 during my lunch break. Dr. Plauche looked at the gum and the hole and got pretty concerned. He felt around to see if it hurt Mercy, and she yelped and immediately buried her head in my arms. Dr. Plauche said she's the most stoic dog he's ever seen when it comes to dealing with pain, especially because she doesn't really give any indication that she's in pain unless it catches her off-guard.

So Dr. Plauche didn't want this to be left alone any longer, for fear of it getting worse and because it was obviously causing Mercy pain. He asked us to stick around for about 20 minutes so he could operate on her immediately. We helped hold Mercy still while he injected her with drugs (after having to poke around for her veins quite a bit- Mercy is such a trooper!). She started trembling as soon as the drugs had been entirely injected, and I got really afraid for a second that she may be having a negative reaction to them. Poor little Mercy. As she got groggy, Dr. Plauche led Mercy into the back and asked us to wait out front. Mercy, of course, tried desperately to come with us, even though her legs were starting to get weak. She looked worried and fretful, as always, but eventually went into the back.

Andre and I waited around for about 40 minutes or so, getting more and more worried. Finally, Dr. Plauche came out and let us know that Mercy was okay, and that he got the bone shard out that was causing it (he hoped). He kept the bone shard so he could do a biopsy on it, just to make sure it's not cancerous. He's hoping it goes away this time and stays away, but he wants to be able to rule out cancer for good. Anyway, he reversed the anesthesia and we took Mercy home about an hour after we brought her there. Her legs are all weak and wobbly and she can't really keep her head up right now, but she'll sleep it off.

We got a $95 discount on this visit and the expenses because I think Dr. Plauche feels bad that he didn't extract this part of the bone before. Anyway, we're going to keep Mercy on antibiotics for the next week, and we'll take her in for another check-up ten days from now. *le sigh* I'm so worried about Mercy. She's such a gentle sweetheart, and she deals with pain so heroically. She's still just like when she was a puppy and she got that clip wedged in between her toes. I'm so proud. :)

So anyway, I took the rest of the day off, and Mercy is now sleeping beside me. I really, REALLY hope this is the last of it, because if her bone continues to rot in this area, I don't know how much farther we can go before it becomes really dangerous for her. Keep Mercy in your thoughts, everyone! (Think HAPPY thoughts, not mean thoughts, you hear me? NATHAN. PAUL.)

So, this is the area of Mercy's skull that is having so many problems. Except for the canines, all of those upper front teeth have been pulled, and some of the bone above them has been removed. This is why I'm so worried. After a certain amount of bone has been removed, what happens if the infection spreads? It's not that far away from her nasal cavity... I don't know if there's anything that can be done for that past a certain point.

The vet is perplexed. He doesn't know what's causing this infection or why it came back. He removed a huge shard of bone from her upper jaw today (front left-hand side). Now we get to wait and see if it stays better. Her bone is kind of rotting, and we can only hope at this point that Dr. Plauche has gotten it all...because bone doesn't just stop rotting.

*le sigh*

Depressing. Mercy doesn't deserve all of this to happen to her.

The History of Mercy
It's been raining for about ten days now. Half of the city is flooded, and I love it. I just wish Nathan were here so I could race leaves with him in the gutters.

The last time it rained this much, Nathan and I took off our shoes in the middle of downtown and went splashing through the rivers that extended four feet (on average) from the gutters. We picked off leaves from the bushes and made them into tiny little boats. My boats always beat his to the drain. His always got muddy and sank. We also found a little piece of paper with a stamp on it, and followed it down the stream for about a block until the stamp finally came unglued. We lost the stamp and followed the piece of paper until shortly before the drain, whereupon it sank.

I took my dog to get her gums checked up again and the vet found that the bone in her upper jaw was still infected. He operated on her right then and there, and I waited around to take her home afterwards. The vet is worried that the infection hasn't been stoppable yet, and he kept the bone shard he removed this time so he could have a biopsy done. Maybe it's cancer and maybe it's just infection. Either way, if we don't get it under control soon, it's going to be trouble. The bone that's infected is in the front of her jaw and is getting dangerously close to her nasal cavity. If it keeps progressing like this, there's only so much bone the vet can remove before seriously fucking things up. :/

My dog has been handling it all like a champ, though. The vet says she's the most stoic dog he's ever seen. She doesn't react to the pain unless it catches her off-guard, which is probably why we didn't detect the infection sooner. When she does react to the pain, she just yelps and buries her head against me. She doesn't bite or snap or otherwise freak out. She's the best dog I've ever had, hands down. I'm very proud of her. Sounds strange, but it's true.

I've had Mercy literally since the second she was born. Her birthday is exactly one month before mine. I know it sounds corny, but as soon as she was born, I knew she was meant for me. She was the second puppy born out of three. And even though she was still covered in slime, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. There was just something there as soon as I saw her, something I couldn't at all explain. There was a graphic novel I had at the time called Mercy. In the beginning of the graphic novel, a man is hovering between life and death in the hospital, in a coma or the like. He sees all sorts of horrible things in this half-state, but feels something else that rights it all. It's the most beautiful thing he's ever felt, and when it starts to take form, he doesn't want it to; it seems wrong to him that something so radiant, so hopeful, so beautiful should have a restricting form. But it takes form, and the only name he can think of for it is "Mercy." The story goes on, of course, but that first part was the only thing I could think of when I saw this slimy little shepherd puppy. I knew she was so much more than that little pile of goo, and I knew she would be my savior in one way or another. I knew she was too beautiful for this world. And so I called her Mercy.

Yeah, it's sappy and stupid. And now everybody knows the horrible truth. I named my dog after a graphic novel in a fit of adolescent emotional instability.

I knew at the time that we were planning to give away all three puppies, but I didn't care. Mercy was my baby from the moment she was born, from the moment she separated herself from her mom and siblings on her first day of life and made her grunting little way over to me.  I spent all of my time with her. I would sit and watch her for hours, even before she could walk, crawl or see. When she finally mastered sight and forward mobility, she romped and played with me all around the house. When she was old enough, she went on walks with me and my mother; my mother would walk Mercy's mother and I would walk Mercy. We bought a black leash for one of them and a tan leash for the other. Mercy would continually lean against her mother when they walked together, bumping against her shoulder with every other step. Her little shepherd ears hadn't learned to stand up yet, so they bobbed and flapped about as she walked.

When my birthay came around in November, my mother had no money. She was still trying to get on her feet after leaving her abusive husband, and had to juggle raising four children on no income, dealing with hearings and court dates and trying not to fall apart. Because she couldn't stand not having enough money to buy me one present on my birthday, she told me I could keep my floppy-eared, big-footed puppy. I never needed another birthday present in my life.

The other two puppies found new homes, and when money got tight, Mercy's mom was also given away. We moved from house to house, and though it was sometimes tough, Mercy always remained.

I was woken one morning by the sound of a dog shrieking and yelping in pain. When I ran downstairs and into the back yard, I realized it was Mercy. She was screaming (if you've ever heard a dog in real pain, you'll know they can scream) continually as my mother was trying to pry something out of her foot. Somehow, the heavy-duty g-clip that we used to secure her lead had gotten wedged past the pads of her feet, in the delicate flesh between her toes. The clip was twisted up in her flesh so much that we couldn't figure out how to get it out quickly or with as little pain as possible. A neighbor had arrived to help us out, and I rushed to try to calm my girl. As soon as I got there, Mercy buried her head against my side, underneath my arm. My mom and the neighbor were twisting the thing around in her foot, trying every which way to get it out, and Mercy didn't do a thing except close her eyes and hide her head. Eventually we managed to get the heavy metal clip out of her foot, and Mercy walked away with only a temporary limp.

Through all of the toys Mercy may have chewed and the little yippy dogs she may have terrorized, my mom always told me that she knew Mercy could never hurt a person after than experience. She never once snapped or struggled; she just buried her head and trusted us to help her.

I could go on for pages (as if I haven't already), boasting how wonderful and unique my Mercy is. I could write a series of novels and still not come close to describing how beautiful and intelligent. I could talk about her personality quirks, how she faked hip displacea to get me to stay home, how she used to check on every sleeping person in the house before she, herself, could go to sleep. I could write until my hands fell off, and I would still be nowhere near conveying what a special being Mercy is. But I'm sure I'd garner a lot of criticism for obsessing over my dog a little too much.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a tidbits post, but I suppose it morphed into something else entirely. I don't feel silly for sitting down and babbling so much about my dog. I only feel bad because I can't do her justice.

She's been an incredible companion for the past ten years, and I hope she'll be around for many more. This mysterious problem with her infected, necrotic jaw is kind of getting to me, I suppose, whether I like it or not. I guess I'm not quite as good at playing stoic as she is.

Bad News 
I just cried my eyes out for the first time in about a gazillion years.  And I don't cry, so that's saying something.

It's official. Mercy has a very severe type of bone cancer. And, like I had previously worried, the prognosis is not good at all because of the location of the cancer.

So it's not just an infection that can be treated with high doses of antibiotics. It's cancer, and I have to choose between putting my baby down or having half of her snout removed in a futile attempt to buy her more time.

The decision is a pretty clear-cut one, as I can always pull some amount of logic through my emotion. We're going to call Dr. Plauche' back in the morning and make the final decision. If Mercy can't live for a fair amount of time without being in pain or being operated upon, I'm going to choose to put her down.

It's the hardest choice in the world, especially when she can still function normally, but I don't want to have to constantly be dosing her with painkillers and cutting away more of her face just to buy her a little more time until the pain becomes unbearable for her. I'll simply be delaying the inevitable for my own selfish reasons. This type of cancer isn't cureable. If I wanted to try having it completely cut out, I could have half of her snout removed, but that would be not only iffy, but absolutely horrible to put her through.

If Mercy is going to have to be put down in one week or in three weeks, I would rather do it in one week. She's going to be frightened either way, but if I have it done sooner, she won't be frightened and in an immeasurable amount of pain. I know she wouldn't want to be put down at all if she had the choice; everyone's basic instinct is to survive, and no natural animal wants to die. But I don't want to keep stringing her along, letting her lapse into deeper and deeper pain when I know I'm going to have to put her down eventually. When she goes to the vet in a lot of pain, she is ten times more frightened and uncomfortable than when she just goes in for an exam. I know she's going to be frightened when I take her in to be put down, but I don't want her to be in a huge amount of pain on top of that. That will just multiply her fear and discomfort.

So, I'm going to be losing my best friend soon. She's absolutely been the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. She's always been my reason to live, to succeed, to strive for something better. I even made it clear to Andre from the start that no matter how much I loved him, I could never love anyone more than Mercy, not even my life partner.

It really sucks because now I'm looking back and regretting everything I haven't done for her. That's always the way it goes. I always told myself that I had to buy or rent a place on a lot of land, just so Mercy could run around and be completely free before she died. I had my sites on this Eternum thing panning out and giving me that opportunity within the next couple of years. Even if Mercy was an old fogey when she got a place in the country, it would still be true to my word. But now it looks like she won't even be making the trip back to Washington with me. I don't know what I'm going to do without her. I suppose I'll have to make the publishing company a huge success in her honor.

Pah. This was an unexpected surprise for the day. There I was, typing away at my Faylos story when Dr. Plauche' calls out of the blue to tell me that the test results came back. There goes my everything. It especially sucks because I can't cry around Mercy because it worries her.

God, I love that dog.

Beautiful Girl

So, yeah. Mercy has Axial Osteosarcoma, which is a vicious bone cancer (specifically in the skull) in canines. I've been researching it a bit, just to kind of get an idea of what the prognosis is, and it's certainly not a good one.

Basically, if surgery and chemotherapy are combined in dogs that have normal Osteosarcoma of a joint, you could possibly buy your dog an extra 6-12 months of life.

Axial Osteosarcoma is a different story. Axial Osteosarcoma is much harder to treat at all because of its location, but also because skull tumors tend to repeatedly grow back and attack more viciously each time. Bone cancers are particularly deadly to dogs, especially Axial Osteosarcoma, because they spread quickly through the blood. Apparently, by the time most dogs are actually diagnosted with Axial Osteosarcoma, cancer will have already spread elsewhere in the body, particularly the lungs.

Everything I've read on Axial Osteosarcoma basically says that your dog is doomed if they contract it, and that the only thing surgery and chemo can do for them is make it a little less painful until they die.

So I'm still going to talk to Dr. Plauche' tomorrow, but he's probably just going to reconfirm what he hinted at on the phone today and what I've been reading. Mercy is dying, and I'm going to have to put her down before it gets really bad. Depending on what Dr. Plauche' says tomorrow, we may be putting her down within the next week. I don't want to hesitate and put it off and see Mercy decline in health and spirits. I want her to feel as well as possible when this happens. I don't want to wait for her to become emaciated and lose her ability to eat. She deserves better than that.

Oh, le sigh. This hurts. So badly.

Laughter is the Best Medicine
Well, laughter is the best medicine. I helped Andre give Mercy a bath last night, and Mercy's cute little antics made us laugh our asses off and forget to be sad for a while. She's such a terrific animal. Andre's going to get home from work soon and we're going to call Dr. Plauche' to have him estimate when we should consider putting her down. Ugh.

The Final Appointment

Well, we talked to the vet, and we're going to be putting Mercy down sometime next week, most likely. Her muzzle is already starting to get swollen again, so we want to deal with it before it starts becoming painful for her. On the plus side, Dr. Plauche' said that the cancer, itself, shouldn't be painful for her unless it causes an infection (like last time, but we have her on antibiotics right now) or gets to the point where it interferes with her breathing and eating.

Also on the plus side, Dr. Plauche' will do a house call for us, and will give us a sedative for Mercy (Valium, I believe) before he even gets there so she will be a bit more relaxed. So not only will she be able to be comfortable at home, but she will also have some help with her nerves. Hopefully this will allow her to go with the grace, dignity and peace she deserves.

Thanks to everyone for their kind words and support. I'm not generally the type to reach out to other people for support, but when the occasion arises that I receive caring words from others, I most certainly don't want them to think it's in vain. Thank you all so very much. It means a lot to me.


Andre and I just returned from the vet's office with two pills to feed Mercy tomorrow before Dr. Plauche' comes to do the deed. Apparently, it's stronger than Valium, so Mercy should be mellow jello by the time it happens. Somehow, having these little pills in my hand brings this all back into reality, reminds me that it's not just a bad dream. And tomorrow is D-Day.

My goodness.

Girard Park

Andre and I just got back from taking Mercy to Girard park, and now she's a very happy and very exhausted dog.

We walked around, aimlessly following her wherever she took us. We stopped and waiting every time she found a scent fascinating enough to smell for five minutes without moving, rather than pulling her along. We took her around the entire duck pond and let her sneak up and chase the ducks, geese and swamprats. We never let her do that, so today I let her chase anything she wanted, as long as she didn't catch them or jump into the pond. ;) Mercy was beamish on the way home. She must have chased at least fifteen geese into the water, and a goodly amount of swamprats (which, by the way, have an extraordinary ability to launch themselves into the water from great distances, as if they were shot from swamprat-sized sling shots).

Now it's time to clean up the apartment while Mercy sleeps off her exhaustion.

Goodbye, My Dear Mercy

Well, the deed is done. Mercy died at 7:50, and Dr. Plauche' took her body away on a stretcher to be cremated.

Dr. Plauche gave us two sedatives to give her an hour before he arrived so she would be calm. They were supposedly stronger than Valium, and she would be totally out of it by the time he arrived. Well, true to form, Mercy was totally unaffected. Dr. Plauche' arrived and Mercy ran around barking gleefully, tail wagging furiously. As she sprawled onto her back for spontaneous happiness, Dr. Plauche' looked at us and said, "Well, those didn't do much of anything, did they?"

We got Mercy to jump up onto the couch, and Dr. Plauche' explained to us how it would work. Basically, he would be injecting her with the same drug he uses to put her under for an operation; he would just be giving her more than her body could process, and she wouldn't wake up. He warned us that her eyes would stay open after she was gone, and told us exactly what to expect. And then he looked at Mercy's proud stance on the couch and remarked on what a gorgeous dog she was. He was obviously not happy about having to do this. It's wonderful to have an empathetic, gentle vet.

Mercy thumped her head down on the couch cushion, Andre pet her head/lightly held it, and I pet her back and legs so I could assure that she wouldn't kick or anything when he injected her. It wasn't necessary, though. Everything went so incredibly well. Dr. Plauche' put the tourniquet on Mercy's leg, and she gave him curious little eyebrows, but didn't really react. Then he made sure that both of us were ready, and were in places we would feel okay about this, and gave her the injection. It took only a few seconds. She didn't freak out or get worried; she just looked at us while we pet her, and faded away.

As soon as Dr. Plauche' knew she was gone, he gave my shoulder a little squeeze. I was trying so hard not to cry, and did a pretty admirable job. Dr. Plauche' took out his stethoscope and thoroughly checked Mercy for a heartbeat, then packed up his little tools and retreated from the couch to let us have a moment. I gave Mercy another little pet, but every time I looked at her face, I got all emotional, so I stood up and waited for Andre to finish saying his goodbye.

Dr. Plauche' went outside to bring in his little stretcher, and I lost it. I had to run into the bathroom to dab at my eyes and everything before he came back in. Heh. I'm so weird. So we helped move Mercy onto the stretcher, covered her in a blanket, and walked with Dr. Plauche' to his truck. I'm not even going to try to describe how tragic it was to see a limp Mercy...

We thanked Dr. Plauche' profusely for everything he's done for us. Not just coming to the house and making this easy on everyone, but also just being an exceptional vet. I know that things would have gotten so much worse before we found out what was wrong if we were still going to that other vet. Dr. Plauche' is an amazing vet. I'm really happy that Mercy's last months were spent with Dr. Plauche' tending to her needs, and that her last moments were in his company. He shook Andre's hand and gave me a huge hug, then drove off. Andre and I retreated quickly into the house to bawl like babies.

Mom called just a couple of minutes after Dr. Plauche' left with Mercy's body, and I couldn't help but cry. It was really nice to hear from her, though, and I am so glad she called. Thank you all for being so supportive and kind through this entire ordeal. You guys are terrific.

Anyway, Mercy is going to be cremated. Andre and I are going to shop around for something to put the ashes in. Dr. Plauche' offered to keep her ashes in the office until we found something that we really liked. He's really a wonderful man. Andre and I are going to send him a thank you card for everything he's done, and we're going to include that gorgeous picture of Mercy for the office. They have an "in loving memory" wall, and I would be quite pleased to see my beautiful Mercy up there.

Andre and I spent the last couple of hours just talking, reminiscing, remembering what made Mercy such an exceptional dog. And now we're going to get some food because we haven't eaten since breakfast.

Again, thank you all for everything.

And rest in peace, Mercy.
Current Mood: crushedcrushed
βяıαηηα мıcђεℓℓε: Cody-bear! <3xobmw on June 12th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
god, I cried like a baby..
RIP, Mercy ♥
The Fair Queengute_fee on June 12th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
Me, too. I don't think I'll ever not cry like a baby when I think of my girl. :(
phoenix1979: Brothersphoenix1979 on June 12th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
*hugs* She was beautiful. There's a dog at my training club who looks very much like her!
generalrippergeneralripper on June 13th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
She's beautiful! I completely understand your heartbreak and I'm sorry for your loss. :(

One of our GSD's had cancer in his sinuses and had to be put down in January of 2006. We had three weeks to say goodbye to him and spoil him rotten.

His sister is still doing great - everyone comments on how spunky she is for being 9 years old.

Here's links to our ordeal with Boris' cancer...

It begins
Wait and hope
Declining but still happy
The End