A to Z blog challenge: B
This is Daisy May. She's fifteen. According to most books I've read about Jack Russell Terriers, she's already lived her typical expectancy. Sure, there are dogs who far outlive what experts say they will or can. Most days, she still has a bit of that sass and spark that makes her the JRT that she is. Some days though, her heart gets the best of her.
When she was a pup, she was diagnosed with a heart murmur. It disappeared for many years; like thirteen. That was how old she was when the vet picked back up on it. So for the last two years, we've been giving her medication, and the vet told me early on that she'd develop heart disease from the murmur, which she has. The vet said she'd develop a cough to go along with that, which she has. The vet said she'd get to a point where fluid would get trapped in her chest and it would be hard to breathe, which it has.
In the last year especially, we've had several "episodes" where she's almost passed out. She got pretty bad there, just last week, actually. We went to the vet twice. Upped her meds. It took a few days, but the cough has all but dissipated (for now). Her breathing is back to normal (for now). And she is eating like a horse. In fact, she acts like I never feed her. Like I never give her snacks.
She eats better than me.
I won't lie, though. The meds, they are pricey. Some weeks, it's a struggle to keep them stocked. But they are keeping her alive; comfortable. When she does have an episode, the vet said she's not in pain; however, the day will come when the disease will completely take over and it will become painful for her. In the meantime, not much to do but to keep her on the meds and just wait... I guess.
For a long time, I worked a job that took me away from home for long stretches at a time. And then I worked two jobs. I left one job last year, and with it went money. Still working, of course, but not near as much as I need to financially to make all my ends meet, let along get her treated with any expensive procedure that might add a while to her life, at least I am home a bit more with her. She's not alone so much anymore. And no, I didn't leave one job just to stay home with the dog more. Many things encompassed that decision, which are for another time.
Not to bore you, but this dog and I have been through it. I mean... through it. All of it.
Every day for her now is what I call a bonus day. Because I see her go through the hard spells but bounce out of it and come back almost stronger than ever, it's hard for me to see the end. But it will come. One day.
In the mean time, we'll just enjoy the bonus days. That's all we can do. She wants an extra treat, so be it. She wants cooked chicken for dinner, so be it. Healthier and cheaper than regular dog food. And since I've changed her diet to a cooked at home diet, I'd swear that's helping a bit in her longevity.
It pains me, because of all of this, when I see people take on pets and decide they don't want them or can't keep them because of the time and the money. Sorry, not meant to be a PSA for pet owner of the year awards, I'm just saying, to care for anything other than ourselves isn't easy. I guess it shouldn't be.
Anyhow, the longer she does hang on, the harder I know it will be to let go, but that time hasn't come yet, so with that, I share my thoughts on bonus days.
There's something to be said for this concept though: shouldn't we all be living life day to day as if it's a bonus day? Sure, in a dog's perspective it's not much, but equate this concept to human life.
Every day we wake up, bonus. Every day the car starts and we get where we need to go and come back home, bonus. Of course, even bonus days will and can have their own share of ups and downs, but when I look at my dog, she has no fear. She's not sure what's happening to her, and even if she does, she seems to take it in stride.
So, yeah, bonus days: wake up happy, do your thing, eat, sleep, have no fear, and take it all in stride. Sometimes, that's just all any of us can do, and while we live in a society that is so dang stringent on judging our faults and failures, sometimes, just sometimes, taking it in stride is better than not taking it at all.