My trademark iris

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Briley, the old guy.

Briley is getting old. He is 14 years old. He had a close call this past week. I thought he had a stroke because he couldn't get up and kept leaning to the left. I had to help him walk by holding him up with a towel under his midsection. He has always stayed near me and was still trying to follow me around in the house. His eyes jerked back and forth all the time and his head swayed even when he was laying down. I took him to the vet yesterday expecting to be told it was time to put him to sleep. I had tried to tell myself I had to let him go.

Briley is still with us today. The vet asked if he was still eating and relieving himself, and said we ought to give the old guy a chance. Briley is suffering from vestibular syndrome, which is a common ailment in old dogs. Dr. McCormick said it's like being on a carnival ride, spinning round and round, without stopping. We're trying him on medication for 5 days.

This morning, Briley's eyes are not jerking back and forth. He is still wobbly and needs to be carried down the steps. I had to hold him up with the towel while he peed. He stood on his own while he ate and got up to get a drink of water by himself. Right now, he is in his usual spot beside me. He is able to lay down comfortably and actually sleep.

I am grateful that Briley is still here. Making the decision to euthanize a beloved pet is one I hope I never have to make again. Briley had a rough start in life. He was rescued by my brother as a six month old puppy tossed from a truck on a busy highway. My parents had him for 4 years, until my mother passed away. I brought Briley home with me and he went from being an outside dog to living indoors. He made the transition very easily.

Briley has been my guardian and companion for the last 10 years. He has always protected me from male strangers, but loves women. He sleeps in his bed near my bed. He has always been eager to please and seems so grateful for the attention. Wherever I go, he is shadowing me. I will never be ready to let him go, but when it is his time, I hope he goes peacefully in his sleep.

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