Recently I wrote about taking Oreo, my Shih Tzu dog, to the vet in I don’t Give a Shih Tzu. He had developed some serious skin problems and we went looking to find Oreo relief. While we were there the vet listened to his heart and found he had a heart murmur. He diagnosed Oreo with cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. I was intrigued that my dog was diagnosed with the same illness that I have.
The vet prescribed three heart medications along with prednisone for the skin irritation. He got an ACE inhibitor and some diuretics, two medicines I take, and a third heart drug that I still haven’t identified. I took Oreo home and my wife began administering the medications that night.
We saw almost immediate improvement. The next day he had already begun to perk up. Within a few days he was more energetic than he had been in many years. His cough had almost disappeared, which the vet had said might happen if he started losing water from the diuretic. He was back to prancing around the house. We were very encouraged. My wife and I were both overjoyed with the improvements and hoped they meant we would have Oreo around to enjoy for a few more years.
After about a week everything changed. Oreo’s new-found energy quickly disappeared. He went from being more active to sleeping through most of the day. He wasn’t eating like we thought he should and he struggled to drink. We were stunned that in just a few days Oreo went from much improved to much worse.
His struggling was increasing by the hour. Yesterday when I left the house he was crashed out on the couch and hadn’t shown any spark the whole day. When I returned home several hours later everything had changed. He could barely walk. His breathing was difficult, and we couldn’t get him to eat or drink.
My wife called the vet which was closed and then the emergency hospital that told her he seemed near the end. They offered to do some tests if we wanted to bring him in, but they didn’t have much hope and suggested we would be just as well to wait until the morning and bring him to our vet.
She nursed him tenderly through the night. She got him to drink some and eat a little, but he seemed to be getting worse as time went by. Today she brought him to the vet. The vet said she thought he had another episode/stroke and he had lost most of his strength in his back legs and on the left side. She said there wasn’t really anything they could do to help Oreo and recommended that it might be time to put him down. She thought it was the most humane thing to do.
So my wife bravely made the right , sad decision and let the vet end Oreo’s suffering. She came home in tears and said never again would we have a pet and go through this pain. It is very sad and painful to lose a pet. We have now been through it twice together and many other times growing up.
I am amazed at how I hurt from losing my pal. He was always with me. My heart disease and neuropathy keep me confined to my house quite often and that is a lonely painful way to live and only Oreo was with me everyday. He made me smile and reminded me that life is worth living. His companionship took away much of the pain and loneliness.
I know how I will cope without my Oreo, but I will miss having my buddy hanging out with me every day. A pal who followed me around the house and always wanted to be on my lap or within petting distance of me. He slept with me, ate with me, and in the end he was fighting heart disease with me.
It’s only been hours since Oreo has been gone and I already have looked for him, expected him to look up at me with those wanting eyes as I ate, and looked for him to want up on my lap when I sit down. I really don’t know how I will adjust to Oreo being gone. I want another dog to be my pal and hang out with me, but I definitely don’t want to go through this heartbreak for a third time.
When my wife came home in tears she said never again will I go through this. A few hours later she was on-line looking at Shih Tzu puppies and talking about their cuteness and admitting that she might want another dog.
I hope we decide to get a dog. I don’t want to replace Oreo,. He is irreplaceable, from when he was a puppy, all cute and no bigger than a Guinea pig, to these final days when we both had to take our meds he has been a special dog.
When we got him we had a bigger dog. A mixed breed dog that was over 75 pounds. They used to rough house together and little Oreo often got the best of Carbon. It was funny to watch a 15 pound dog try to intimidate a dog 5 times his size. They used to run around together and the neighbors used to call them Mutt and Jeff. It was awesome. When they played Carbon would let Oreo have his way, but when Oreo would get pissed and get too aggressive and Carbon had enough Carbon would grab Oreo with his mouth and just toss him away. Oreo would run back a little ball of fury insulted that he’d been tossed like a rag doll and Carbon would just toss him again. This would last until Oreo would tire himself out or we would put a stop to it.
Because Oreo was with a big dog from the start he never learned to act like a toy dog. He thought he was big and tough. He wasn’t yappy and he wasn’t high-strung. Just a good friendly dog in a little package. Oreo you were loved with all our hearts and you will be missed. Say hi to Carbon for us and I’ll see you sometime, but no offense, I hope it isn’t too soon.