My poor Chi died last week, after a month of sticking it out. He had decided at one point in there that he fully
intended to stick around for another 20 years, and at one point we almost thought that he would pull it off. He ended up succumbing to renal failure.
His jawbone pretty much dissolved on both sides of his face, so he ended up having gaping holes on both sides of the top jaw that led right into his nasal cavity. They say that the state of your teeth indicates your the state of your overall health and I really felt that to be true in this case. Just as this was happening, everything started to fall apart-- heart, liver, kidneys, you name it, it was failing. The vet ultimately said it was just a question of what would kill him first, and then three days later, he was dead.
For the final month we had him on IV antibiotics, subcutaneous nutrition, and pain killers.
I had originally thought that I would have him put to sleep when the problems first became clearly painful, but the dog was very adamant that he was NOT ready to go. Even on the night we finally put him to sleep, after a day of tics that turned into spasms and then full-body convulsions, he was NOT ready to go, and instead was entirely ticked off that any of this was happening to him.
This was the first pet I've had that didn't "look" or act ready to go, so it was a hard decision, but a necessary one. He died getting a head massage, his favorite thing in the world, and the death itself was clearly not painful and an obvious act of mercy.
I got him from a dog rescue group a year ago as a dog nobody wanted because he had all sorts of health issues even then, but he lived a full 15 months, way longer than anyone had expected.
He died very intensely loved and wanted and very much appreciated as a truly amazing addition to the family.
I hope that when I meet death I go out the same way, sliding into home plate....
Thanks, everybody, for your support.