For a long, long time now, I have known that Twinkle could begin to fail and bring us to another ending at any point in time. When I started blogging (two and a half years ago), I introduced my group of canine ancients: Scroungy, Milo, Shaggy, and Twinkle. Twinkle was the last of her group - a group of small dogs that have been a part of this family since my daughters were young children. Twinkle was actually the one we thought would leave us first. She has had several health problems over the past couple of years. One by one, her companions left for The Bridge and Twinkle remained. It seemed she was invincible. Regardless of the conditions that her little body endured, she continued to carry on. Three different medications were regulating various problems. She slept, she ate, she drank, she even still made her way to the newspapers at the end of the hall. She could only see out of one eye, but she would look up at me with that little sunshine face and wait for a pat on the head or a favorite treat.
A couple of weeks ago, Twinkle stopped eating. I worried, but also knew that ancient ones sometimes do this if they are trying to “move on”. However, after a few days of this, Twinkle seemed to bounce back. Back to eating and drinking, and back to following me around. Then on Wednesday of last week, Twinkle had a seizure. It was horrible in the moment, but within five minutes of it being over, she was back up following me around. Because she had never had a seizure before, I thought it might be associated with the beginning of the end. But she seemed SO OK afterwards that I guess I hoped it was a one-time event. Then she had another seizure. And then another. I knew I would need to get her to the vet the next day. I was just glad that after each seizure she seemed to come fully back to herself.
I had to be gone on Thursday morning. I worried about her until I could get home. When I got here, it was clear that another seizure had occurred while I was gone. She was sleeping. I called the vet to discuss this new development. Assistant C called me back and said that Dr. A could put Twinkle on phenobarbital but that it would take about two weeks to know if it would make a difference or if we had the right dosage. I sat there listening, wondering if I was doing Twinkle any favors by putting her on anti-seizure medication. If there was a good chance that she would continue to have seizures over the next two weeks, it would be exhausting for that ancient little bony body. But on Wednesday, she had been alert and “normal” after each seizure. I knew I couldn’t opt to euthanize unless I felt she was suffering. Now I had to decide if I could risk more days of seizures while giving the medication a chance.
I got off the phone and checked on my girl. Still sleeping. I couldn’t wake her. Her breathing was shallow. And periodically during the sleep, she would struggle to draw in a deep breath. I sat beside her and stroked that frail body. I watched her breathing. It didn’t look good. When she seemed to struggle even harder to get a deep enough breath, I tried harder to rouse her from this deep sleep. I did get her awake, but there was no recognition in those eyes. That’s when I cried. If she was going to struggle to breathe, I couldn’t allow it to go on. Then there was the lack of recognition which was the gift from Twinkle to me. I couldn’t have made the decision if I’d thought she still wanted to be here, to be with me.
I stayed with her until it was time to leave for the clinic. She never came out of the comatose state. She never stopped periodically struggling to get a deep enough breath. Dr. A said that at Twinkle’s age and in her condition, the seizures had taken too big a toll on the brain. It was a deeply peaceful transition. I wrapped my sweet girl in a fluffy pink towel with flowers embroidered around the edges, and we drove home. I got her buried just before a storm. The pouring rain and whipping wind seemed appropriate.
She was the last of an era. She should have been the first of the group to leave, but she saw them all on their way. Each of my daughters had dreamed of one of our deceased dogs in the previous two weeks. I had a dream that Twinkle was playing with two of our Bridge dogs. I like to think that some of our gang had gathered around to welcome Twinkle over.
Twinkle - Farewell.