Ozzie's Last Day

Preamble

Edited 2021-02-16-2335 (rhino and youtube saves added).  A document quickly drafted for family and close friends while remaining dynamic for a time awaiting improvement and completion so always take note of the last edit date if shown. Right clicking on images and selecting "View Image" will show the full resolution image, other images or videos may have a link text below them. You may view or save out images/videos at will, I herewith release all of them for otherwise unconstrained personal or organizational use with a single condition: I don't need any credits or references for myself, but please respect and protect every instance of "Ozzie's Last Day", credits given to our dog Ozzie.

This effort started out as a heads-up report for family members but soon got a life of its own when it so seemed to me that I might as well make something useful out of it for other dog-loving humans and even more importantly for dogs themselves. I hope to soon begin framing it all into chapters of sorts if I find the the best way to build general pro-animals material on a tree-system of especially latter moments in my little dogs life. I know from experience that material that has been on my web site for over 30 years seldom shows up in google searches so I will try to find alternative ways of circulating it given that success will not be automatic. Among others my purpose in writing it is to accomplish some of the following objectives.
This, then, is the story of our dog, especially his last day on earth, interspersed with indented philosophical tidbits of a general nature such as the very next paragraph about the way we treat animals. Just remember that these indented sections are not necessarily a part of Ozzie's story and may also be in a different color.



1
In Gods' Image?


At almost 77 years of age I can state that the human race doesn't impress me by it's conduct on many, many fronts. But if I concentrate only on how we handle animals then my own species really makes me wanna puke. "Made in God's image" you say? We really are one huge FUBAR instead, and if that rattles your faith or just mops the floor with it as it does for me then I'm sorry. But maybe so heraldic a distinction can be earned instead of being a birthright, and it is in that spirit that I jot down this story to help dog-lovers make early diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure in their four-legged friends, while also tossing a few stink-bombs in the direction of those who to this day bring shame on humanity by their conduct, a conduct that has more to do with the brain-stem Satan in us than with being human.

Ozzie our dog (God spelled backwards) came to us in May 2012 as a 7 or 8 year old Tibetan terrier already called by that name, so we kept his name with him. 
       
Initially he was an immaculate city-boy

We have the know-how and the technology to preventively cure such ailments for dogs but we don't even do it for 7 of the 8 billion people on earth and the animals unlucky enough never to become our pets we treat like commodities at best or as sacrifices in barbaric religious snuff rituals to produce more edible meat. The first spiritual goons of our race were pretty slick: they convinced us that they knew something we didn't, that we should bring animals to the altar of fire and even cook them to please the gods before going home to atone for our sins. I wonder how many of the first faithful came back the next day to ask who the fuck ate all the meat? Today a five-year old kid would call their fraud yet they persist in one form or another perpetually blessing some of our worst habits. If I were an extra-terrestrial looking down on our own conduct I would say "there we have an infectious sore on the face of the planet that needs to be hosed off it". 
    
But he soon corrected that handicap, or looked like a million bucks


Sleeping in blissful peace behind my back while I'm having a nap

2
Congestive Heart Failure

The very first details given in any story such as this one are usually the ones most remembered, so I will begin with Congestive Heart Failure or CHF, a potential death-sentence within a year, and a totally different and treatable condition called Kennel-Cough.  Here then is the quick list of differences:

Congestive Heart Failure
Kennel cough
an often similar cough in both cases
NB. There are also a few other sicknesses like collapsed trachea, cancer, parasites, etc. with similar symptoms. You absolutely MUST consult your vet for X-ray, ECG and other modern test data interpretation if you really love your pet.
fatal in about a year on the
outside



often self resolving
in 2-3 weeks

contagious

treatable
possible to alleviate some
symptoms, only for a time.
There is NO cure, see your
role as someone providing
palliative care.


sneezing

low fever
fainting in later stages

loss of bladder control

over time, the tongue slowly turns
from pinkish to bluish due to lack
of oxygen


As purpose-bred or shall I say biological monstrosities created for profit,  many pets are cross-bred to produce unnatural but very marketable traits. The earth is lousy with painted bimbos who will pay thousands for a dog that has been turned into a designer fur-ball matching a similarly priced purse with so much hair between its fingers that it cannot walk on an incline any more without slipping. Their teeth may be crooked, chronic cases of gingivitis torture them, and that's even before we start making them eat 'industrially produced' dog food which almost all of them frown upon given a chance to instead eat left overs from the human table. The poor beings are often given a bad start right off the bat by being turned into genetic traffic-jams. Men are no different as they try to project some fucked in the head macho image at the expense of a naturally kind and social animal that hasn't become man's best friend without reason. I could never put into words the level of my total disdain for all such barbarians and/or their values or religions approving such conduct via the cop-out license they seem to grant themselves to consider living things as property, the effect of their satanic outlook often spilling over even onto their fellow human beings.


3
Suddenly Bad

Eight years later, in mid December 2020 he got sick and we had to end his suffering. Perhaps I can pay-forward (because that is the only way I can pay now) a small part of what we owe him for his unconditional and loyal company.

Ozzie began to cough in May 2020, he had been losing steam over the years but we suspected nothing out of the ordinary, nor had we ever seen a dog cough like this so we consulted our long-time lady vet. Her diagnosis was unequivocal: Congestive Heart Failure, AND with not much time to go on top of that, "expected survival at best a few months". Unable and unwilling to accept such a unilateral death-sentence for our Ozzie I did some research on the net and after seeing a video posted by another vet (of all people!) identifying the very similar cough in that video as being mere Kennel-Cough I insisted that our vet push the diagnosis a little further by way of x-rays, blood-test or whatever else might avail. Not wanting to knock on vets I will neither link nor paste-in that other video by another vet but it showed exactly Ozzie's cough as an EXAMPLE of Kennel-Cough. I bit the unintended bait, because I was hoping and praying for a way out. In June I made several videos and showed one of them to our otherwise really first-class lady vet, convinced that since she hadn't really seen him actually coughing maybe she would come up with a diagnosis of Kennel-Cough instead. 


Click for video: initial coughing

One of the things such cough produces is that the poor animal jumps up in panic (or quickly moves somewhere else as in the video) so it was very hard to really catch him in the act with a camera that I was keeping on the ready. I left the video raw and uncorrected in case some noble soul with the right tools and know-how might want to improve it for future reference for others in need of such documentation.
The last white male rhino died in 2014, leaving a mother and daughter pair of the species as final survivors. The male was born and died in captivity, the only way they could evade poachers hunting them for their horns to cater to 'oriental' and 'afro' so called cultural markets.


4
Death Row

Our vet gave Ozzie more tests, and then the hit came in the form of the x-ray image below, which instead of granting relief absolutely confirmed her initial and mortal diagnosis.



The exploding-heart of Congestive-Heart-Failure

The heart is just below and to the right of the center, the neck is on the left and the lungs are not really visible to untrained eyes except as misty traces of fluid if any. Normally the heart would be much smaller but Congestive Heart Failure makes it expand and weaken a lot, the result being the obstruction of the wind pipe as seen above it. Eventually severe reduction of heart output then has other additional consequences such as water filled lungs (also visible to expert eyes in the above image) and reduced oxygenation of all organs including the brain and the heart itself as the vicious loop completes. It's very important for a dog's owner to understand the differences between these two conditions because if Congestive-Heart-Failure goes on in the mistaken assumption that it is merely Kennel-Cough then very precious time will be lost from an already short interval remaining for your pet!  I got to the bottom of things and with quick resolution gave my beloved Ozzie about 6 more months of quality life in the only home that was also his home and with the only people that he knew he could trust, his family.  You don't know how good it feels to have done this for him, as compared to the other side of the coin resulting from lack of involvement, ignorance or lack of compassion.


Diuretic medication makes for thirst

The above image was actually taken on the day before his last day. Sometime after the initial diagnosis we discussed possible forms of alleviating the symptoms and the suffering. Diuretic medication reduced water retention in the lungs somewhat and anti-inflammatory drugs helped out in the case of some joint-pain issues given that Ozzie was after all about 110 in human years. As a result he was thirsty more often but the intensity of the coughing and to some extent the frequency dropped also while some regained agility let our Ozzie leap up into his favorite roosts with almost forgotten ease. We had just increased dosage very slightly by about 10% and were waiting for a more formal increase or medication-revision when a couple of weeks before solstice suddenly he took a turn for worse. It's important for anyone responsible for an animal to anticipate what to expect at such times so the following should serve as example:
The other day I was watching a youtube video like 'primitive man saves family of cats form snake'. Everyone has seen such videos, but then I thought it weird that it would so happen that a camera would have been just waiting there for the scene, with the cats obviously stressing out in hole in the side of a clay wall. It smelled phony from A to Z.  So I went looking and came upon hundreds of similar videos almost all of them revolving around a (hand carved) hole in the side of a clay wall and almost all of them with a title like 'primitive man saves...'  It seems to me like these really primitive apes are actually setting scenes up and stressing poor animals to death in the process for a moment of web glory.  I keep asking myself why they should not be exterminated but cannot come up with an answer.  


   

5
A Life In The Balance


It now being the weekend and with vets operating under stringent Covid-19 constraints we took the heart-braking decision, intending to follow up with it on Monday morning. We spent the weekend doing everything we could to comfort and console him. I found it unbearable to watch him a Saturday and a Sunday through, knowing that we  were, after all and to put it bluntly, going to kill him. Monday morning we got a slot at the vet's for 1300 hours. At that point in time, that day became the last day of his little life. Just like us there had been a moment in time when he too had been just a star in the cosmos, a twinkle in his parents' eyes. He had never asked to be a purpose-bred Tibetan Terrier with genetic issues like crooked teeth, had not asked to become a dog in eastern Quebec either, in fact he had not asked to be born at all but suddenly there he was, just like we all are at birth and with no more say in the unfolding process than we had when we were born, except that the life that he got would be not only short but the short end of the stick as well.

I haven't been able to get too many details but some of the cases result from genetics so cross-breading must surely be a possible cause. So is the environment and I don't mean just the food we give them. There was a DC-9 captain decades ago who got the exploding-heart disease from breathing-in epoxy paint fumes, it soon killed him (the catalyst used with such glues/paints is a deadly DNA modifying agent, google it up if you have time). When the weed-killing chemicals were the big fad and all dogs were rolling in and licking treated grass their cancer-rate exploded, and on, and on, and on, and on!




6
A Frequent and Ominous Sequence

The evening before, on Sunday, we had our first minor but real blizzard. Ozzie asked to go out at one point and so I carried him out and put him down on the snow-covered porch, not really minding if he would take a leak right there as had become his habit of late, the poor thing being increasingly fatigued to death. Maybe it was because he had a #2 in the barrel as well, or because his instinct to keep clean kicked-in, I'll never know now, but he walked down the few stair steps instead, went around the car in the howling night blizzard to have his leak. After a while when he wasn't coming back I followed his steps to the marker that says 'never eat yellow snow' but to my alarm he was nowhere to be seen. Well, after his leak he had struggled to walk another good 70 feet to take his dump as far away from the house as possible. This would be the last crap he took. I found him there, disoriented and just about to collapse, picked him up and took him inside.



Just trying to be clean to the end

This picture has today's, Friday's date incorporated in it. The roughly 2-1/2 inch slug has been there all this time, now frozen hard. Several times I wanted to take this picture but it somehow seemed too morbid, I hesitated, not wanting to make a fool of myself nor bagatelize his plight. To put this 70 foot distance into context visualize it as about 400 feet for us humans: with the last bit of strength and short of breath, to keep going 400 feet in the dark night with howling winds and reduced visibility, just to take a dump! Then I caved in, when a little bird tells you to jump, JUMP, Catch-22, remember? I figured I can always decide later what to do with the picture but would never get another shot at it. It took about half an hour to decide to include it in the story because, maybe, just maybe, this will be the last spark for some reader to light up and become half human. Me, you can call me anything you like.
When we watch our dogs (or cats) grooming themselves with  nothing but a tongue to do the job in the front or in the rear just to keep clean and presentable in a house they know to be safe, clean, and theirs too is quite a revelation. And when the tongue cannot do they lick their paws and wipe their face with it. After that, as a last resort, they will wipe their unwieldy mustache on hanging towels or whatever they can find. I've watched this many times and believe that we are nobodies to look down on them in this respect. I'd like to see how humans would do with just a tongue, especially in the case of some of the aforementioned fur-coated, bejeweled land-yacht cows cruising central park with their designer trophy pooches tethered to them for a delusion of respectability.
Our company-animals usually live MUCH shorter lives than we do so we often say how old they are in human years. For Tibetan terriers this is a statistical 12-15 years or about 7:1. We don't realize how quickly they get old on us.  At 15-1/2 years Ozzie was pushing a 110. The Sunday evening above was his last one with us. As I said he liked to spend the hours before bed-time with me in my study. So much so that the last couple of years, come 8 o'clock he would lead the migration upstairs on his own! He liked listening more to music than to my guitar practice so this evening I played his favorite pieces over and over again and watched the soothing music's effects on his difficult breathing, periodically still breaking into a cough. These were his top 3 songs (the link may or may nor work):
He had also gotten into the habit of a late night treat almost exactly around 2300 hours but since the spring he was too weak for all but the essential staircase trips so he cooked up a new approach. He would walk over to my chair at the computer table and produce one of those whining begging sounds to get my attention. Once he got it he's black shiny eyes stared right into mine and then, with a nod of his head he would motion me to go downstairs and fetch his treat. The first few times I figured it was just some coincidence but hundreds of identical instances made it clear that that's exactly what he was doing. 





7
The Loneliest Sunrise

In the next picture on his next and last morning I took him out even before he asked and brought him in when he was done.

Took him out for a leak in the morning



After months of regained agility, help once again
became needed to ascend unto favorite perches

Humanity is living in a TRUST & CREDIBILITY MELTDOWN and for good reason, profit or crooked interest drives everything. When I buy a bag of pet food I will not for a moment believe that every imaginable junk that adds weight and mass didn't go into it in addition to dead bodies some harvest from vets, kennels, or even humane pounds. I don't even believe the pope anymore, and for a first-class example of what scum without scruples has done just look at the SARS-Cov2 virus experience, long gone are the days when there were people who if they said something you could bank on what you heard from them. Every manner of values-perversion is being rammed down society's throat to turn it into an identity-less biomass best suited for optimized consumption of whatever produces profit. We are all caught up in this mess but our little friends, in fact all animals, are already paying the price before us and not just of recent date either.


Video LINK: rapid labored breathing

Jumping ahead for a second, soon after burying him remorse began to chew at my insides: had I done all that I could have done? Could we have extended for him maybe a few more weeks? And so on. Unknown to me at the time, one of my sons living farther away had already asked his mother to take lots of pictures and videos during the last episode. That's how this video was born as well as the pictures. But I would only see the above video on the 15th as I was setting up to draft this post-mortem. In this video I saw again just how labored and impossible his breathing had become in less than a week. I had no more doubts after this viewing, any further delay carried a very high risk of a tragic, violent and traumatic death for him, possibly suffocating and choking on his own heart as it were! I thanked my son for having insisted on pictures.


Too soon it seemed, the time had come.



8
As Journeys Go


There was a navy-seal some time ago with a little dog that three punks decided and managed to kidnap. If I remember correctly he spent months or years tracking them down, and found them too. I have very few doubts about what condition I would have left them in.

After many trips, of even thousands of kilometers...

As far as I'm concerned we will sooner or later have to interdict the commercial production of pets and even make it illegal to sell them at all. We should let responsible and loving pet owners let some of them reproduce from time to time thus providing new and free gifts to those really wanting one. Entrusted-to-care should replace ownership. As a minimum, having children or pets should impose prerequisite education, values-upgrading, and written as well as practical tests; you flunk, you come back in a year! The entire custom of treating them as property must be beaten to its knees! Orientals eat their dogs while we eat their sacred cows so the spectrum is wider than it seems. It would be unrealistic to expect humanity to throw away its carnivorous though relatively recent heritage but maybe we should take some first steps. How many people would devour animals if they had to hunt them themselves? I tried a veggie burger the other day, it was by far the best burger I ever ate!


Old gray-hair, exhausted from just a minute of sitting

His once soot-black hair was still as silky as ever (these dogs don't lose their hair and touching it is pure joy) but now there was a lot of silver in there for the aging little monsieur. Being no spring chicken myself, I got to have a lot of respect for him just from following the process over the years.





9
Trust Betrayed





Arriving at the vet, on the table

Once he was on the table he was just a bit nervous, after all he had been there many times before, but by helping him to sit down I relieved the tremor from his hind legs and helped to relax him. The vet injected the best tranquilizing cocktail that money can buy today into his butt region and he never felt a thing, never even turned his head to look there as he had done at times before so I knew that it went completely unnoticed. As he was sitting there his head started becoming heavy, ever so gradually, and I eased him down on his side as he continued drifting off into dreamland, I hope into the arms of the Maker.


First, stripped of pain, into peace and blissful sleep

This first sleeper shot or tranquilizer takes 5-10 minutes, maybe only 5 for smaller critters, to be fully effective. By then of course he was totally asleep, in very deep sleep. I took soothing comfort in knowing that sometime in the first minute he went there in my hands, in our hands I should say, not knowing why he was there but feeling freed from the chocking, the gasping for air, the pain, and the almost permanent irritating cough-reflex and all the suffering.


"We're ready", the vet whispered.. "go ahead", I replied

We were four people in there, my wife and I, the vet and her assistant. Throughout the entire procedure, as much as possible given the things we had to do, hands were continuously caressing and calming him. No, we were NOT trying to hold him down as it may seem, we all had tears in our eyes. Dogs do not BTW like being patted on the head, that's domination, but stroking the cheeks is to them a sign of acceptance and faithful loyal commitment, increasingly rare attributes among humans lately.



10
Judgment


After the second or terminating shot (above and better called a diffusion really into an easy vein in a hind leg) I watched his breathing very gradually slow down and become shallower. Everything told me that it was nothing even remotely resembling any kind of abrupt or violent process. It took maybe a minute for his breathing to gradually and gently slow to a stop, I had not seen him breath so fluidly in a long time, not even in his sleep! The stethoscope next verified that his tired heart had given up also. He was then pronounced, it's really hard to fathom just how easily life can slip from a broken and frail little body. There was no turning back now.


Gone.

We deny them their natural existence and force them to depend on us for everything. Having no choice they do place all their trust in us gods, until one day we betray them. I felt like a piece of shit.




11
Home



       
The car that took me, brought me HOME     Back to the house that was mine    ..and the family that was mine     

Just in case the above might seem like a bit of overkill, I was out digging for 40 minutes while the above pictures were taken inside following arrival so I did not get to spend that time with him and so I just had to compensate this way, by including them.



12
Adieu




Sundown and the cold closing in

Blizzards usually come with relatively mild air around here but during the 2-3 days in their wake temperatures take a nosedive into the deep minuses. I had expected this much and knew that breaking the surface of the ground with the digging boom might be not so easy, that a day later and until spring it certainly would become impossible. And yes, I had asked myself if this had influenced our decision. It had not. I did have alternate plans.
Animals see the world around them just like we do but do not necessarily draw the same conclusions. This is illustrated in the story of the puppy telling other dogs encountered in the park that all he has to do is whine, maybe lift a leg, and his master will  run to him, attach himself with a lanyard, after which master can  safely be taken for a walk while puppy reads the morning paper sprayed on every bush or fire-hydrant along the way. When I get on my riding lawn-mower I mount some kind of animal, Ozzie has to come along! When we get into a car or tractor, then it is a strange looking/smelling beast that eats us and takes us away. With time they may accept that the beasts don't really eat us, only carry us like 'roos do their young, while during parked inactivity they just sleep there, frozen motionless, with tires to piss on. Every time I went working with my tractor, and this included snow-clearing ops lasting several hours, Ozzie had a nest made in the cabin for him. From that perch behind glass he could supervise extending strange arms and a constant growl of sorts, he'd let a bark go when the gestures seemed more aggressive than approved.  Finally, with the heater keeping us warm he'd usually just doze off in the audio-lap of the deep diesel heartbeat.
The last two or so years he had gotten progressively more tired just from old age although in his case it was probably already a little more than just old-age. Since he could never really jump into my pickup truck cabin or into a tractor anyway I had begun to carry him to such missions. He always wanted to over-see things. When he got tired he'd just slumber off for a snooze to the sound of that weird animal's deep diesel heartbeat. Did this maybe a thousand times, every time we went anywhere, sometimes even inside the house. I know beyond any doubt that he just loved looking down on the world from my shoulder, his neck always erect as he would never stop looking around, almost like a fighter pilot.

As soon as we got home I went at it and dug the grave, made his bed as it were with his favorite things and then came the hardest part which, in retrospect, I would just as soon have let pass because it's one thing to witness a burial and quite another to lay a body in the ground with your own hands, something I'd done twice before in my life. On this day, when everything was ready I went into the house and picked up his body for the last yards to his final resting place. But that body was limp now, totally limp, and still warm. As I kind of threw him almost over my shoulder as can be seen the earlier pictures, his completely relaxed neck fell into a curve around mine. After a few steps I realized that he was just telling me for a last time how much he loved me. I slowed my pace not really knowing why, if it was to give myself more time or to tell him that what had never stopped between us now never will.

        
In his old lookout box between his comfies



          
  ... and then still a little more





It somehow seems so natural to want to bury a loved one as if the tomb would serve eternally, not really thinking of where the entire galaxy will be in a fraction of what cannot even be called a form of time. 



Con Te PartirĂ²
Link may or may not work

I had planted about 220 pines last summer with him overseeing operations most of the time. The spot I chose for Ozzie is between four pines planted a few years earlier, someday these pines will have grown tall, may they stand guard over his rest.

KF