Saturday night was the night from Hell. Seriously. I have never had a night like it, and there will never be another as bad as it.
Our little dog, Gizmo has been poorly for about a year. At the start of the year he fell down the stairs, hit the dog gate at the bottom and proceeded to have a seizure. In the weeks after he had probably three more seizures, but what was more worrying that the seizures was the sudden onset aggression. He would go through phases of almost not recognising Amy or me, barking and snapping at us and had bitten us on more than one occasion. These episodes of aggression seemed to be triggered by anyone in the house getting upset or stressed. We had him checked over at the vet and bloods showed absolutely nothing. The seizures stopped for a long time, so under the guidance of our vet we gave them no further thought.
In the last week he has had three of these “bouts of aggression”. He hadn’t had a seizure in the traditional sense – just these strange fits where he doesn’t recognise anyone and gets very upset and snappy. We worried because they didn’t seem to be being triggered by anything particular.
Last night it all came to a head. Amy had just got into bed to watch a movie and Gizmo just went absolutely beserk. He was snapping at her face, trying to rip the duvet so that he could get to her legs and just generally going nuts at her. I put a blanket over my arms and him, picked him up and took him into another room at which point he just barked and barked and barked. We have a number of tricks that we have developed over time and started carrying out some of them. I took him outside on his lead and we walked up and down the garden for a little while, but this made absolutely no difference. As soon as he saw Amy he started going ballistic again. I then took him and Misty (our other dog) out for a walk up the road and back and when this made no difference, I made Amy come out with us for a walk around the block. Gizmo didn’t acknowledge Amy for the whole walk, but as soon as we got back he was back to snapping and barking. We then went and stood outside the house for twenty minutes, leaving him to calm down.
In the past, all of these things have calmed him down and enabled him to be civil to Amy once we returned. Even after half an hour outside last night, he still wasn’t calm and we had to lock him in the hall behind a dog gate, where he carried on barking. Bearing in mind that by this point it was one o’clock in the morning, we called the vet to see what we should do. The vet said we should bring him down, but her suggestion would be to put him to sleep as it sounds like he has some kind of brain tumour.
We didn’t have transport to the vet, which is a fifteen minute drive away, at which point we tried contacting friends who live close who have cars. None of them replied to our messages – likely because they were asleep! Then we saw Amy’s stepmum was on Twitter so I asked if I could call her. She said yes, so I rang her and she put me on the phone to Amy’s dad, who agreed to come and help us out despite living forty five minutes away. We waited outside for him to arrive as it was the only way he would stop barking and by this point it was gone one o’clock in the morning.
When Amy’s dad arrived, we put both of the dogs in the car and headed to the vet. Amy’s dad waited with Misty whilst we took Gizmo in to the consultation room. He was absolutely fine at this point, which was heartbreaking because we both knew where this appoint,net was going. We spoke to the vet, describing his symptoms and she agreed that his behaviour was quite possibly related to absence seizures. The problem being that, at this point, we didn’t want to let it go on any longer. In the last year this problem had got progressively worse and this was the first time that we hadn’t been able to end the attacks. The vet said she could give us epilepsy medication, but also said that they are very expensive and they might not make any difference at all and would essentially just prolong his suffering.
The vet took him out of the room to put a catheter in his leg and he soon came back in, it broke my heart because he was just his normal self at this point. I lifted him up and he gave me a little kiss on the nose. The vet put a blanket in the table for him and I put him down. He sat and as she administered the injection we told him what a good boy he was and that we loved him dearly. It all happened very quickly and soon he was gone. The vet kindly left us alone with him to say our goodbyes for a little while and then took him to be cremated.
It’s been less than forty eight hours and my heart feels broken and empty. I was worried that our other dog would come home and look for him, but she has been incredibly calm. There is definitely a Gizmo shaped hole in our household after eight years of him being with us, but I really do believe that we did the best for him. It was the hardest decision that we have ever had to make, but the way he was going he was becoming a danger to himself and to other people and the last thing we wanted was for him to hurt someone so badly that the decision to put him to sleep would be taken out of our hands.
This dog changed our lives. He brought ppAmy and I together and he has been there when nothing else helped. He’s been a constant in our lives for the last eight years and he really was a wonderful dog. I just hope and pray that had he been able to, he would have said tha you for allowing him to find peace.
Miss you little man. We love you so much. RIP XXXX