It has been such a hard month for us. Not sure as to why. Call it a part of a great big plan as you will.
Death is not fair. Death is ugly. It makes you cry those ugly tears no matter how strong you are. Unfortunately, it happens very often and is a part of life.
Delmar's death was much too sudden for me. With all that was happening with Jake I didn't update The Chesnut Mutt community on Delmar's health because even I didn't want to believe that the end was near.
So in the past couple of weeks, I noticed he was hobbling around as he walked. Huh. Strange. I noticed his gait has been different, especially since he hurt his wrist (now I know he either broke it and it healed weird, or he had cancer) but this was a lot worse. When your rat is walking and their feet don't go all the way under them and they get squished it is disheartening. Did a quick Google search- Hind Leg Degeneration. Bingo, that's it. Oh, there isn't much you can do about it and it happens in older rats. Great.
So it could be due to bad joints, could be a bad nerve issue. For about a week I gave him part of a dog joint supplement (covered in Ferretvite, his favorite), but I didn't see much to any improvement. Now he has lost control of his bladder and is peeing and pooping all over himself. This is what really was the turning point. This can lead to even more problems like UTIs, urine burns, and such. I began to bathe his nether regions twice a day but I began to see Delmar's mood begin to become dim.
So fast forward to yesterday. I sat with Delmar and really tried to assess him. Trying to tell if your pet is ready for the great beyond is tough. I watched Delmar crawl with him one good arm towards the food bowl, stop, breathe heavy, and stuff his face. It was more like he needed to eat as much as he could because he might not make it to the food bowl next time. This broke my heart seeing my baby boy like this and felt like it was close to the end.
I sat with him for the longest. Smooches, cuddles, the works. Took me hours to get the strength to call the vet to figure out if they could work me in. I finally stopped tearing up for a second and dialed the number. At this point, Delmar had been laying on my shirt and I noticed that there was possibly bits of blood on it. Sigh.
A couple of hours later I loaded up Delmar and Everett (for emotional support) and went to the vet. Once I got there Delmar was a little less responsive and he had saliva coming out of his mouth. I thought maybe the heat in the car made him worse. Once I got in the room he became limp and what killed me is that his eyes looked glassy. Bring on the waterworks.
One of the vet techs came in and surprised to see him health declining so quickly. Maybe he knew he was in a safe place? I donno, I like to think that. The vet came in immediately and assessed him. I went through what has been going on and she looked at me and said that she could do life-saving treatment, but it would maybe only give him a couple more months. I was already shaking my head. I knew it had come to this and he was ready to be out of pain. Melissa Edwards (our vet) asked if I had considered euthanasia. As I nodded her head she began to break down as well as she realized I had already thought of it.
Gas was brought in as he was already not responsive and his heart rate began to slowly drop. Melissa pointed out that his lungs were clicking, his kidneys were enlarged, and he probably was ridden with cancer. We talked about the good times, his little feet. how he loved to spin for me for Ferretvite or chocolate, that one time at BlogPaws where he tried to eat my chocolate cake. Everett was there and he really wanted to check out his brother, but we didn't want him to inhale the gas, so I had to keep him away.
The euthanasia drug was injected into a vein in Delmar's tail and it maybe was a minute or so when he took his last breath. He was a good boy. No matter how strong I am on the outside, when it comes to my babies I lose it. Melissa took him away and got him in a box casket and took a pawprint impression in clay. During this time I comforted Everett (and myself). A few soggy hugs, texts to the family, and a call to my boyfriend, I was on my way home with one less rat. One less beautiful soul.
There is a big Delmar-sized hole in my heart. He was my little man, my baby boy.
|Delmar's heart-shaped grave|
I hope you enjoy this slideshow I made capturing Delmar's life with us...