Bessie flirts with peril

September 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tuesday, we nearly had Bessie put to sleep.

The previous week she’d been reasonably active, and although definitely not quite right, had seemed content to snooze with Ella and scritch around the apple tree. But on Monday something seemed to change, and she was really withdrawn. Again, not seeming to be in pain – the posture wasn’t that way, and there was no mouth breathig. But she  stayed in one spot most of the day, and tucked her head under her wing for a lot of the time (including standing up). She perked up a little when I brought their evening grain, but only ate a few mouthfuls. Tuesday she was even worse – withdrawing in to herself, and not really responding to much. I took her out into the paddock to find some worms and slaters and other invertebrates for her to hunt (she’s a demon of the beetle-hunt!). But she only had a couple of general peck, and then seemed to lose interest. I let her wander around outside the orchard, do a bit of scritching and a bit of sunning. But as the morning wore on, she seemed more and more withdrawn and unhappy, so I made the decision that it was time for her to be put to sleep.

That evening we put her in the cat cage, and headed out . For various reasons we were running late, and I started to feel a few doubts. You see, as soon as we put her in the cage, she perked up. Even started to talk to us (admittedly it wasn’t a polite conversation, but still). So on the outskirts of town, we pulled over to look at her again.

And took her back home.

We both spent the night worrying that we’d made the wrong decision. It’s one of the great fears for any responsible animal owner – making an animal suffer, forcing them to go on living beyond the point at which you should have them put to sleep. And the corollary – that you’ve decided too early; that they could have had a perfectly good life for a bit longer. So we tormented each other with that fear for a night, and then went out to see the next day what sort of decision we’d made.

Fortunately, it looks like it was the right one – she spent Wednesday and Thursday being much more Boo-like. We took her in yesterday to see Pauline, and things are as good as we could reasonably expect – the tumour is growing, but she hasn’t lost weight and doesn’t seem to be distressed. Pauline thinks that it’s quite possible that she could continue happily enough for weeks, maybe even months.

Now I just have to work out how to not beat myself up about nearly pulling the plug too early …

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