I’m sitting in the vet’s office, watching Adeline play with Steve’s leash as he lays curled up on my lap. The vet has been beating around the bush but she finally comes out with it, “Steve probably has a year or two to live.” Tears come to my eyes before I can process it. Adeline walks over to us and starts patting Steve’s leg, laughing and smiling at me, oblivious to the terrible news. She loves him so much. Steve is only five years old; he should have another decade to spend with his little human. But he doesn’t. He has kidney failure and in a year or maybe a little more, we’ll have to make the difficult choices surrounding end of life.
Adeline will be two or three at that point. She will have spent her first couple years falling in love with Steve, a friendly, cuddly little dog who’s just the right size for her. She’ll be attached to him and she’ll be aware enough to know that something is wrong. I wish I could save Steve and protect Adeline from her first loss. But I can’t.
Steve is David’s dog. Along with Catdog, he came into my life when I met David. He’s an Italian Greyhound – a real Greyhound bred down to miniature through generations of inbreeding. I can’t help but wonder if that has something to do with this. Already both of the dogs are missing all of their teeth thanks to the Italian Greyhound genetics. Poor dogs, it’s not their fault people messed around with nature to create a novelty dog. Catdog is weird. I mean, really, the animal is bizarre. Steve has his share of weirdness, too, but on the whole he’s a sweetheart. It breaks my heart that he’s sick. And even more, it breaks my heart how sad David is about it. And how sad Adeline will be.
David struggled the first few days after getting the news. He scoured the internet for hours to see if there was something the vet was missing. He cuddled Steve any chance he had. And then he came home from work one day with an idea. “I want to make a bucket list for Steve.” Maybe it’s silly, but it will make us all feel better. So here we are, thinking about what to put on a dog’s bucket list. The obvious seems like lots of delicious red meat, but he’s not allowed to have excess protein anymore. So what does that leave?
I’d love to hear any ideas you all have for what we can do for Steve to make his last years as wonderful as possible.