A week ago yesterday, we took him to our vet in New Hope because he'd been sick twice that day. He'd been vomiting just about every day for about two weeks prior to that. Tony was reluctant to take him to the vet at first because he figured they'd want to do a lot of expensive tests on him; he thinks our New Hope vet was often too keen on running up the bill. And we also thought Grady could have been upset from the stress of everything that had been going on: workers of some kind in the house pretty much daily, people coming to take away our possessions, Tony and I being so busy and frazzled.
The vet drew blood and took a urine sample and an X-ray. She showed us the X-ray that day. Grady had an abnormally large liver. There were no obvious signs of a tumor, but that was a possibility. She would know more when the blood and urine test results came back.
The next day, the vet said there were bacteria in his urine but he seemed otherwise OK; there was no indicator of liver pathology in his blood. She prescribed an antibiotic for him that supposedly wouldn't give him diarrhea, but just to be safe, I waited until after the long car ride to start giving it to him. 🚫💩🚗 😉 I also began giving him antacid pills twice a day, at the vet's recommendation, because, she said, he was likely suffering from a bad case of heartburn.
Grady didn't show any improvement once he was on his drug regimen, though I'd like to think he was at least more comfortable after getting his dose of famotidine. His appetite faded, and he even started becoming disinterested in his beloved water. It was pretty clear yesterday that we needed to put him down to ease his suffering.
The doctor and his assistant were both very kind today. They said he was obviously in a lot of pain. They felt the lump in his tail, which had gotten dramatically larger in the past few weeks, and said there was a hard spot within the lump that could possibly be a tumor. We ultimately don't know what was killing him1, but we're glad his suffering is now over.
This is a difficult obituary to write because life with Grady was often difficult. He nipped at me only yesterday while I was bathing him because his ears and jowls had gotten particularly disgusting and I didn't want him to make his exit looking and smelling like that. The best adjective to describe him is basic. He was a simple dog who liked to drink, rub his jowls on the walls as he walked down the hallway, and utter the occasional dorf.
He was a good cuddler and and would let Tony or I sleep pretty much right on top of him. As I've mentioned on the blog before, he would generally wake us up several times a night—Tony more often than me, because he's a lighter sleeper—so in addition to feeling relieved that Grady's no longer in pain, we feel some relief at knowing we'll be able to start sleeping a whole lot better and will now be less inclined to fall asleep on a dog on the couch in the middle of the afternoon.
Grady had a difficult time with his former owners, and that experience probably scarred him emotionally for the rest of his life. He also went through what we assumed was a devastating separation from his mother—she was adopted by someone else before we investigated adopting Grady—after having spent his first eight or so years with her.
If he was going to have an accident in the house, Grady would do it on the only rug in an otherwise bare-floored room. He would start barking immediately after you finally got Missy to stop reacting to a noise that posed no threat to her. If there was a stray dog turd in the yard that you'd overlooked when you'd picked up after a poop, he would use his powerful nose to find it and eat it before you could pull him away.
As nephew Matt said (see the update in that linked post), it says a lot about Grady that he was willing to use his head to bust down our screen door to get at his cousin Molly's food bowl. Grady was often the (head)butt of our jokes. Tony and I insinuated that though he missed his mother, she was probably thrilled to get away from that nitwit son of hers.
If Grady wasn't a "good dog," it surely wasn't mostly his fault. His previous owners failed to give him the love and attention he needed when he was younger. I tried to be compassionate toward him after he became a part of our lives. He wasn't always easy to like, but he wasn't a "bad dog" either. And we loved that crazy bastard.
Here's dorfing at you, Gradler! *blows a kiss*
1Tony said liver tests can come back fine repeatedly until suddenly they're decidedly not fine. His father died of liver failure after a lifetime of undiagnosed and so untreated celiac disease.