Gromit has always had issues with his dew claws. They get snagged on every possible surface and rip off, and then he whines and we have to baby him, and put neosporin on it, and bactine, and watch him limp around pathetically wounded. But it would always heal and life goes on. Until a few weeks ago. He ripped it off, and it was bad, so we took him to the vet, for the third time in a month (“he’s SUPER healthy, and we’ll take that 2 grand from your bank account now for the suggested yearly geriatric blood work, thanks.”). They put him on antibiotics and the swelling continued, and his dew claw started to look like something you’d see in a fun house mirror.
Me: Babe, PLEASE call the vet and get that thing taken care of, he’s been on antibiotics for two weeks and that thing grosses me out. It looks like there’s a balloon hanging off his paw.
Him: And you can’t, because…?
Me: I pay the bills, and take care of the kids, and sort of do the laundry, and uh, yeah, I’m not good for much else. Just call them already.
So the hubs takes him in today, while I drop toys off to goodwill and consignment. And I wasn’t prepared for “the call”
Him: Babe, he has cancer.
$400 in x-rays later, it’s operable. It’s TOE CANCER. We lob off the offending toe, and hopefully, that’s pretty much the end of it. And of course, the vet was non-judgemental, and like, “if you can’t or don’t want to, it’s now about making him comfortable… blah blah blah.”
And how do I justify my own selfishness to not have to sweep up dog hair every day, or deal with his festering garbage breath, by just letting the cancer spread and cause him pain? He’s 12 years old. He’s had a good life, but I would be a total asshole if I just said, “we’re going to just ride this one out and let him die.” I can’t do that. Part of me wanted that decision to be made for me today, no matter how hard it was. I wanted it cut and dry. It’s a hard decision to decide to put your dog down, but I feel like, it’s almost a harder decision to let your old, decrepit, and otherwise healthy dog live.