End of the Road For One of Us

claire_at_park

Claire 1996(?) to 2.6.2013

I’ve written before about the challenges of pet care on the road but we recently ran into a situation we were unable to prepare for, even as seasoned road warriors.

We were traveling and our dog, Claire, started going downhill in a hurry. She was 17 years old so aches and pains related to age were to be expected, but she was having trouble walking and was having a peculiar type of seizure. Last Tuesday she stopped eating. We had planned on waiting until we got back to our long-term park to go to the vet but Claire’s health continued to deteriorate. We could no longer escape the hard decision; it was time for our buddy to cross over.

Out of desperation we had to look for a local vet to help with end of life care. This put us all in an awkward situation. The vet had never seen Claire before and we had no experience with them. They fit us into an already full schedule because of our friends who recommended them.

I had a work phone conference scheduled and my wife handed me a note 30 minutes into a 2 hour phone conference that the vet had to move our appointment up. There was no way I could leave and my wife and parents had to take her in. It was either that or put the dog through another agonizing day with no food. My wife gets hero props for stepping up to handle that difficult situation.

This situation was sad but not tragic. Claire was 17, which is a ripe old age for any dog and had developed a heart condition. She lived a great life that was full of days in the park and chasing ball for hours on end. But those are the realities of pet care on the road. Many times you’re picking a vet out of the phone book. You don’t know them, they don’t know you. A few are difficult about giving you a prescription to order your pet medications on the road.

Our experience taking two dogs on the road in an RV has done it for us, we’re not getting any more animals. The expense of vet bills, the difficulty of getting care on the road, and the limitations imposed by pet ownership are just too much. I’m hoping after a couple years we won’t notice the huge empty space in our life so much, but it sure hurts now.

Not having pets is liberating in its own way and we were lucky enough to have the best dog in the world and that seems like a good place to let it end.

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