Remembering Titus

I have put this off long enough. Today marks one year since I lost my beloved Titus. I never intended to take such a long break from blogging, but when I lost him, I knew I couldn’t write another post without paying tribute to him first. The trouble was, every time I sat down to write this post, I would just end up in a puddle of tears, reliving the weeks that led up to his passing and the day I had to let him go.

Titus was diagnosed with diabetes in September 2013. Diabetes in dogs is like Type 1 in humans; there is nothing that causes it or anything that can be done to prevent it. Sometimes their bodies just lose the ability to regulate their blood sugar. Diabetes also carries an increased risk of pancreatitis, which is what happened to Titus on January 2, 2016. We’d had a totally normal morning — he came to wake me up and we went for our normal short walk (he was also arthritic), even ran into a little girl with her father who commented on what a good-looking dog Titus was. When I got home from work that night, he had totally changed. He was lethargic, uninterested in going outside or eating his dinner. I hoped he might get better the following day, that maybe he was having a little stomach upset. The next day didn’t get better. He still wouldn’t eat and walked around very little. I made the decision to bring him to the vet the following morning. He had to be carried to my car, and the vet techs put him on a stretcher to get him into the vet office. The vet immediately diagnosed him with pancreatitis, and checked him in for treatment. Considering the condition he was in at that point, I honestly thought that I would be saying goodbye right then, so I was relieved that the vet thought he still had a chance. They kept him for a few days, flooding his system with insulin, and got him eating and walking around a little. Two days later I was able to take him home with a changed diet. He seemed happy and normal for about 48 hours, but then he relapsed so I took him back to the vet right away. They decided to keep him for longer, 5 days this time to get his diet as close to perfect and his blood sugar back to normal. I brought him back in on Sunday, January 10 and was able to pick him up on Thursday Jan 14. He was very happy to see me even though he needed the help of a sling to walk. I brought him out to the car like normal, but halfway home he started dry heaving in the back seat. I’d never seen him do that, he never had any problems vomiting before, so I called the vet as soon as I got home. She gave me the option of bringing him back in, or watching him for the night. I’d had enough of watching him be uncomfortable, so I turned around and brought him back in for the third time in 12 days. The vet was afraid that it might be bloat (where the dog’s stomach flips or gets twisted), but when she saw him, thought he might be fine, but wanted to run x-rays just in case. Well, the x-rays came back to show his stomach had in fact bloated. For a healthy young dog, surgery can sometimes fix it. Unfortunately, Titus was over 10 years old and had already been through so much pain, I couldn’t justify putting him through the ordeal of surgery with the possibility of a good outcome so slim. So I lied on the floor of the vet’s office with him while I waited for my ex-boyfriend (his “dad”) to arrive so he could say goodbye. I am not a religious person, but I have never wanted to believe in heaven more than at that moment.