Mushi is a Japanese Chin. He has been part of the family for 9 years. He has brought us joy and comfort and peace and belly laughs. And today his life has come to an end.
About 4 years ago the veterinarian informed me that Mushi had a heart murmur. Turns out this is typical of the breed. Japanese Chins are not the most energetic breed of dog, considering themselves too princely to run about and chase things, and his laid-back nature may have actually given him more years with this bad heart than another breed of dog. For that I am thankful.
We began to notice a severe increase in his coughing and wheezing this past weekend. A trip to the vet's office this morning confirmed my fears - Mushi is in full-blown congestive heart failure. His heart is horribly enlarged and pressing against his trachea, hence the breathing problems. His pulse is dangerously low. Medication might relieve symptoms, but he still would only have a few months to live.
A frank discussion with the doctor led to a decision I was dreading yet prepared to make. This afternoon we will take him to be euthanized. They say it is a "humane" decision. To me that translates to "humans wield power over the rest of the animal kingdom," and I do not take this power lightly.
I also refuse to watch him suffer any longer than necessary.
We knew this day would come, and I prepared the girls for the possibility that the doctor would make such a recommendation. I will pick them up early from school so that they can spend some time with him and say their "goodbyes." I will allow them to witness the procedure if they so choose.
I have never sheltered my children from illness or death. I have gently and compassionately taught them that this is part of being a living creature. I have taught them the value in caring for the sick and in releasing our deceased to the Lord. I may do many things incorrectly as a parent, but I believe in this matter I have done well.
And I have never hidden my emotions regarding these things from my children. They are perhaps the only humans that routinely get past the "walls" I surround myself with. I wish for them to witness feelings being expressed in a healthy manner. I believe I have done well in this matter, as well.
So today we will pet him and we will love him and we will thank him for being such a gift to us. We will weep. We will graciously request that those who do not comprehend our sadness keep their remarks to themselves. We will release Mushi to wherever or whomever little doggie souls go. And we will remember him always.