We said goodbye to Quinn the corgi yesterday. The writing has been on the wall for him for a while, so there was nothing sudden or shocking about it, which honestly made it one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. When Quinn was diagnosed with DM a couple years ago we promised ourselves that we’d let him go if/when his quality of life diminished too much, or if/when he started to lose the control of his front end or bladder. And well… we kinda hit all three of those milestones at once.
DM is tough, because they aren’t really in any pain. And for a smaller dog like Quinn, who is extremely lazy and very content to lay around the house most of the time, it didn’t affect his quality of life too much for quite a while. His hind end was first to go – one foot followed quickly by the other. We got him a wheelchair and while he never really took to using it, it did help him toddle around a little bit when he felt so inclined. DM of course is progressive, and over time his paralysis has inched it’s way forward. The past few months he really hasn’t been strong enough to hold up his front end in the wheelchair anymore, nor more recently could he push his upper body up on his own anymore. He could scoot from side to side, but not lift himself any. A couple weeks ago he scooted his front end off of his bed in the middle of the night and was just kind of hanging his front end off sideways, all twisted up and contorted, looking at me for help as soon as I got up in the morning. Who knows how long he’d been stuck like that but he was pretty stiff. My heart just sank.
Coincidentally that was right around the time he started not being able to hold his bladder anymore. Sometimes he could, sometimes he couldn’t, but he started dribbling a lot pretty much all the time and keeping him/his bedding clean became a full time job. We moved into the diaper stage last week, and I had to start wrapping my head around the fact that it was time. He wasn’t going to get any better, he was only going to get worse. It was really hard to think of it being the end though, when a dog is otherwise happy to see you and wagging his nub and begging for treats and all that stuff. He wasn’t in pain, but he clearly wasn’t living a happy dog life anymore either, and I was worried that there would be more incidents of him getting stuck, or he’d end up with some kind of infection or sores from trying to keep him clean and dry all the time. Trying to judge quality of life is tricky, and not something I would wish on anyone, even though pretty much all pet owners have to face it at some point. I have always said though that I would rather let him go a week too early than a week too late. There comes a point when you’re keeping them alive more for your benefit than theirs, and I think we were at that point.
We made an appointment to have him euthanized at home, to avoid the stress of the vet clinic. He spent the morning eating all sorts of terrible food that he normally can’t have, and then we said our goodbyes. We’re having him cremated, and we’ll spread his ashes out at the barn. He did love wandering around through the fields, back when he still could.
While we didn’t have Quinn for a super long time – we adopted him 6 years ago as a “senior” special needs corgi from a rescue up in north Texas – we loved him a lot all the same. He was part of the family, and quite possibly the cutest little miniature grizzly bear I’ve ever met. We never did succeed in training him even a tiny bit (he was totally uninterested in our opinion) but he was a funny, sweet dog in his own way and he fulfilled my dream of having a corgi. I will greatly miss his fluffy little stumpers, and I hope he enjoyed his time with us as much as we enjoyed our time with him.