19 June 2017

No change. On hold. It's all over

Callie's condition is unchanged. She's still sitting on the floor down in the entryway, which has been one of the places where she enjoys spending time in summer for years now. It's cool down there, she can hear us upstairs, and she can look out through the sliding glass door to see what's happening outside.

At 9:00 a.m., I'll be calling the veterinary clinic for an appointment. I hope they'll take us this morning.

Since Callie can't go upstairs under her own steam, and she's too heavy (20.5 kg / 45 lbs.) for us to carry upstairs safely, that's where we've got her set up. We can use a towel as a sling to carry her just a few steps out onto the gravel driveway to do her business — peeing all the way, a couple of times yesterday. I get really sad when I think she can no longer scramble up the wooden staircase to the loft (I love that sound), go out walking through her favorite woods and on her favorite route around the vineyard, or go up to the loft and spend the morning sitting regally on our bed, waiting for the morning walk while I work on my blog.


Again last night, I slept down in the entryway on a mattress on the floor. Walt slept upstairs with Natasha. It's better to keep the puppy up there, because she doesn't yet feel confident about walking down the wooden staircase and stays up there rather than wandering all over the house. Sometime between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m., Callie starting whimpering and whining. I couldn't figure out why. I talked to her, petted her, turned on the lights, and tried to figure out what she wanted. To go upstairs? Can't do that. Have Walt come down and see her? I hated to wake him up. Go outside and pee? She wouldn't usually go out at that time of night.

Finally I went to the sliding glass door, which was open just a crack for cool air, and opened it wider. What did I hear? Caterwauling. Two cats were involved in a growling standoff in the neighbor's yard or out on the road. That's what Callie was hearing and she was whimpering in excitement and frustration. The fact that she didn't get up to go see the action means she really can't stand up now. By then, Tasha had also started growling and even barking her shrill yap upstairs. I heard Walt close the front window of the loft, just up the front door of the house. Tasha calmed down because she couldn't hear the cats anymore.

I stepped outside clapping my hands (no nearby neighbors right now) and calling "Scat cat! Scat cat!" I walked out the front gate and down the road a few steps, to let the cats know I meant business. The growling and wailing stopped, and I went back inside. Callie settled down, and we both went back to sleep, as did Walt and the puppy, he says. He also says he looked out the loft window before he shut it and saw a neighbor's cat and a mysterious unfamiliar cat sitting and wailing at each other on the road. It wasn't our cat Bertie. Who knows where he was...

P.S. update: Callie died at about 12:30 today. Euthanasia. Peaceful.

92 comments:

  1. Hope the vet will take you this morning. Keep my fingers crossed. Bon courage!

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    1. Merci, CHM. The emergency vet over in Seigy said he was sending Callie's regular vet a report on the incident and the treatment he prescribed for Callie, so the office in Noyers should be up to date. I think they'll take us today, and I hope this morning. Right now, we need to go put Callie in her makeshift sling and take her outside. Oops, Walt just noticed that she has already peed. Poor dog!

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  2. Hope Callie does get better. Good luck at the vets

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  3. Oh dear, we're so sorry to hear that Callie is ill.
    It doesn't sound good at all and It reminds me of the feeling of desperately wanting Lulu to get better this time last year. I hope there is a solution and the vet can give you some hope. We'll be thinking about you today.

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  4. Thank you Jean. And yes, though the maladie is different this had made me think of Lulu and what you all had to go through. We now have an appointment with our regular veterinarian for 11:45. Let's hope the prognosis is good.

    MétéoFrance says the temperature here might hit 36ºC this afternoon. For those who don't do Celsius, note that normal human body temperature is 37. So it will be hot, and weather we could do without right now (no AC).

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    1. Will be checking this afternoon for news about diagnosis and prognosis.

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  5. We, too, will be checking in, and, of course, have Callie and you two constantly on our minds.
    Judy

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    1. Thanks, Jan. I'll be reporting back in a couple of hours.

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  7. Will be thinking of you and checking back regularly! Fingers crossed and hopes up.

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    1. I don't know if Callie cares or not that I'm sleeping downstairs beside her. The first night the vet had said Callie might be up and around again in a few hours after the cortisone injection, and I didn't want her to injure herself worse by trying to climb the stairs up to the living room. So I slept down there. Last night, the second, it just felt like the thing to do, even if there was little prospect of her getting up off the floor.

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    2. I'm sure she was very glad to have you by her side. She must have been utterly confused about not being able to get up and move around. You being there must have been comforting and reassuring (+ you made those noisy cats shut up ;) ). You're right: it was the thing to do and in hindsight I think you'll be glad you did what you did.

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  8. Hi Ken, I'm sure Callie appreciates your presence during the night. She has always been an active, lively and affective dog. Being immobilized must be frustrating for her. Having you by her side will certainly boost her moral. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you Martine. I'm sorry to have been so quiet for so long. When are you scheduled to move into the new apartment?

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  9. There's an old Irish blessing 'May the roads rise up to meet you...'. I'm thinking it all day for you all.

    Callie lived a blesses life, because of you guys, didn't she. And vice versa.

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    1. We gave Callie a good life, I'm sure, and she certainly gave us a great 10 years.

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  10. It was too late according to the vet. Callie has departed. More later. It's time for us to talk, drink some wine, reminisce, and convince ourselves that there was no other solution.

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    1. I'm so sorry. Take your time to get over this dreadful and totally unsuspected event. Nice of you to enquire about the new apartment. But I'm sure you have other things on your mind right now. I'll tell you more about it later. Callie the collie will always a fond memory for me. Take care and try to find some comfort in Tasha's puppy antics!

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  11. Oh my God. That's such terribly sad news. My sincere condolences to both of you. I'm sharing my tears and grief with you. I'm sure you've done everything you could.Callie has had a wonderful life with you and v.v. Bon courage and big hugs!

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  12. so sorry, thoughts go out to you both.

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  13. I almost didn't read to the "P.S." line, and now I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. Unfortunately, sometimes the hard choice is the last act of kindness we can do for our beloved pets. I'm so sorry. Be sure and give Tasha lots of attention, as she may grieve as much as the two of you.

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    1. I think Tasha started grieving yesterday morning. She obviously understood things that we really didn't. Callie gave her some good training. She will miss her. Ever since we came back from the vet's, Tasha has been very subdued.

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  14. so sorry, I remember when y'all first got her......she was well loved by many and had a wonderful life

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    1. We did give Callie a good life, and she was a spooky and neurotic dog in many ways. Her neuroses were part of her charm, and she was affectionate and smart. We will miss her for the rest of our lives, as we also miss Collette, who moved to France with us as part of our 14 years with her.

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  15. Oh, Ken, I just burst into tears reading your p.s. I just can't believe this has happened. I just don't have the words to express how sad we are. You must just be in shock. I am profoundly grateful that we were able to meet her and pet her and see you with her.
    Judy, Betsy, and Dougg

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    1. Oh Judy, now you've got me crying again. I'm glad too that, after reading about her for the better part of 10 years, you got to meet Callie, even though she wasn't at the top of her form. I'm so glad you were able to come to Saint-Aignan.

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    2. By the way, as I told you there is something extra vivid and moving about the way things happen in France. Here's another example.

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  16. I am so so sorry and sad for you. I am so happy that you decided to get a second dog when you did. Sending hugs.

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    1. Callie died of a broken back. The vet explained it to us, and said in Callie's case it happened very fast, and it didn't take much to cause the injury. Callie didn't suffer long, and the indignity (pooping and peeing on the floor and herself) of it all was over fast. She couldn't even wag her tail at the end, and she always wagged her tail when she was lying down and you talked sweet to her. That's a vivid memory.

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  17. I am so sorry. Callie was on my mind the first thing I got up this morning (7 hours difference) I logged on at once and was hoping for better news. Will miss the walk with her but looking forward to the life with Tasha. RIP Callie.

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    1. We too are looking forward to focusing our attention on Tasha and having a good life with her. She'll likely be our last dog.

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  18. My heartfelt sympathies to you and Walt .. I woke this am to silly cats and wondered how Callie was .. bless her heart, she was a Good Girl. love to you all.

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    1. This brought back the memories of our last days with Tate, our Standard Poodle who came with us when we moved to Buenos Aires and was the talk of the town .. they never see Standard Poodles there .
      He was a Good Boy from the day we got him, he kept me sane in the move from the US to Argentina..and adjusting to living in a foreign land. I
      He had a tumor, the vets did all they could, he just lived a little longer but then one night he told me he had just had enough. He and I lay on the floor together until morning when the vet gave him a shot to ease his discomfort, she refused to euthanize any animal.. he just fell asleep .. and I still miss him every day ..

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    2. I was glad to spend those last two nights on the floor next to Callie. I really didn't expect her to depart this life today, but I quickly realized, in talking with the vet, that it was the right thing to do and the right time. Callie looked almost haggard when I carried her in and put her on the vet's examination table. She was very tired, I'm sure. And the passing was so calm and dignified that I feel comforted. She is at peace.

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  19. So, so sorry.
    She had a wonderful life with you, which is little consolation when all you want is to have her back, in good health.
    We'll drink a toast to Callie, and to the three of you, this evening. Look after each other, we feel your pain.

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    1. Thanks, Jean. We do feel that letting go of Callie was the right thing to do. The vet, Mme Guéguen, is the same vet who took care of things when Collette died in 2006, and I like the way she does things. She talks to us in a way that shows she's treating you like an adult, a person with feelings about the animal, and not just as a client. I'm glad we were able to be there when the poison was injected and see how quick and peaceful it was. This has all be such a surprise, we are just starting to put it into perspective. We have Natasha to help us through the process.

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  20. Knowing what her medical condition was you did the right thing - never doubt that. Our vet tech told us that people that care about their pets will come to that decision. We have had to make that decision twice. I checked your blogs first thing - we live in the Seattle area - lots of tears for all of you. That bond with an animal is very special - Callie had a rich life with you. I am so sorry for your sudden loss.

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    1. Thanks, we loved Callie, for all her neuroses and peculiarities. She was the best dog, as we always told her, and we organized our lives around her and her walks. We'll probably do the same with Natasha, when she comes of age. Seattle, eh? We have really good memories of times we spent there.

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  21. Hugs to you and Walt. You've been on my mind today. What a wonderful life the gorgeous Callie had with you both and there will be many loving memories there. Sue

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    1. Ten years. Incroyable. Those years went by in a flash.

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  22. I'm so sorry to hear about Callie's passing. Now it's time to grieve, remember, and yes, celebrate Callie's wonderful life and the joy she brought to you both. And Tasha is there now to provide a transition and occupy your minds. Callie still lives in your memories. A new chapter begins.....Warmest regards to both of you.

    DR

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    1. Thank you D. Yes, we can focus on Tasha, and that will be good for her and good for us.

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    2. Yes, that puppy will be very good for you .. nothing like a sweet baby to ease that pain in your heart.

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  23. So very sorry as I loved following Callie's part in your lives. There will be a huge gaping hole for now but your one consolation, as everyone says, is that you made the right decision at the right time for dear Callie. She'll be right beside you in spirit as you walk Tasha up and down the vineyard and through the woods. A photo montage of Callie's life would be wonderful to see. When you're ready. Meanwhile loving thoughts from me.

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  24. Being in rescue/adoption volunteering since I retired, I am familiar with all kinds of vet aspects in the USA. Just wondering what the owners in France do with bodies of their pets. Bury or cremate.

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    1. The vet asked us if we wanted to have Callie's body and, for example, bury her in our yard. But we opted for cremation — it's called incinération, and we chose incinération individuelle, so her ashes will be given to us. We plan to scatter them in the patch of woods that Callie so enjoyed walking through nearly every day.

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    2. Same in Buenos Aires .. I never had a place that felt right for Tates ashes so they came back to the US with us .. My husband asked me one time if I was thinking of saving them and keeping them without own ashes when the time came.
      I hadn't thought about it until he mentioned it ~

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  25. These first days missing Callie will certainly be tough. She had a beautiful life in the vines and was well loved. I'm glad she got to meet Tasha. It all happened so suddenly, but such is life. It's good to know she got the good vet that took care of Collette. Maybe Callie is chasing cats or deer in heaven right now. We'll all miss Callie, especially all the workers in the vineyard. They will soon get to meet the lovely Tasha. So it goes. My heart goes out to you and Walt.

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    1. We talked to two of the workers in the vineyard this morning, and told them what was happening. They asked us to keep them posted. They have already met Tasha. I hope I'll see them again this afternoon or tomorrow to let them know. They loved Callie and were always very kind to her.

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  26. Oh, this is so sad. My heart goes out to you all. Callie was a gift to everyone.

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    1. Chris, I wrote to you earlier but Blogger ate my comment, apparently. I think I said that Callie was certainly a gift to Walt and me. She rose to the occasion when it came to filling Collette's shoes. We will always miss and love both those pooches.

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  27. So, so sorry.
    John L.

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  28. Over the years, I have enjoyed following Callie's life there in France. It was always so obvious how much you and Walt loved her, and I know the empty space she leaves behind will be impossible to fill, even by Tasha. Cherish the memories and heart healing will come. Maggie

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  29. Ken and Walt I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear Callie. Sending hugs to both of you.

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    1. D., the vet said it was too late, and explained to us how she could tell. No feeling in the dog's back legs and feet, and therefore no pain either (the positive side). You suspected as much, right? she said. Vous vous en doutiez, n'est-ce pas ? Well, we did. I must have already mentioned this, but when we realized this afternoon that Callie could no longer wag that wagging tail of hers after Saturday night, we should have understood that the process was irreversible. May she rest in peace.

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  30. I so much hoped for better news and am so so sorry to hear this. It brings back the sadness of Bo's passing. You were always so good to Callie and this was the final kindness, so she did not suffer needlessly. But heartbreaking.

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    1. Well, it's bad news and it's good news. Callie is no longer suffering the indignity of being disabled that way. She had a good, easy death — her throes lasting less than 48 hours. She is missed and still cherished here, of course. It was a privilege to spend a decade with her.

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  31. Aw, Ken, my heart goes out to you and Walt. Rest in peace, dear Callie. She was a wonderful dog. I'm so very sorry for your loss. I know there isn't much to say to help your hurting hearts, but know that there are tears for Callie here in California. We had so much fun visiting you all and will miss her. Much love to you and Walt at this very difficult time.

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    1. Glad to hear from you Ginny. Yes, Callie was a special animal, and we organized our lives around hers for more than 10 years. There's a gaping hole in our hamlet right now. We haven't yet told our neighbors, but we don't see them every day. As the occasions present themselves... A few weeks ago, our neighbor the Mayor, Annick, showed up at our front gate. She had Callie in tow. "Callie came to visit me," she said. "I brought her home." And Annick also gave us a pot of delicious pâté she had made. Anyway, that's how we discovered that Callie had found a way to squeeze under the fence and out of the yard. We were glad that Annick, who is basically suspicious and a little fearful of dogs, had see how sweet and cooperative Callie was. We promptly blocked up the escape passage Callie had somehow found. She was asserting herself toward the end, becoming less submissive.

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    2. I saw one of your comments where you think things were changing, but they were subtle so you didn't really think anything of them. These animals can be so mysterious. Our younger dog, Maya, put her head on my knee and squeezed her eyes shut back in February. We brought her to the vet and got some eyedrops, but they didn't seem to help the bloodshot quality to her left eye. Then, before we knew it, she was blind in that eye within a month. At age 8. It was devastating, and I still feel very conflicted about it--should I have pressed my vet harder? Should I have insisted on a specialist? Now she also has glaucoma in her right eye, and we give her drops twice daily in an attempt to stave off the blindness. She is such a happy, active girl--I imagine how diminished her life will be once she loses her sight completely. In the meantime, we are trying to use more voice commands and hope for the best.
      I am still so sad for you both at the news of Callie's death and how quickly it overtook you. Life can be so cruel. I know you did the right thing, but that doesn't make it easy at all. I hope sweet Bertie and Tasha can give you some cuddles and comfort at this rough time. Sending love, Ginny

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    3. Ginny, There is a lot of information on line about blindness in dogs, and there are a couple of good books available to help owners cope. I went through it a few years back, and it seems harder on the humans -- dogs seem to adjust reasonably well.
      Good luck.

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    4. Thank you, Emm. We're educating ourselves.

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    1. Thanks Lynn. I know how much H. and R., especially, loved interacting with Callie. Good memories.

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  33. So, so sad... but the best thing for Callie.... RIP you sweet BC.
    All courage to you both, T&P.

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    1. Thanks T&P. We're doing okay, in a sad sort of way.

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  34. I was hoping for better news this morning Ken. I know your hearts are breaking today and I am sending my deepest condolences to you and Walt. I am sure little Natasha is sensing the loss too. Animals have a way of knowing things. It's almost like she is a little blessing to you. It was meant to be for you to have her at this time.

    Today is the 5th anniversary of my mother’s death. It is truly a sad day. I will forever remember Callie on this day too. My step-grandmother was named Callie. I would think of her sometimes when reading about your Callie!

    Our pets can bring us the happiest days and the saddest day of our lives!

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    1. Condolences, 5 years late, for your mother's death. Yes, the happiest and the saddest. Perfect description.

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  35. I'm so sorry to read this sad news, Ken. I've been reading and enjoying your blog and Walt's since before the day you brought Callie home. She was such a sweet puppy who turned into a beautiful adult dog. This was quite a shock for both of you. I think it's a blessing that you have Tasha to help you heal. Thank you for the many Callie photos.

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    1. It certainly has been a shock. We are still processing it. Tasha is helping — I went for a short walk with her through the vines a couple of hours ago, and I just came back from a walk around the yard with her. Excuse me for saying so, but I'm happy that she peed and she pooped.

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  36. Tom and I were very sad to hear about Callie's illness. We sure did enjoy our visit with her, and you two a few years ago. I loved being taken on a walk by Callie. Her memory will stay on the wind in the vineyards.

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    1. Thanks, H & T. She took us on so many good walks — one for Walt and one for me every day for 10 years. Callie's footprints are all over the vineyard and all around the edges.

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  37. So sorry to hear that, Ken. My sympathies to the both of you.

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    1. Merci, Simon. Our heads are spinning. It all happened so suddenly, so unexpectedly, and so fast. We are happy to have known and enjoyed 10 years with Callie the collie.

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  38. My sympathies to you an Walt. It is never easy.

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    1. Thank you. It is not easy, but it was a good ending in a strange sort of way. Callie was a life force right up to the last minute.

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  39. I am so very sorry to hear the sad news - my deepest sympathies to you both. I've so enjoyed seeing photos of your lovely girl.
    Having lost one of my dogs last January, with the same thing, I know how heart-breaking it is.

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  40. So very sorry to learn you have lost the beautiful Callie. My deepest sympathies.

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  41. So sorry for your loss. It's so hard to lose pets. I hope you can eventually find some comfort in knowing you gave her a happy and full life.

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  42. Ken

    I haven't been reading you blog for nearly 2 weeks as i was busy on something and I am very sad to read about Callie when I opened your blog.
    Sorry to learn of your loss . She was a great girl when we met her six years ago.
    Toutes mes sympathies à vous deux.

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  43. So so sorry for you and Walt, but you gave her a great life. She was such a character. So hard to take the decision -- we've had to do it twice, both occasions it was totally unexpected.

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  44. My deep, deep sympathies. I know these days are tough for both you. Tasha too.
    I'm a very long time reader of your blog, but I have to admit that I do not remember the time your brought Callie home. Maybe as you recall her life with you, you could post a little about her early months? Just a thought.

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  45. From an old friend who follows your blogs but is not too swift about this new way of communicating:
    The sudden passing of Callie pushes me to try to get in touch and tell you that I share your deep sadness. One can not help but feel the love you both had for her, and all the lovely memories you have gathered in the ten years she was with should help a bit with your grief. May the antics of little Tasha distract you a bit.
    Roselyne

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  46. We have been at the campsite in Seigny for a week now but the campsite wifi has been overloaded all weekend and right through today so I have only just now been able to read your last few days blog (11,30pm) and was so very sad to hear about Callie.
    Very similar to the end of life of our last sheltie and I, like you, slept on the floor with her for 2 nights as it was the New Years holiday until the vet was available to put her to sleep. I really felt for you as I read your blog tonight.
    It is so very sad: we all love our dogs so much. Tasha will be a consolation, but that is too much to ask at the moment. And the heat can't be helping as it makes everything such an effort.
    So very sorry for you both. Lots of us who follow your blog will be grieving too as we feel we knew Callie so well from your lovely photos and descriptions.
    Thinking of you both.

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  47. my thoughts are with you and walt and tasha. so sorry to hear this news about callie; such a pretty girl. we all loved her.

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  48. So sorry for your and Walt's loss. Thank you for sharing Callie's life with us.

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  49. So sorry for your and Walt's loss. Thank you for sharing Callie's life with us.

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  50. I am so sorry. Crying like a fool, and now I'll go and read the comments and cry some more.
    I'm sorry for you and Walt, but I know you did right by Callie.
    Run free, sweet Callie, over the Rainbow Bridge. You take a big chunk of our hearts with you.

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  51. I'm so sorry. I so enjoyed the Callie stories and photos on your blog. -Rose

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  52. I'm so sorry there was no miracle. But I'm sure you made the right decision. Owners always agonise over it, but when it needs to be done it is clear. The suddenness of the problem is rather shocking and that makes it all the more difficult to deal with. Put some photos of her around the house and think of her often.

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