Monday, August 1, 2011

Quantity vs Quality

I'm wrestling with a lot of things right now. Not sure if it's the too much on my plate or the fact that my plate is 1/2 empty at this point allowing my mind time to wander?

Dogs have been taking some time off from work. First off it's been hot. Second, "my" dogs that I've been working on obedience with have been reassigned to the Ms for the summer. As 4-H kicked into high gear, though we both work with the dogs, I'm hands off unless there is a problem. So Moose and dreams of his CD this summer are on hold till late fall. Same with Pete but funny, she decided she really didn't want to do any thing and went in season. I tinkered with taking Fred back in the ring to play with his RA, but again, the kid took precedence and off to the juniors ring they went. Of course Ms Merlot spent the summer in the whelping box and Eddie-he's got his RN, might be a stretch to keep his attention for a BN but CD? Hello, Mr Center of Attention? Not a struggle I want to deal with at all. Besides, I have Eddie Jr in the wings who has a much longer attention span at 8 weeks then his daddy has at 4 years.

But the show season is heating up again. So if I want to be more then Alec's bucket bitch, I better get a dog ready for something, since I have nothing to show right now! Charlie is on the hunt for a major, so if it's not one, we'll donate our entry to the club. After that, and waiting for a dog to come back in coat, my plate is almost empty. I guess that means I have time to work the new horse?

As I look at it, with working full time, juggling the Ms' other activities, it's not the quantity of time I put in to working the dogs, it's the quality. How much do they get out of it? Do they need a strict 1/2 hour work out or can I do it in 5 min spurts and make it intense and rewarding?

My other struggle with this quality vs quantity, is creeping up with the loss of another one of our oldie moldies this weekend. Clairee went peacefully in her sleep in June. I wrestled with this for awhile. She had great quality of life and we spent most of the days we had doing things she enjoyed and wanted to do, not knowing the quantity of life she had left. After her passing, I had a struggle as to the quality of life for her other 1/2, Topaz. A year older but a life long struggle with the after affects of being almost a "refuge" dog. She never had a permanent place in life until she came to retire with us. 4 or 5 different homes over 6 or 7 years. She at times seemed distant, as though wondering where her next stop was. She never had to worry about it here. Most of her last years were spent cuddled up with the Ms, sharing space on the lower bunk bed with Clariee and the cat. Making sure her adopted pup, the stuffed panda, was with in sight. But as with all senior dogs, life crept up on her. She became incontinent, due to an emergency spay. She started having issues with storms, getting lost in the back yard. Dementia and what not.

For the last month, I struggled deeply with the thoughts of am I doing her any good with the quantity of days I'm giving her vs her quality of life she's living in those days? She decided to make the decision herself. After what we believe was a stroke, Topaz went to wait for us with Clairee at her side. I am deeply grateful for having such a wonderful vet who talked me through my decision making calls yesterday and my hubby for taking her into the clinic. I know she's not in pain but my struggle still continues.

How do we know when it's time? Did I do the right thing by giving her more time or was it selfish of me to want more? This is the part I hate the most. I once listened to a vet who prolonged something way too long, I know I have to forgive them at some point but I refuse to believe they did it in the best interest of the animal. I've had a rescue who lived a life of luxury for the three days I had him, only to have to send him to the bridge because of an uncaring shelter system and a vet who refused to do more for him earlier on. Makes me love my current vet all that much more. She's honest and helps me along those roads. We've had our share of cries and hugs.

I hate second guessing myself. That's my struggle now. Did I do the right thing? Do I ever do right by the animal? As I sit and look around me at all the four footed creatures, I realize that part of life is letting go. Man that's the hardest part. That's where you always second guess. What I need to do is remember that they are here really for a short time only, we need to put the quality above the quantity.

Later gators....

1 comment:

Garrett808 said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the collie losses. Its hard whenever their time is. hugs