To live with a DM Pug: Meatball and his dad

I read this post in a Pug group on Facebook. It was so touching and heartbreaking. It gives a picture of how it can be to live with a Pug that has DM. <3

Degenerative Myelopathy.

Sounds terrible. Even if you have no idea what it is. Terrible. Unfortunately, we know all too well what it means. Our boy Meatball has it. It’s devastating. Quick. This February, Meatball was fine. Now. He can’t walk. Has lost all mobility.

First it was the loss of his hind legs. Started with just a stumble. Progressed to his inability to even sit up on his rear. Its quickly progressed to his front. He is now unable to go potty. Unable to get to his bowl for a drink. Really, unable to do much more than sleep and eat.

He’s never been an active dog. Always content with just being close to us. Maybe a couple of rounds of fetch. A bit of tugofwar with his stuffed bear. Chasing a plane or bird. He has never really liked flying things. Not much more though.

The last couple of weeks have been tough for me. He eats. He barks when he needs something. But not much more. First we try water to see if he is thirsty. Then we take him to go potty. We have to hold him up. He is unable to do that for himself. Most times he goes. Sometimes he doesn’t.

It’s not unusual for him to bark and we find that he’s peed or poo’d himself. We clean him up and move on. Sometimes that might be at 2 in the morning. Found myself bathing him at that time because he’s had an unusually messy poo. I don’t mind. It’s the least I can do for my little buddy.

We recently bought a tricycle to take him for rides. He seems to like it. We also take him for “walks” in a wagon. Loves it. Looks around. Sniffs for new smells. But still not the same as he was before this terrible disease.

As I said, the last week or two have been tough. I have constant thoughts of if I’m doing right by him. Is he happy? Does he have quality of life? Am I trying to justify euthanizing him because his care is too much? I’m so conflicted. I honestly don’t know what to do. I talk to my wife but her struggle is the same. We don’t know what to do.

We love him like a son. He’s been with us since 8 weeks. He’s done nothing but give. Now, we do more for him than he for us. We honestly do not know what’s right. We have euthanized our babies in the past. This one is different. He’s not in pain. He’s not hanging on a thread. He’s with us. He’s alert. He knows what’s going on. But he is unable to tell us if he has quality of life. This is the struggle. This is what I think about constantly.

I’m not really sure why I’m making this post. I don’t expect any of you to tell me what’s right. What we should do. That’s for us to decide. Its personal. Not sure. This is so tough. I don’t wish this on anyone.

Sorry for such a downer. But I am sad. Misery loves company I guess. I also have had a couple of beers and I don’t drink much so there’s that. But still it’s the way I feel. Again, sorry for being such a bummer.

Alex Sotelo 14 October 2018

Postscript:  Therese Rodin. Sure. You can share my stories and photos of Meatball. Would be great knowing that our story could help others going through the same. Meatball left us this past November. A month after I made this post. He made it to his 12 birthday which he enjoyed very much. He started to lose a lot of weight even though he was eating well so we knew it was time. Was very hard to do so but we knew we did right by him. My wife and I were with him and he didn’t suffer. This was a very different experience than with any of our other dogs. It’s been close to a year and we still are not ready to bring another baby into our home. One day for sure. Just not yet. 

RIP Meaty!