Those of you who know me may be aware that while I have no human children, two much beloved, elderly mutt-children are the beneficiaries of all of my maternal energy and that of my partner. Butch Aroo, my 15 year old shepherd mix, was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy a couple of years ago, which is paralyzing his hindquarters. He has already lived about a year beyond his estimated prognosis, and until very recently, seemed to be happy in spite of his physical challenges. We've noticed him deteriorating much more rapidly over the last couple of months, and after a really rough weekend, it has become clear that it will soon be time to make that impossibly difficult decision to end his suffering. He still has his appetite (which is really good), but he's lost almost all control over his bowels (which I have no problem cleaning up, but is so humiliating to my poor boy), can't get up without help, and frequently falls once he's up (we have a couple of harnesses that we use when absolutely needed, but he HATES them). He used to take these falls in stride, but now he just looks exhausted. And while he used to be fairly content just laying down relaxing, he now can't seem to find a comfortable position for more than 5 minutes at a time, and needs to be helped up, re-situated and helped down again. My heart is breaking... it could be today or 3 days from now. I think we're probably facing less than a week with our boy, and I'm completely devistated. As some of you know, I put on a happy face, but I am already in a terrible, nearly hopeless state. We're broke and on the verge of losing our home (I have to find a miracle solution by the 27th of this month or it's a lost cause), our finances are a complete disaster, and my inability to cope with conflict has backed me into a corner and is threatening my marriage to my soulmate and partner of 12 years. I have no idea whatsoever how I am going to survive this. As sad as it sounds (probably pathetic to those of you who don't have a parent-child relationship with your pets), Butchie is 1/3rd of my tiny, tenuous reason for living right now. I really don't think I can hold it together and do this.