a random aisle in the supermarket of life

August 10, 2006

SNMP on a cisco 6509 and intermapper

Filed under: Administration, Computers — emjaydee @ 8:20 am

at my work we use [tag]InterMapper[/tag] to monitor all our equipment. I was trying to get the [tag]SNMP[/tag] probe it has for [tag]cisco[/tag] equipment to work with our Cisco [tag]6509[/tag] switch, but apparantly cisco decided that it would be fun to use completely differant OIDs for that line of [tag]switches[/tag]. so I spent hours yesterday trying to get it to work.

Sure, cisco has a nice repository of all the [tag]MIBs[/tag] for all their equipment, but they are all uncompiled and missing the actual OIDs.

Granted I am not nearly as familiar with SNMP stuff as I would like to be, but come on.

Look at the number of mibs available just for the 6500 series:
ftp://ftp-sj.cisco.com/pub/mibs/supportlists/wsc6000/wsc6000-supportlist-ios.html

All I am looking for is the CPU load and the amount of memory available. For the 5 second CPU Load according to the MIB file this is what I need:

cpmCPUTotal5sec OBJECT-TYPE
SYNTAX Gauge32 (1..100)
MAX-ACCESS read-only
STATUS deprecated
DESCRIPTION
"The overall CPU busy percentage in the last 5 second
period. This object obsoletes the busyPer object from
the OLD-CISCO-SYSTEM-MIB. This object is deprecated
by cpmCPUTotal5secRev which has the changed range of
value (0..100)."
::= { cpmCPUTotalEntry 3 }

Part of the fine is the deprecation chain. As you can see in the mib excerpt, cpmCPUTotal5sec was deprecated by cpmCPUTotal5secRev. If you go to the cpmCPUTotal5secRev section, it says it was deprecated by cpmCPUTotalMonInterval, which when you go to that section. But of course the only one of those that is actually in our version of the 6509 is cpmCPUTotal5sec.

Anyway, It sure would be nice if the OID was listed in that mib file. Then I find this file:
ftp://ftp.cisco.com/pub/mibs/oid/CISCO-PROCESS-MIB.oid

One of the lines says:
"cpmCPUTotal5sec" "1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.109.1.1.1.1.3"

So I should be all set now right? no.

This might be an issue with our version of intermapper, because if I use snmpwalk like this:

snmpwalk -O -v 2c -c CommunityName IPAddress 1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.109.1.1.1.1.3

I get this result:
SNMPv2-SMI::enterprises.9.9.109.1.1.1.1.3.9 = Gauge32: 21

It sure looks like that should work. I get a value and everything! So I write the custom SNMP probe for InterMapper with the 3 OIDs I want to watch. But none of them work, InterMapper claims none of those OIDs are available in the switch. Of course snmpwalk disagrees. So I figure I just completely messed up writing the probe.

So this morning I come into work figuring I would give it a fresh go. I happened to be looking through the options for snmpwalk, and notice the “-O n” option, which prints out the OID numerically. Which returns:
.1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.109.1.1.1.1.3.9 = Gauge32: 21

So apparantly, my problem the whole time was that InterMapper wants the OID to look like this:
.1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.109.1.1.1.1.3.9
Instead of this:
1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.109.1.1.1.1.3

Not sure what the .9 at the end does, but go figure… It sure would be nice to just make the OID available in the first place. without jumping through so many hoops.

For anyone that cares, These are the OIDs that seem to make the most sense:

cpmCPUTotal5sec .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.109.1.1.1.1.3.9
cpmCPUTotal1min .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.109.1.1.1.1.4.9
cpmCPUTotal5min .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.109.1.1.1.1.5.9
ciscoMemoryPoolFree 1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.48.1.1.1.6
DRAM .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.48.1.1.1.6.1
FLASH .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.48.1.1.1.6.6
NVRAM .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.48.1.1.1.6.7
MBUF .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.48.1.1.1.6.8
CLUSTER .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.48.1.1.1.6.9
MALLOC .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.48.1.1.1.6.10

Memory stuff
ftp://ftp.cisco.com/pub/mibs/v2/CISCO-MEMORY-POOL-MIB.my
ftp://ftp.cisco.com/pub/mibs/oid/CISCO-MEMORY-POOL-MIB.oid

CPU/Process stuff
ftp://ftp.cisco.com/pub/mibs/v2/CISCO-PROCESS-MIB.my
ftp://ftp.cisco.com/pub/mibs/oid/CISCO-PROCESS-MIB.oid

InterMapper Cisco 6500 Probe:
http://aisle10.net/intermapper-snmp.cisco6500.txt

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April 11, 2006

expensive equipment, a hammer, backups, and disaster recovery; A good mix

Filed under: Administration, Computers, Hardware — emjaydee @ 9:01 am

I found out yesterday that apparently using a hammer and a phillips head screw driver to drive a [tag]SCSI[/tag] cable through a maybe 1/8 inch opening between my desk and the cube wall it is screwed into is a bad idea.

I spent a couple hours between yesterday afternoon, later on that night, and some time this morning trying to figure out why my linux box refused to acknowledge the existence of the Sun StorEdge L8 [tag]LTO[/tag] tape [tag]autoloader[/tag] I hooked up to it. I didn't think the screwdriver actually went into the cable at all. It just looked like it busted into the magnet that surrounds the cable near the end. That thing really needed to be driven through the desk. On the good side, it gave Bill and I a good excuse to use a hammer and a bunch of prying tools to "install" a tape autoloader.
I have been trying to implement a fairly reliable backup system for a few small file servers we have at the office. The previous group of people that managed the backups for these systems had a [tag]disaster recovery[/tag] plan that involved having a rotation of backups that traveled through 3 separate physical locations. It seemed like a bit overkill, but then again, it is better to be safe. The funny thing is that the [tag]backups[/tag] were all on a bunch of 4mm 20 gig (uncompressed) tapes. The 3 servers that were being backed up totaled somewhere around 500 gigs…maybe a bit less. The best part was that between the 3 servers there where only 2 tape drives. 2 very slow tape drives. Plus, the majority of the data that was being backed up was uncompressable. movies, audio, and pictures mostly. So this involved a lot of tapes. It took a good 3 hours for 1 tape to get filled. They would get no notification it was ready for the next tape, so every couple hours they would go and log into the machine, or just check if the tape drive ejected a tape, then switch it, and rinse and repeat for the 2 day (or more) long backup. Luckily incremental backups weren't as bad, but most of the time I don't think they could even happen given how long a full backup would take. If you forget to change the tape for a while, you just might have wasted a whole days worth of time that the backup could have been chugging along. The tapes would get put into a plastic tape case that looked like it was supposed to be rushed to the hospital for a life saving organ transplant. Then that would get carted off to the first off site location in the big 3 location backup plan.

Then the group that had been handling these backups..plus a bunch of other tasks got moved to another location because of "streamlining" how their group worked. Which is when My co-worker and I got stuck with all the fun. Neither one of us had the time to keep checking to see when the next tape needed to be changed, so a full backup would take maybe 2 weeks to finish.

Anyway, that is a bunch of back story that doesn't really matter. I really wanted to just complain about [tag]Backup Exec[/tag], and some oddness associated with the Arkeia trial installation I have been working on. The whole old backup system for these 3 machines used Backup Exec. I really really really don't like Backup Exec. The UI was poorly designed, the server has to run on a windows machine, and [tag]Veritas[/tag]/[tag]Symantec[/tag] decided to screw over their customer base and not offer any encryption option unless you upgraded to their $20,000 Enterprise "we screwed you" 2.0 package (i made that price up). I didn't realize that until I was going to upgrade the 3 client installs, and the 1 Backup Exec server to their most recent version. But, I did get a chance to try out the Sun StorEdge L8 autoloader we have had laying around for who knows how long. The L8 uses 200gig LTO tapes (400 compressed), and when I tried the first backup on the trial of the new Backup Exec, The entire backup of the 3 systems took around 4 hours to finish, and everything fit on a tape and a half. On the bad side, the L8 only holds 8 tapes, one of which is a cleaning tape, so really 7. That isn't a safe number for a full mostly automated backup strategy, but it is still much better than the previous setup.

After I found out about the lack of encryption support, that got weighed in with the crappy UI, and the need for a windows 2003 server, we decided to try something else, and since my co-worker loved [tag]Arkeia[/tag] so much, I figured I would give that a try.

For a test install, I hooked the Storedge autoloader up to a [tag]Sun V120[/tag] running [tag]Solaris[/tag] 10, and got a bunch of trial licenses for Arkeia. The installation was completely painless, everything was pretty straight forward. The only part that took any time was getting the v120 to recognize the autoloader, but that can't be blamed on the software. It was more my lack of knowledge.

Arkeia has a really well thought out X interface that everything can be setup from, and you can install the server on a variety of platforms. Solaris, Linux, FreeBSD..etc. Most installs involve just typing rpm -i, or dpkg -i or ./install, depending on the packaging system on the server. I was pretty surprised on how well thought out everything was.

After I got everything going, i tried the first backup. I left encryption off, and figured I would try the best (compression wise) compression method, which was [tag]LZ3[/tag]. The backup gets started, and I looked at the fun little speedometer the X interface displays during an interactive backup. You can see a bunch of differant metrics, like MB/h, MB/min, MB/s, KB/s for both the network and the backup speed. This is when things started to go downhill. The max backup speed I was getting was 5 gigs an hour. Then I thought maybe the compression was too much for a v120. The load on the machine was a little over 1, but still, something didn't seem right. I tried the backup again with no compression this time, and left work for the weekend (this was on Friday). Some time Saturday I log in to see how things are going. and in 33 hours it has backed up a whopping 144 gigs. This was never going to finish. I tried a bunch of differant things, then on Monday, we tried doing an scp of a large file from the v120 to various other machines. I was getting the same crappy throughput. The port on the switch was set to auto negotiated, so I tried forcing it to 100/full duplex, but no difference. It must be a misconfiguration of some kind either on the switch or with the interface on the server, but it was happening on a couple of the other servers on that same bank of switches, so I figured I would just try a more localized test install on my [tag]Sun Ultra 20[/tag], which is running [tag]OpenSuse[/tag] 10.0/64bit. Arkeia had an rpm for Suse enterprise 64 bit, and that installed without a problem.

I really didn't want to shove the autoloader under my desk, and I found a SCSI cable that was long enough to let me put the autoloader on the corner of my cube against a wall. The only problem was that the hole in the desk for cables to pass through can't fit the whole SCSI cable end. Which left me with 2 options. Leave it under the desk, or figure out a way to get the cable up behind the desk. Which is where the [tag]hammer[/tag] and a bunch of large screw drivers came in. My co-worker pried from the top, and I was prying with another screwdriver from the bottom while trying to push the cable through the little opening. I was thinking how funny it would be if we ripped the desk out of the cube wall by accident and the whole thing crashed on top of me (including my co-worker) but the cable got through. Except for that damn metal cylinder at the end of the cable. This was going to take some finesse. After trying everything. I decided to use a philips head as a wedge, and just smacked it as hard as I could until the stupid metal/plastic/rubber thing went up through the crack….with the screwdriver inside. The cable looked fine, but apparently it wasn't.

This morning, after trying everything I could think of to get my system to recognize the new scsi device, I figured I would try another cable, which all I could find was a little 3 foot long cable. So under the desk the autoloader went. It is actually just balancing on top of a little [tag]terastation[/tag] NAS device. If I touch it with my foot by accident, I am sure it will flip on its side, but that is part of the fun.

So, I plug in the autoloader, reload the scsi card module, and low and behold, there it is in all its glory. So I set Arkeia up real quick and get a backup going. No compression or encryption which is the same as the last backup I did on the Solaris install. The backup speed now is averaging 30-40 gigs an hour.

I have no idea what was up with the v120, but if you saw our network closet, our network…actually, any of our stuff, you would run in horror. So now I can add that to my never decreasing list of tasks.

"figure out why throughput on half the equipment sucks"

The funny part I guess is that my Ultra 20 is my main workstation. I wrote this post on it, in [tag]KDE[/tag], with a bunch of other stuff running all during the backup.

March 2, 2006

Sun is out to get me, and God told them to do it

Filed under: Administration, Computers — emjaydee @ 9:27 am

After mucking around with it for 3 days off and on, I come into work 2 hours early today to get a head start on getting the Sun Java Enterprise Server (with LDAP/Messaging support) running and populated so that my work can finally move off of NIS/40 other authentication systems.

I have it to the point where all that is left is to run the various post-deployment configuration scripts and steps, which I find odd in the first place. Why are their configuration steps that you have to do after you finish the configuration? what is the point of having a configuration wizard with a product if after you complete using it, the wizard then says “yeah, uh, you still have things to do….I dont know what, but there is stuff, and it is in document 819-2328.”

The fun part is that document 819-2328 is on suns docs.sun.com website. Which gives the good ‘ol

Server Error

This server has encountered an internal error which prevents it from fulfilling your request. The most likely cause is a misconfiguration. Please ask the administrator to look for messages in the server’s error log.

message. That doesn’t look like post deployment instructions to me. You know, I always thought that generic 500 error was stupid. So I am supposed to just go and contact “the administrator” at Sun? I am sure Sun only has one administrator..just one. Not only that, but I am sure he is just sitting at his desk…twiddling his fingers just waiting for the phone to ring for me to say “hey, uhh…your website is down…your probably didn’t get 500 calls, pages and emails about it, but yeah…I just wanted you to know. Could you get it back up soon?”
Someone out there really does not like me. It must be because I didn’t pay much attention to ash wednesday. Now god is smiting me.

I think that this is what happened to the server:

melted computer

On a related note, aside from the massiveness of the entire Java Enterprise Server system, it actually is fairly cool. The web mail client that comes with the messaging server is not the best thing in the world, but it is fairly decent, and adding info to the LDAP directory with their java interface is beyond easy. I don’t know why it took around 4 years for us to finally set one up. I guess it is probably because of the 300 other projects that are always going on.

[tags]Sun,JES,LDAP,Messaging Server,Java Enterprise Server,Solaris,web mail,500 errors[/tags]

November 8, 2005

whois and traceroute suck. WhoB, and LFT are where the party is

Filed under: Administration — emjaydee @ 11:54 am

Last night I was trying to track down why all these odd HTTP requests were going to a server I am working on. It looked like the server got listed on some web proxy list or something, because basically every request that came in was in the form of

GET http://randomsitename.com

What was even more weird was that every once of those crazy requests was for either a random little search engine, or a bunch of popular 3rd party ad servers.

Either way, the end result was that I had about 280 IP addresses that all these requests were from, and I was trying to find some kind of link to why all these IP’s were sending requests to this one random server that hasn’t even been put into production yet.

looking at whois output gets real boring after a while, plus most whois clients don’t handle bulk processing very well, and I wasn’t really interested in sitting around and either manually running whois queries on 280 IP’s or staring at the output of all those whois records going by.

Then I found this little tool called WhoB. WhoB is a really handy little command line whois client that is designed to product all its output on 1 pipe delimited line, which makes it really easy to use with grep or awk. Also, WhoB uses a variety of sources to get its data. It primarily looks up information derived from the global internet routing table, as opposed to the standard whois client, which sucks unless you specify which whois database to use (and you need to know its address), which makes things really inconvenient if the addresses you are researching are scattered internationally.

You can look WhoB manual on how to use it, by just typing this line:

for ii in `cat fulllist`; do whob -o $ii;sleep 10; done|tee ./whoisoutput

I was able to save all the output of the file, watch the results scroll by in the meantime, and have some nice easily grepable output, which after it has finished, told me that all the requests were from 2 very large networks in China. Also, in case you were wondering, I added the “sleep 10” line because the ARIN database apparently cut me off because I was querying it at least once a second, and apparently they don’t like that.

Here is a sample of the output:

222.79.29.118 | origin-as 4134 (222.76.0.0/14) | CHINANET fujian province network

The -o option tells WhoB to display the organization name on file at whatever registrar for who owns that IP.

Also, WhoB comes in the same package as another really useful tool that I found last night as well called LFT. LFT is …

short for Layer Four Traceroute, is a sort of ‘traceroute’ that often works much faster (than the commonly-used Van Jacobson method) and goes through many configurations of packet-filter based firewalls. More importantly, LFT implements numerous other features including AS number lookups through several reliable sources, loose source routing, netblock name lookups, et al. What makes LFT unique? Rather than launching UDP probes in an attempt to elicit ICMP “TTL exceeded” from hosts in the path, LFT accomplishes substantively the same effect using TCP SYN or FIN probes. Then, LFT listens for “TTL exceeded” messages, TCP RST (reset), and various other interesting heuristics from firewalls or other gateways in the path. LFT also distinguishes between TCP-based protocols (source and destination), which make its statistics slightly more realistic, and gives a savvy user the ability to trace protocol routes, not just layer-3 (IP) hops.

LFT it a lot more useful than the normal traceroute command, I won’t say it actually ran any faster though.

Also, LFT/WhoB is available as a package in debian. If you’re using Ubuntu, you need to tell the package manager to use the “universe” package database, otherwise you will have to go to the LFT/WhoB website and download the debian package from there.

May 24, 2005

Sad day

Filed under: pet — emjaydee @ 3:36 pm
Maxwell Devlin

Last night I got home from work and max was almost acting like his normal cheery self, so I decided to bring him for a nice walk, especially since it was looking like it might be his last. We spent a good 30-40 minutes walking around the development my apartment is at, going through some little paths in the woods and just letting him have a good time. It was sad to see him not be able to smell things, but I think he still had fun. As soon as we got home, he pretty much made himself as comfortable as he could and tried taking a bit of a nap. I think he got pretty tired from all the walking.

Then later on that night, maybe around 11:30, he actually started to clear his nose, but you can tell it was really stuffed with something, I think maybe a blood clot, because after he tried that, things got pretty bad. I think his nose started to bleed down the back of his throat, and he kept kind of gagging and chokeing trying to swallow and breath probably at the same time. It was horrible to watch, and after maybe 20 minutes, we decided to head to my parents house to make the decision.

He seemed to stop the coughing/choking pretty much by the time we got to my parents, but his nose was still bleeding a good amount off and on, and he was still only breathing through his nose, and it just seemed like he couldn’t be comfortable like that. Eventually we decided that the best thing to do for everyone was to bring him to the animal hospital, see if they could clear up his nose, and if was only a temporary fix, or that they couldn’t do anything at all, we would have to put him to sleep.

We went to the animal hospital in Woburn, and I had to tell his complete medical history to at least 3 differant people, and the vet basically agreed with what Saugus Animal Hospital, and Angell Memorial had told us, which was that the only options left to even see what the problem was, was if he got a CT scan, possible an MRI, and possibly the Rhinoscopy. All of which would make him more uncomfortable, and the result of what they found probably wouldn’t be fixable. At best they could have made him a bit more comfortable for however long he made it.

So, as much as me not wanting it to be the one, I pretty much made the call to put him to sleep, and my father, brother, Aimee and I watched him fall asleep his one last time. It killed me to watch..my brother as well, and I still can’t help but feel like I failed at taking care of him. I can only hope wherever he is now, he is happy, breathing easily, and loving not having to take pills every day and get a shot every month. I hope he really did enjoy the almost 12 years I had with him as much as I did, and I hope he thinks I took better care of him, and was there for him more often than I think I did.

Max was a big part of my life, he was a great friend, and he was everything you could ever ask for in a “pet”. He was just as much a person to me as anyone else, and he will be sorely missed. I am just happy he left us with all of us with him, and although if I really tried, he probably could have lived a bit longer, at least it ended for him before he really started to be in pain.

Everything I see around me in my house or my car reminds me of him, and maybe one day I can replace all this guilt and sadness I feel with memories of all the love and joy we gave him, and all the fun times we had.

Maxwell Devlin

May 23, 2005

Saying goodbye

Filed under: pet — emjaydee @ 3:41 pm

I think this week might finally be the time I have been dreading and hoping it would somehow never need to happen for years now. I think I am going to have to make the decision to put my dog to sleep. This is definately the hardest and saddest thing I have yet to go through in my life, but it really seems that this will be the best thing for him.

The hard part isn’t as much watching him go, but having to actually make the decision that it is time. When my grandfather died a couple years back, it was really sad and I felt real guilty. But the thing is, we knew he was on his way out, just like with maxwell (my dog), but with my grandfather, he died on a hospital bed, pretty much after everything possible could have been done for him.

In maxwells case, I know that isn’t completly true. Everyone can tell me I did as much as I could for him, and that I did more, and spent more helping him than almost anyone else would, but the fact still remains that in the end I feel as though it comes down to a matter of money. How exactly am I supposed to decide now is finally “enough”? is it because nothing else can possibly be done? not exactly. Is it because he is suffering too much? I don’t really know. Is it because doing anything more will cost too much money? I can’t help but feel that this is the real reason. I know more can be done for him, and I feel like that could extend his life a bit more, but is it worth the money and suffering he will have to go through?

Maxwell has always had a lot stacked up against him. Sure, my family and I gave him a good loving home, but over the last maybe 4 or so years, it seemed like every couple months something terrible happened to him.

There was the time he was breathing wierd, then started coughing up blood..large amounts of it too. We brought him to Danvers animal hospital, and apparantly he had caught pneumonia. They had him oxygen and an IV for a day, put he pulled through it and was as good as new.

Then he started having joint problems, mostly in his hips. Sometimes, especially after he got up after laying down for a while, he would limp around a bit until his joints loosened up. It seemed to kind of come and go depending on the weather, but somehow, it seemed to kind of fade away and he rarely had that problem again.

Then he grew a tumor on his side, right behind his right front leg. We got it tested, and it turned out to be non-cancerous, but it kept growing. His vet said we should leave it alone until it starts getting in the way of his walking. Then sure enough, maybe a year later, it seemed like it was getting too big, and we decided to have it removed. It was supposed to be a relatively simple day surgery thing. The vet was going to put him under anethesia, take out the tumor, and we’re done, but…it didn’t end up quite like that. Apparantly the tumor had a bunch of veins and such going through it, and when they removed it he started bleeding a ton. They had to give him a blood transfusion, and he seemed like he might be okay. We went to pick him up at the end of the day and he was the saddest looking thing. He had that big funnel thing over his head so he wouldn’t bite at the stitches, had a bandage over one of his paws where the IV was attached, and was a little more than half completly shaved. The worst part was that coming out of the top and bottom of where the tumor was..was a “drain” because apparantly when you get a tumor removed, your body gets confused as to why this big thing is gone, so it fills up the space where the tumor was with fluid. The drain is supposed to make sure this doesn’t happen. So I covered the floor of my bedroom with a plastic sheet, and got a bunch of beach towels and hoped for the best. The poor dog could barely even lay down with that stupid funnel on his head. But that wasn’t the bad part.

After we brought him home from the surgery he just wasn’t acting right. At first we thought it was just some after effects from the anesthesia, but a day later, he was barely walking and wasn’t eating or drinking…or anything for that matter. A night later, when he was barely moving, and I honestly thought it was the end for him, my mother, father, brother and I piled into my fathers truck and headed for Angell Animal Hospital in Boston. Maxwell couldn’t really even stand, so I made a little stretcher for him out of a piece of plywood and his bed. He was making all kinds of unhappy sounds, and the drive to the hospital was the longest one ever. When we got there, I was amazed with how that place Operates. We pulled up at the front and someone actually came out with a real stretcher for him. They wheeled him inside, and the ER Vet looked at him, and brought him into the intensive care ward immediately.

What apparantly happened was that Maxwell had Addisons Disease, and the surgery to remove the tumor apparantly made it got nuts since his body was in such rough shape especially after the blood transfusion. He was in the hospital for 4 days. I visited him every day, twice a day, for the whole hour of visiting time they gave you. Basically he had to stay there until he started to eat on his own again. So I would bring him in turkey and ham and things like that, hoping he would eat it. Every time I showed up, and even more so every time I left him there, he would cry, and all I can picture is that sad face he had on.

But sure enough he pulled through. Aside from his shaved side, and the gross drain sticking out of him, he was almost as good as new in about a week. Then this started his new life.

While at Angell, they also discovered he had a heart murmer, along with the beginning signs of glaucoma. So, between addisons disease, the heart murmer, and glaucoma, for the rest of his life, every day we had to give him a prednisone pill for the addisons disease, an enacard pill for the heart disease, and eye drops…every day. Plus, every 25 days or so he had to go to the vet to get a percoten-v shot.

I think he has been on this plan now for maybe almost 2 years. It was real rough at first, but after a little while it was almost like a normal thing for him, and he seemed happy.

Then this brings us to the present. About a month or so back, he started having a bit of a bloody nose every day, and to make matters worse, he would sneeze, and more blood would come out. At first it wasn’t too bad, but as it came closer to today, he would have these times where the bleeding would be real bad. He would sneeze, and a ton of blood would come out. It would make the house look like a crime scene. The first time this happened, we brought him to Saugus Animal Hospital, (his vet) and they held him there all day, and we decided, as risky as it was with his collection of medical conditions, to put him under anethesia, take a bunch of x-rays, and get a better look at his nose. The vet cleaned out his sinuses, and packed them with some kind of medication, and then he was back to having the mild bloody nose here and there.

He also got put on 2 new medications. The vet didn’t know what it was, so maxwell had to take an antibiotic and an antifungal medication every day now too. We hoped it was just an infection or something like that, and things would improve, but they didn’t and after 2 more really bad nose bleeds, Aimee and I brought him back to Angell memorial to see a specialist. I hoped she would give me an easy solution to make Max all better. She looked at all the work and X-rays Saugus Animal Hospital had done, and said that she didn’t think medication would do anything, and that the next step would be to put him under anesthesia again for a CT scan and a Rhinoscopy The 2 procedures, plus the anethesia would run about $1500, and all this would do is possibly tell is what is actually wrong with his nose. According to the vet, most likely it is 1 of 3 things. In the best case, it is some foreign body, in which case they just take it out. Next in line to that is if it is some fungal growth type thing. In this case he has to come in for one, and worse yet possibly 2 surgeries. During which they put him under anethesia again, drill a hole through his nose (dog noses apparantly are much harder to work on than human ones) and then they insert a tube in there, and flush all of his sinuses and nose out with some kind of topical antifungal liquid, then that should fix it. But in the worst case, it is some form of a cancerous tumor, which would mean a series of chemotherapy visits.

All of which may not be successful partly because of his other conditions, especially the heart disease, which greatly enhances the risk of death when he he is put under anesthesia. The vet also said that more likely than not, it is either some fungus, or cancer, so in the best case we are talking about 2 times under anesthesia, but it is more likely to be 3 or more, plus, if it is the fungus, how happy is he going to be with a hole drilled into his nose? and if it is cancer, how well is the chemotherapy going to go? it may not even be successful.

The, just to add more to the story, a beagles average life expectancy is about 13 years, and maxwell will be hitting 12 years old I believe in August. Between all his others problems, its real possible that even if I did everything I could, it would only delay the inevitable by a year or so.

And obviously all of these options arn’t cheap, so we decided to leave it alone, deal with the bleeding as it comes, and as long as he stays happy, then everything is fine.

But the last week, especially the last few days, breathing through his nose has been tough. It sounds like he has a stuffy nose, sometimes he will sneeze up blood, sometimes he will sort of be okay, and last night I think has been the worst, because it seems like he can’t use it nose at all. He is breathing completly out of his mouth, and it makes it real difficult for him to sleep because every time he breathes, he opens his mouth a little bit. At some points it looks like he is trying to sleep with is head up, and sometimes when I look at him, I see that same look I got from him when he was in Angell Memorial for that week. He just seems so sluggish and lazy, and it kills me that he can’t use his nose. Being a beagle, he likes to sniff everything…everywhere, and now he can’t. When I bring him outside, he just kind of mopes around, and he puts his nose to the ground every once in a while, but I don’t think he can actually even sniff.

but the biggest problem I am having is dealing with the fact that I have to decide whether to let him live or die. Whether to end it now, or hope he gets better, or maybe either way, just let him die on his own. I don’t know if he is actually suffering, I don’t even know if it is as bad as I think it is. All I do know is that above everything maxwell is, and was always my best friend.

When I came home from work, he would know it was me and get all excited.

At night, he wouldn’t really go to bed until I did, and then he would sleep in his little bed right next to mine.

If I got home late, he would still be waiting up for me. Even if I came home drunk at like 4 in the morning, he would still be waiting for me.

I got him as a puppy only a couple weeks old when I was in the 8th grade. I really wanted a dog, but the rest of my family really didn’t. I begged for a good 2 years, trying differant types of dogs, making deals…anything I could think of. Then finally, my parents started to cave, and they said I could get a beagle. They actually wrote up a contract that I had to sign saying I would take care of him, walk him, feed him…all that stuff. And ever since then I have loved having him, but now its at the point where I am afraid to bring him anywhere. I feel like walking him might be too much.

Over everything else, I feel this huge amount of guilt though. I suppose it is like this when anyone dies, but I can’t help but feel like I failed. Like I could have done more. I know I didn’t walk him nearly as much as I should have, and he always loved going for walks. He kind of made the rules when we went out, he would spend the whole time sniffing everything he came accross, so it was kind of hard to actually walk anywhere. There was plenty of times, especially during the summer where we would go for our nice little walks at night, and he loved going out every time. Sometimes when I worked on my truck he would come out and sit and watch, but he would get unhappy if he was away from me. I never really brought him for too many car rides, because he would shake and it seemed like he hated being in the car, and then, after all the problems started to happen, I just felt like he was too fragile and I was afraid to even take him for walks at times. Really I don’t know if I could have done more, or if there is anything else I can do now, but I just wish I didn’t feel so guilty about how I took care of him, and if I gave him as good of a life as he could have had with some other family. It would be nice if making this decision wasn’t so hard either. I don’t like having the end of someones like completely in my hands, and I hate feeling like there is all this uncertainty. Like maybe in a couple days he will be fine. Maybe if He went in for the CT scan and all that stuff, and had the surgery that he would last 5 more years, or maybe he would last less. Maybe he would die on the operating table, but at least in that instance, I tried all I could. Right now I feel like I just weighed the pros and cons of the options available and where I am at now is because of the choice I made, and I hate even more the fact that money is obviously a factor in the whole decision. People I know can say a million times that I did all I could, and I spent more than anyone else would, but it doesn’t really matter. Since the surgery for the tumor on his side, I (and my parents in some instances) probably spend $10,000-$15,000 on him. I think it was worth every penny, and I can’t help but feel like giving up now is just that. Giving up. I look at maxwell as a member of my family. I don’t really look at him as a dog. He has been there for me so many times over the past 11 years, I feel like I owe him the same. But if he was a person, there wouldn’t even be a decision to make. He would have been on that operating table probably a month ago. Health insurance or not.

Dealing with that simple fact, and the immense amount of guilt I feel about how I ran his life is a lot to bear, and I just don’t know how I can handle bringing him to the vet to end his life.

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