Thursday, December 13, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Rest in peace, Suzy Crooked Tail. Today we had to make that choice. We think she had a stroke or something yesterday. When I came home last night, she seemed to have gone blind. I fed her by touching one spoonful of food at a time to her nose. When I let her outside she got lost in the yard. She wandered into a pile of my shoes and could not find her way out. (Yes, it’s funny that I have a pile of shoes a small dog can get lost in, but sad too.) Today Denny found her in the corner when he got home. She was probably trying to find the dog door or a food dish or her bed. I know that is no way for her to go on living, but that doesn’t make me miss her less. I am thankful we did not go through some of the messier aspects of kidney failure that we could have seen. This was maybe a blessing. She went peacefully and she was very well loved. Goodbye, sweet little dog-muffin.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Reprieve

Suzy has had a nice little bounce-back this week. I took her to the vet for fluids on Tuesday. We are keeping her hydrated at home and she has some more energy. Thursday before I got home, I received a text from Denny saying that she had eaten a ton of food and was running around the house with her pack! She does sleep more and move slower, but she doesn’t seem to be in pain and I am really thankful to have a little extra time with her. Everyone has been so kind. I attended a class this week in Tulsa and was unable to check on her at lunch like I normally would, so my trainer encouraged me to bring her so I could worry less, which I did on Wednesday. (She is seen here helping me learn.) I have been calling the vet lately with so many questions about Suzy that one morning when I meant to call someone else I called them instead out of habit! Terry and I said good morning and had a good laugh about it.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Letter to my Dog

Dear Suzy,
When I took you to get your teeth cleaned, I had joked that it was a Christmas present for the whole family to not have to smell your stinky dog breath any more. Then the vet called to tell me that your pre-surgery blood tests indicated that your kidneys were failing and that we had probably just weeks before we would lose you. Instead of cleaning your teeth, they put you on IV fluids for the day.
When I picked you up that afternoon, all of the fluids made you plump and you were sassy as ever. The vet said she had to wrap your entire front leg to keep you from chewing out the IV repeatedly. But the kidney thing all made sense. I thought you had stopped eating and lost weight because your teeth hurt but it was because your system was full of toxins. But you didn’t know you were sick. You bounced around in the yard and barked because maybe a squirrel farted three blocks away. You wolfed down the special canned dog food I gave you that slows down the destruction of dying kidney tissue and then you had a satisfying nap on your favorite blanket.
That was five days ago. Since then I have had to add meat-flavored baby food to entice you into eating because the canned food with a bit of water is the only fluid intake you will accept. Your ribs are starting to show again. Once you stop getting fluids, you will fade quickly. I know I need to do the merciful thing for you and let you go before you suffer. And I’m not ready. The vet said that when the end begins, you will vomit and have diarrhea. Last night you threw up on my bed and I found out you had diarrhea in the house twice. But I’m still not ready to say goodbye. You have been my favorite dog for eleven years and I am just not ready to let go. But I have to.
I will miss the way you scratch at my hand to pet you—even when I am already petting you. I will miss the way you turn in circles and bark because you just know there is a reason to bark even if you don’t know what the reason is. I will miss the way you growl or bark and then melt and wag your tail when you realize it’s me coming through the gate. I will miss the way you have defended the front door against strangers with all six pounds of your mighty frame, shaking people’s pants legs and socks into submission, taking the greatest care to never actually bite anyone. I will miss the way the other dogs always do as you say even though you are less than half their size. I will miss the way you always find the highest perch in a room that you can and then “survey”from that vantage point. I will miss your displays of joy. I will miss your unquestioning loyalty and trust in me. And I will miss your crooked little smile and your crooked little tail. I am not ready to say goodbye, but I think probably you are.