November 6, 2012


6 years ago
She really became Olivia's dog

Last night, our dog died. I tried to remember everything I told other people when their pets died to make them feel better: At least they knew you loved them. You were lucky you had many good years with your pet. Animals die so new ones can have homes. Blah Blah Blah. It makes perfect sense but when it's your own, especially the first night, it adds little comfort.

Sunday morning she just suddenly changed. She wouldn't eat a piece of bacon. She won second place out of 20 in a dog eating contest  (the only reason the other dog won was he was a mastiff) so we knew something was wrong because she loves to eat and then she threw up. And we waited. Those are the words which can change your life forever and put you in regret like nothing else can. Not knowing whether to take your child or pet to the hospital because it may pass on its own is a difficult decision. I guess it should always be the hospital.

Daisy threw up three times that day. We took her for two walks and although she walked slowly, she wanted to go. We thought it was a good sign. Her head hung low though and she didn't look like she felt well.  We almost took her to the emergency vet on Sunday night. We even called. But she didn't look worse. Was she getting better? We thought about the $1,000 dollar bill. We waited.

That night, she threw up again. And in the morning she threw up another time. We called the vet at noon and we could bring her in immediately. It was several hundred dollars and they did an X-ray and fluids. Something showed on the X-ray in her stomach. They think it was a tumor or diapers. (She had gotten into the dirty diapers before. Since then we changed the container.) An operation, $1500, just an estimate. The doctor was going to keep her to see if she got better with fluids while we figured out about the operation and blood panel. We waited.

We decided at 4 P.M. to take her to South Bend, three hours away to our regular vet to do the operation the next day. With seven pets before and a stray, all  over the age of 10 except one, the vet in South Bend gives us a discount. We see him regularly for our pets, for shots, for thyroid pills, for bladder pills, for check-ups. Our bill is large at the end of the year but we take pretty good care of them. Currently, our animal population was 7 plus one stray and is now down to 4 and one stray. (The stray is now ours because nobody will take him. Good homes are hard to find especially if a cat has FIV.)

We picked Daisy up at the vet in our town in Illinois and we were going to take off to South Bend, Indiana to our vet. We decided to come home first because if she died in the operation to open her stomach (we thought it was diapers) she would at least see her home one more time. We placed  her on the ottoman (she was all doped up on pain medications) and fifteen minutes later she had a seizure and died.

At least she didn't die in the car. At least she didn't die alone. At least she was home when she died. I keep telling myself this over and over to try to make the pain go away, to look at the fortunate side. It isn't easy and it barely works. We waited too long. Those words will haunt us.  For the life of me, I don't know what we were thinking because it makes perfect sense to me we should have brought her in earlier. It was the anticipated huge doctor bill, it was the long drive and mostly, it was wanting to shut it out and have everything be okay for once. Every year a pet has died.

Newton, our floppy-eared rabbit with a spirit of a lion,  died last year. We spent the whole night at the vet's making the decision. Will he get better? We were there when he received the injection.

Ghost, our cat, died the year before that. A  slow death of loosing weight, ten doctor visits, countless tests and never finding out why.

Sebastien, our son, died that year too. His bladder was blocked as a fetus, born at 8 months, died four hours later. Again, doctors couldn't tell us what caused it.

This year, Daisy. We had a necropsy done this morning and there was nothing in the stomach. No diapers, no tumor. Was it poison or a toxin? Did she eat something bad? Was it cancer? Was it old age because she was 11? Again, no answers.

We have four elderly pets left  (Emmy 12, Chewie and TIgger, 16, Mitaine, 12) and a 5 year-old stray cat we took in with FIV (Feline Aids) who is healthy but can go down easily. So who is it going to be next year? 5 our left. (I know this sounds negative but it gets to you. The first time, you get through it. The fourth time, it wears you down.) We have been given many deaths and always left with no answers as to what really happened to cause them.

Last night, we just couldn't stop crying. We should have had a better compartment for the dirty diapers. We should have brought her to the vet sooner. We ultimately felt like we had killed her. Today, we have some consilation she didn't die from diapers. But we are left with not knowing what it was and if we had brought her in sooner, could something have been done? It is hard to live with regret for things you do in your life you so desperately wish you could have changed.

So in honor of Daisy, kiss your pets or pat them on the head tonight, let them know you love them. You never know when the last day will come. I should have walked her more. I should have itched her back like she loved but I always had something to do. I should have greeted her every time I walked in the door as dogs wait for you to come back home. Yes, I gave her a pretty good life compared to the average dog. But I could have done more. We always think there is a tomorrow for things. We wait. And those words, whether it's with people or pets, will end up haunting every single one of us at some point in our life. Don't wait for tomorrows. Waiting usually ends with regret.

Update: We are taking her to get a full autopsy. You can get one at Purdue University for around $90 dollars. Some may think why, when it's not going to change anything. But not knowing why stays with you forever. Some can live with it, some cannot.

Goodbye Daisy


No comments: