April 2, 2009

heavy heart

It has taken me a few days to process the events from this week. What a whirlwind of commotion and sadness it has been. I've come to my little blog many times now with the intent of writing but haven't been able to muster up anything of worth. I fight back the urges to blurt out "my dog died and it's my fault!!" Although, I know blaming myself won't do a bit of good. But, it is true. My beloved dog is dead.

The first day of El Fuego's Spring Break started out at a fast pace. The big kids have staggered schedules so while one is on vacation, the other still has to go to school and speech. It had been raining off an on and the morning was pretty much a dud. After we all had landed at home, the afternoon was shaping up to be restless and messy. The kids were filled to the brim with absent minded energy and I was tired and crabby.

Feeling annoyed and failing at my motherhood duties, I decided to make a quick recipe for home-made playdough with the kids. Flour, salt, water and willing hands to knead the dough was all that was required. The dogs were outside. The kids were set up at the table making and playing with little balls of playdough. And, I sat on the couch watching Oprah with my feet up. Peace filled the air for a moment.

Then it started to rain and not wanting to face the task of drying stinky dogs off and mopping up dirty, wet paw prints from my kitchen floor....I let the dogs inside. The kids continued to play and I started back to my couch when it happened. Like a flash, a ball of home-made, salty playdough the size of a child's fist hit the floor. And within seconds Angus inhaled it. No time to stop him or retrieve it from his mouth. Although, annoyed by the situation, I didn't think that the concoction for basically a biscuit recipe would hurt him. So I cleaned up my youngest now missing her ball of playdough while the big kids continued to play.

Literally, no more then ten minutes later, Angus vomited. And then vomited again over and over and over again. I put him outside only to watch him continue throwing up with rapid consistency coupled with diarrhea. I called our vet office who told me to call the emergency hospital. After contact with the hospital, I was loading up three kids and a very sick, puking, poopy puppy into my minivan. The journey was short however it felt like it took forever.

Within the hour of his ingestion of playdough and arriving at the hospital, he had become supremely sick. The veterinarians treated him for sodium toxicity. His sodium levels were climbing. Angus was left to spend the night and I was sent home. Through out the night he became aggressive and treatment for the toxicity caused his brain to swell. And, as every snowball effect has it, the treatment for brain swelling was causing neurological symptoms and kidney failure. He was unresponsive and unable to move his body. When the veterinarian delivered the news to me at four thirty the next morning, I knew I had to see him for myself. I had to soak the situation in and digest my next move. Do I allow more treatment for my poor puppy or do I stop his suffering?

I managed to make myself sleep for a couple hours and awoke to a rainy, dark and soggy morning. I threw all my juggling balls into the air and made my way to the hospital with my littlest child in tow. The technician led me to the back room and directed me around the corner. And, that's when I saw him....

My 27 pound Scottish Terrier was laying on his side, facing the back of the crate and looking oh so very, very small and tired. It was hard to picture his personality full of spunk and playfulness and hilarity with left over remains of sick in his beard and on his body. I spoke to him and cried. His eyes looked back at me in recognition but he couldn't move. It was at that very moment I knew what I needed to do. The room began to spin, my heart broke and unmeasurable amounts of guilt set in.

The staff were all very sweet and kind. One of the female staff (who had four children of her own) took Petite Artiste out to the front to keep her company. I was led to a room where I sat in silence and waited for Angus to be brought to me.

When he arrived, I wept and petted; and I combed his skirt of fur with my fingers as I had so many times before....he made no movement with his body. He attempted to get up twice, but couldn't. He could only twitch his ears and follow me with his eyes. I apologized.

And then.....he was gone.

I was once again left alone with his body. I had no idea what to do with myself. I paced around the table. I stroked his head. I tried to gain composure. I felt for his heartbeat. I texted my husband. And, I cried. I knew as soon as I left that tiny room, life would have to continue on at a pace I couldn't control. He was, after all, just a dog I kept telling myself. Standing there letting myself wallow wasn't going to change the outcome. But, oh how I wished I could take that stupid playdough out of the equation. Just delete the whole thing. I wished I could rewind the last 24 hours and start over again.

Once I did finally leave that room, however, I was greeted by the sun shining. The rain stopped, the clouds parted and weather was peaceful. Angus was better now. No more pain. No more suffering. No more sick.

Life has a funny way of slapping you in the face when you least expect it. And, boy I was not expecting that slap. At least not so soon anyway. I just assumed Angus would be my dog for a good long time. That, he was it!! He was the dog that would curl up on the couch and watch TV with me after the kids went to bed. He was the dog that would lay by my feet when I was washing dishes, making dinner or sitting at the computer. He would be the dog I tripped over. He would be the dog that was so loyal and brave, but would bury his big nose into my chest when he got his annual vaccines. He would be the dog that hung out with me when the kids went off to college. He would be "it" forever.

He is missed....

No comments: