It has been a very stressful last several months for me. Care taking for others has been taking its toll on me and now I get some very sad news.
When I was a child I had a stuffed animal. I held onto it so much that eventually, it began to fall apart. There was only so much my grandmother could do to patch it back together. There was many a leg-transplant and arm transplant. And the patches she made couldn’t sustain the continuous amount of holes that kept cropping up. One day I retired it, I was too old and it was also too old. It was a sad day nonetheless.
Years ago, when my grandmother became sick with cancer it was a similar story. I tried my best, this time the roles reversed. It was me trying to keep her intact but like before, there is only so much a person can do and only so much Ensure you could force a chemo patient to drink. She was doing okay, until the treatments or cancer caused her to have a very bad stroke. She lay in the hospital bed no longer able to articulate simple words or phrases. Her body appeared thin and gnarled. There was no fixing her or bringing her back to her original state. A few weeks later, she died.
Last year my dog had a huge laceration on his belly. No matter what I did, the wound would not heal. I brought him to the veterinarian crying. I was terrified that they would have to put him to sleep if the cut wouldn’t stop bleeding. Instead, they cauterized it, and he was fine.
A few months ago he became sick. I thought he was going to die and couldn’t keep it together. I love my dog who has been with me more than half my life. Throughout my life friends, boyfriends, and even family have come and gone, but my dog, has always been with me. You could argue that he didn’t really have a choice, but he did.
When I was twelve years-old, we took a long drive to a farm in upstate New York. I was finally going to get a dog. I’d always wanted a little girl dog. I was so excited that I even bought a ton of bows and ribbons for her hair. We pulled up to the farm, its front lawn stretched far out in front of the house. There was a small play pen out front with three little white puppies yipping and jumping on each other. We got out of the car, and the breeder asked me to help carry one of the puppies into the house for her. Of course I obliged. She pulled a puppy from the small pen and handed it to me.
I cradled it in my arm like a baby. As soon as that puppy looked up at me with those eyes, I knew I was done. Please, let it be a girl dog, I thought and looked down, nope.
I brought him into the house unsure of what to do.
The woman put him in a pen with the other two puppies, both girls. In my mind I deliberated….well, I really want a girl, so I can put all those bows in her hair and give her a pretty name…. I watched as the two girl puppies jumped on and bit at each other as they growled. The little boy just sat there. He looked left out yet clearly disinterested in joining the girls who also occasionally tried to provoke him.
I thought some more, and watched them. The more I watched, the less appealing the girl puppies became, though I really wanted a girl so I could put bows in her hair….In the end, I decided to pick the boy. And sometimes, he even let me put bows in his hair (hey, you know me, I’ve never been one for defined gender roles…). He didn’t really mind wearing the bows, but usually, my mother would yell at me for putting them in his hair and force me to take them out. I think eventually, she either threw them out or hid them from me.
I don’t think things would’ve been the same had I chosen another dog. I’m sure I would’ve loved them too, but there was something about this dog.
I think destiny brought us together. Love is proof that free will is a fallacy. We don’t get to choose who we fall in love with, whether it’s a person, place, or pet. Falling in love is proof of destiny: it’s as if our heart has made it’s choice before it was ever presented with one.
He got better after a day or so, but still wasn’t the same. Foolishly I didn’t take him to the vet on the suggestion of my mother. He became lethargic over the next few months and I thought it was because he was old, but finally when I took him to the vet they gave him a blood test and found that he had renal failure.
He seems to be doing a little better since I got him medication and I have also started administering doggie dialysis. The veterinary technician assured me it isn’t painful for him. Hopefully he will be able to live a few more years comfortably. I have followed all of the veterinarian’s directions and suggestions. Aside from that there is no patch in the world I could produce to help him and likely no patch big enough to cover the hole that his absence will leave in my heart.
It has been a few days of doggie dialysis now. He seems a little better. For weeks leading up to this I’d been making him chicken, chicken soup, and whatever else he wanted. Yesterday I made the mistake of introducing him to $10 a lb roast beef. Now it is the only thing he will eat. He refuses his once favorite dish, chicken soup, and holds out for the lunch meat. With all this ridiculously good food (much better than dog kibble, I’m sure), my poor dog probably thinks that renal failure is the best thing that ever happened to him!
I blame his rabies vaccination. Renal failure is not common for his breed and his blood work was fine- until he got his last vaccine that was- so beware. I had a bad feeling that day in the office- I wish I went with it and didn’t get him the shot. I don’t even get myself vaccinated (ahem, Gardisal). Google Gardisal and tell me if you would put that in your body but seriously, I am very sad and angry about the rabies shot.