Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Friend had to put her Dog Down Today

I have a friend who had a very sick dog, who wasn't eating much and had to be carried outside to go to the bathroom.  She made the decision to put her dog to sleep.  Now, I've known my friend for several years and we've become closer in the last couple and I know, by the way she talks about her dogs, that this was a decision she did not come to lightly.  Dogs can't tell you where they hurt or even if they hurt.  Dogs can't tell you if they feel sick or sad or if they feel nothing.  Rikki (my friend's dog) went to the vet yesterday because she was lethargic and dehydrated and just not herself.  My friend later found out that Rikki had a large tumor in her lung and blood in her urine which is not good.  During the night, Rikki woke up several times gasping for breath and had to be carried outside because she was unsteady while walking. 

Earlier today, Rikki ate and drank but my friend wondered if it she was getting better or if Rikki wanted to show Mommy that she was better even if she wasn't. 

I got a text from my friend that she was going to let Rikki rest this afternoon and I know how hard that was to do.  In an earlier post, I told of how Maddie bit me after I carried her out one evening and I knew she was in pain.  I knew then what I had to do just as my friend knew what she had to do with Rikki.  All of this reminded me of the day Maddie died and all of those feelings came flooding back.  I was instantly taken to that day and time.  I could see everyone who was there with me and could feel my heart become heavy again with the decision I had made.  But in looking back, I was able to see that I had done the right thing.  Maddie was suffering, just like Rikki, and it was up to me to ease her pain and help her pass.  She only wanted to please me and would have gladly stayed in that same spot for as long as I would let her.  She would have continued to let me carry her outside to the bathroom and back into the house.  She would have wagged her tail every time I came into the room or when I came home.  She would have tried, without success, to crawl toward me if I wasn't in the same room and barked and bayed when I moved her because she was in pain. 

Do we want our loved ones to stay because we are going to miss them?  In some cases I think we do.  My mother was taken to the hospital a couple of months before she died and since I lived so close, I was able to beat the ambulance there.  They were working on her and my mom had a DNR and a living will  but my dad hadn't arrived yet and I didn't want to make that decision.  Was that because I was scared?  Maybe.  Or was it because I was selfish and didn't want to let her go even though she was in pain and suffering?  I think that is the correct answer.  I couldn't handle the thought of my mom not being there even knowing how bad she felt and that she was tired of living like she was and was ready to go on.  Two months later, six years to the day before Maddie passed my mom died quietly and this time I let her go.  No heroics, no drugs and no fanfare.  Just peace. 

Compassion is one of the traits that sets man apart from the brute animal and, in my opinion, is our greatest of emotions but one that is so infrequently used when it comes to death.  Have the compassion to let your loved one, be they human or furry, pass to the next life leaving this one in peace.  Death is for the one dying not for the living therefore should be about the person or animal experiencing that death.  I believe you are on this earth for a certain period of time and to accomplish certain things and then you leave.  You keep coming back until you get "it" right, then you pass into Heaven or cross the Rainbow Bridge.  In the end, we all obtain our reward for the life that was spent be it a well spent life with service to mankind or the misspent life with service only to yourself.  The number of times you come back is in direct proportion to the good that you accomplish in the last lifetime.  Do good unto all, recommended more especially to the household of the faithful.  Live in peace and may the God of peace and love delight to dwell with and bless you.

Have compassion.  Use that compassion to guide your heart in times of trouble and have the strength to let go because, at times, you are only holding on for yourself.

To my friend:  Rikki, although I never met her, loved you very much.  All of our dogs love us without restraint and without bounds.  You had the strength to love her and the strength to let her go and please know that you did what was right for Rikki. You said, "greatest gift I could give her was peace" and you are so right.  We give our dogs many things when they take our hearts and you saved the greatest gift for last and that is the gift of peace.  Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Thoughts of the First Week

Well, more than a week has come and gone since we got Pickles and I just figured I'd get down some thoughts.  I wasn't sure about a deaf dog, at first, but now I know there is no other dog for me.  She's sweet and lovable and likes to be the center of attention and somehow that reminds me of someone but I just can't put my finger on who!  Pickles loves to play at the park and to chase her ball albeit for about two minutes and really likes the Bark Park.  Pickles has learned to sit when she comes in from outside and most of the time when we get ready to cross the street and has started to learn "down" and does pretty good with it.  Pickles loves her food and at first seemed like she was eating twice as much for her size.  I think that was because she wasn't sure if the next meal was going to be there or not but now has learned she eats twice a day and has snacks in between.  Pickles has toys that she takes to bed every night: her white rope toy, the squeaky toy that she ripped the squeaker out of and her Kong (or in lieu of that, the blue squeaky toy Ben and Marshall gave her).  She loves to play tug-o-war with just about anything you can tug whether it be a piece of rope, her rope toy or a stick.  Pickles is having a great time jumping on the couches and wedging herself in places where a dog won't fit sometimes.  She doesn't like going to bed if ANYONE is downstairs and barks a bit if she's not tired when it's MY bedtime and not hers.  She likes to get up at 0530 hours to eat breakfast and go to the bathroom.  I have a day shift dog and that's good, I guess, except for the weeks I'm on evening shift.  She doesn't like the squirt bottle sprayed at her when she bites someone so that biting thing has cut way down which is good because I was wondering how I was going to stop that.  She likes to eat plants, rocks and sticks.  Now, I'm not a country boy so I don't know which plants are dangerous and which ones aren't so I try not to let her eat any of them.  I know dogs eat grass when they're sick (as I've been around dogs all of my life) but this one isn't sick.  She just likes to try things so she tries EVERYTHING! 

Well, that's about it for the flight of ideas and Pickles' first week.  Stay tuned for more about Pickles.

The Dog Park

So, last night, before I went to pick up Donna at work, Pickles and I went to the dog park, AKA the Bark Park.  (For those of you that don't know, the Bark Park is behind Chimborazo Park, in the lower part of the park.  It's an excellent use of that area which has been closed for many years before the park was built.)  Pickles had a great time eating grass, trying to eat rocks and generally smelling every spot in the park.  We could only stay a few minutes because we had to pick up Donna but Pickles had a great time and went right to sleep as soon as we got home which is a shame because she, basically, took a nap before she went to bed for the night...which was not good.

Later that evening, Donna had some Italian Wedding Soup on the arm of the sofa.  Please notice I said "had" because Pickles saw something new, jumped up and knocked it all over Donna, the laptop and the sofa.  I don't know how many of you know what's in that soup but I do and it's none too easy to clean up.  And yeah, that was after her nap.  Then it was time for bed and you can only imagine how that went.  She got her peanut butter (along with the toy Ben and Marshall gave her) and when she was finished, she squeaked it until she got bored...which was about 20 minutes.  Thanks Ben and Marshall!

This morning, we got up and I took the kids to school but as we were leaving, the power went out.  Okay, I'm not home and how long would it be out?  On a clear Monday morning?  Well, about two hours!  I saw the Virginia Power guys and they didn't know what was wrong or where the problem was but in their defense, it was on within 20 minutes so not too bad.  After I got back home and some play time, we both took a quick nap (I'm on evening shift this week) then went to the Bark Park again.

This time, I took a ball for her to chase but that lasted for about two minutes until she found rocks to chew and grass to eat.  I realize she has to have another way to use those senses to compensate for the deafness but why not just look at things?  She sniffed about, ran around and then chased me and the ball for about an hour.  As we were leaving, a couple of dogs in the big dog area saw her and ran up to the fence and I'm glad she's deaf because she was looking the other way but when she saw them, she tried to jump into my pocket!  They were behind the fence and about 30 feet away but that didn't seem to matter.  I made her stop and look at the other dogs because she's never seen one bigger than her since she's lived with me (only Nola who is much smaller).  Pickles had her hair up on her back and growled a bit but then shot for the stairs and pulled me up them to the car.  We stopped by Captain Buzzy's, looking for Mary Ann, but she wasn't there (at least her car wasn't there) then went home. 

Pickles then took a well-deserved nap.  Being a puppy is tiring!