Yesterday, I made the hard decision to put my fur baby to sleep. I had no idea that there was a big time bomb in her belly waiting to explode. By the way she was acting, no one would have known. She was the happiest, sweetest, most gentle pup I have ever met, and I am heart broken.
A few days ago, Mia developed a UTI, and I had her started on a course of antibiotics. Even though her little bladder wasn’t working so well, and it was clear she wasn’t feeling well, she was still playful and snuggly-her normal self, with a giant smile and a whip-like tail that could clear the coffee table in one fail swoop.
Friday, we planned to go camping, only to find that Chicken Little was sick and looked like she may not make it through. Now, this isn’t the first time that Little had been at death’s door. We fed her some apple cider vinegar through a syringe and gave her snuggles. It was clear that she wasn’t going to be with us much longer. It turns out that was the case-she passed while we were away.
We left to go camping-after all that has been going on the past few months with my Dad dying, I needed a break, mentally and physically. Mia seemed a little tired, but that changed pretty quickly when we let her know it was bye-bye time. Over 7 hours later, we still weren’t at the camp ground-traffic had been hellish. Mia feasted on fries, her food and water. She was happy to be out of the car and into a hotel room.
Saturday, we started back out to get to the campground, stopping at Ruby Beach to play. She romped through the waves and played on the beach, wagging her tail and smiling. I had no idea that less than 24 hours later, I’d be making a horrible decision. We met up with friends, and headed back to the campground and we went to hike along the river. She walked the trails, leading the way and played in the water, and laid on the rocks, relaxing while we all hung out. Later that night, we knew something wasn’t quite right. She was lethargic and wouldn’t eat, and just wanted to sleep. We put her in our tent and let her rest. She came back out a little later to sit with us and rest, but it was clear she wasn’t well. We thought that she had been reacting the antibiotics and still had her infection from eating everything in site, but I still worried. That night, we pulled her into the camp bed with us and snuggled her. This was our favorite part about camping with her. It was the rare time that we let her sleep with us. She was restless most of the night, and we kept waking to check on her.
That morning, I woke up early, and it was clear we needed to do something. She couldn’t walk, and she seemed confused. We broke camp quickly, and I drove 50 on forest service roads and sped my way to the nearest town to find a hospital. We ended up driving to Olympia, where she ended up collapsing on their floor, too weak to even stand on her own. They rushed her in back and started running tests and hydrating her. A little while later, the doc came in with news. It was just like a shitty dream. You’re there, but not 100%. Words were thrown out-cancer, rupture, surgery. And just like that we knew it was bad. I snapped back to reality to see what could be done. She had a tumor in her belly that had ruptured, and she was bleeding internally. It would have happened no matter what.
What did we want to do? I told the doc I have a credit card with a high limit. Do you what you need. More tests were run. More bad news, and I remember Nick and I saying, do whatever it takes. Make her better. The decision was made to get her as stable as we could and drive her to a hospital in Tacoma, as the doc put it, “We are like Community Care, this place is like Harbor View”. Traffic was almost at a standstill. Didn’t people get it? We were crying, and Mia was in shock, but on pain killers. I drove as fast as traffic would let me, weaving in and out of cars, trying to go faster. We made it to the hospital, where they carted her off and tried to save her. Shortly after, the doc came back in and gave us the news. IF they could stabilize her, and IF they could get her through anesthesia then she MAY make it through surgery. The cancer would come back, based on what they were seeing. She was riddled with illness. The doc gave us an estimate that if we could get her through, she’d be back in this state in 3-6 months, IF we were lucky. So many if’s. It came down to if she was in pain. She was medicated, but in shock. She had no idea what was going on, but was clearly scared. We asked to see her and she was in such bad shape. She was huffing instead of breathing, and she wanted to lay next to me, but was too weak to push herself closer. It was clear that we couldn’t do this to her. I couldn’t do this to her over and over. It wasn’t fair to either of us. We made the decision to put her to sleep, and I held her and explained what was going to happen and that we loved her and told her all of the things that a good momma and Daddy should. The doc came in and I held her head and Nick and I whispered into her fuzzy, soft ears. And just like that she was gone. We stayed with her for a long time after that, putting her and holding her, not believing that she was actually gone.
We made our way home, with her collar in hand. The house was and is still so quiet, no toe nails clacking on the hardwoods, or happy grunts, as she took over the couch, or the chair. For the first time in years, I ate a snack without sharing it. Last night, I didn’t have a dog come try to tell me that it was time for bed. I didn’t have my couch buddy while watching a movie. Such a huge part of my life is gone. I am so lucky to have had one last adventure with her. We had fun, and she got to play in her favorite places. I got to hold her close, and smell her, and tell her that I loved her more than anything in the world. For that, I am so, so grateful. She was truly an amazing pup, and I am so happy that she was given to me, and that I was able to do so much with her. It’s hard to believe this pic was just over a day ago now. To you, Meepers, I miss and love you so much.
“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
Hold your fuzzies close, all.
Raina and Nick