Saturday, May 18, 2013

my dog died today

my husband and two middle boys are out of town.  they're at a robotics competition in detroit.  i stayed in town with our two littles and we attended my oldest's athletics banquet last night.  it's always weird for me to go to sleep without my husband here, especially when our oldest is on a date, but the two littles and i made it work, went to the park yesterday, watched tv and hung out.  i put the dogs in their kennels last night around eleven and they were fine when my oldest got home around one.

i woke up at 7:15ish to the sound of one of my dogs making a weird noise...kind of a cry/howl kind of noise.  but it had a pierce to it that woke me and i got up to see what was going on.  my youngest was also up...telling my chocolate lab, tallulah, to be quiet.  i don't know how long she'd been up with the dog.  but i could tell immediately something was very wrong.  tallu was on the bottom of her kennel and her legs were just wrong.  and she didn't open her eyes and look at me when i walked in.  she'd just make this sound every once in awhile.  she was laying in vomit.  i got on the internet to see when my vet's office 7:30.  i called them to see if they were in early and got routed to the emergency clinic.  i described what was going on, asked if there was anything i should do, and made a plan to get her into their clinic immediately, but then the woman i was on the phone with noticed the time and said it would probably be faster to take her to my regular vet's office when they opened in five minutes since they were closer.  i called my husband, i was a little hysterical at this point.  i got my oldest up to help me get her to the car, came back in, saw tallu move her head the tiniest bit, and then she breathed her last breath.  we all got a little hysterical at that point.  i called the regular vet, they already knew from the emergency clinic that i'd called (it had only been about five minutes), and talked to me about bringing her in to be cremated.  i told them i needed to talk to my husband, bla bla bla.

my oldest son and i took her outside, he hugged me tight, and said, "mama, please, just let me do this."  i asked him what he was going to do and he said he wanted to clean tallu up before the littles came out to say good-bye to her.  my heart had already broken when i realized i'd watched our dog breathe her last breath, but it went pretty wide open when he said that.  watching him lift his dog, wash her up with the was a pretty wet time all around.  my youngest son was inside still crying and our daughter, our youngest child, was pretty confused by all of the emotion.  it's been awhile since i tried to explain death to a toddler.  she seemed pretty understanding of it, looked a little said, decided that maybe her brother was so sad because tallu hadn't hugged him before she died.  i think it will take her a while to realize tallu isn't coming back.  i have no idea what her response will be when we bring tallu's ashes home from the vet.  we'll cross that one when we get there, i guess.

the vet's people were awesome.  the lady who came out to carry tallu in hugged me and then did the most amazing thing...i was outside petting my dead dog, and she came over and kissed my dead dog.  there are just some moments when you are so aware how crazy they are and how amazing they are at the same time.  they carried her in and i saw my dog, one of "my girls" for the last time.

the people at the vet's office think she must've had a seizure.  the only other time she's had one was a couple of months ago when i had her teeth cleaned and they put her under.  she came out of anaesthesia fine, but then had a big seizure out of nowhere.  i know most of them saw her seizure...she'd accrued quite a fan club in her time there that day...she is one of the friendliest, if not slobberiest dogs i'd known.  so i have to guess they saw her seizure, cleaned her up, and thought it sounded familiar when i described how she'd been when i found her this morning.  i left the vet's at 8:30.  in an hour and a little change, we'd lost a dog, cleaned her up and said our good-byes, and taken her to be cremated.  it was the most surreal and at the same time, most heartbreakingly normal mornings i've had in a long time.  animals die.  we know this.  we've experienced it several times.  with fish (which my oldest mused today was really just kind of annoying...but i remember his tears when he lost an oscar he'd had for four years...).  with rabbits...and those were heartbreaking.  but on a small scale.  this is definitely our first seventy pound loss.  and it was heavy.  but we did the things you do when half your family is in detroit and you go through something like this...we stayed together...we shopped...we bought movies and junk food and sodas for the kids and beer for the mom.  we watched our movies, rubbed each others' heads and backs, hugged lots, talked some, remembered tallu...the good and sweet parts...the annoying and funny parts.  i started out the day feeling a little upset that my husband wasn't here to help sort this mess out and ended the day feeling bad he and the other kids weren't here to heal with us.  i have said some lately, as our family prepares for my oldest to graduate and leave for a year of ministry at the end of the summer, that sometimes god has to break our hearts a little so we can get some light in there and they can get bigger and stronger.   the knowing doesn't necessarily make it less painful, but it changes my acceptance of the breaking, opens up my knowledge that the healing will come, no matter how scared or hurt i might be.

the light today was realizing that i spend too much time on the "what i want things to be one day" and not enough time appreciating what they are now.  i'm going to work on that.  a very sweet, very loyal, very beautiful chocolate lab gave me that lesson as gently as she could.  i love her.  i'm so glad she was a part of our journey.

tomorrow the rest of our family will get here and we'll attend mass and they'll honor the graduates for this year from our church.  and my oldest son will be up there.  i know the waterworks will be flowing for me...they really haven't stopped yet.  but they'll be peaceful tears.  i struggle sometimes being his mom...he and i are so very different.  but today left me with nothing but appreciation for my son...a man who asked to be the one to take care of his dog this morning and watched two movies with me today and is just an incredible kid.  i am done with thinking of what he will be one day.  i am proud of who he is...grateful for who he is.  i need him to be much as i need to let myself be me.  it is a gift.  i guess that's a little extra light.



*Jess* said...

I am so sorry. There are just no words. So unexpected :(

corscorp said...

RIP Tallulah xoxo (((K Fam)))