Memorials

Yesterday we got Maximus’ maple memorial urn we had ordered. Even though we didn’t have Max cremated I wanted something to put his collar in that we could keep for eternity. It’s in this box now and stored on the shelf of my computer hutch. Also there is the little stuffed black poodle dog that Buffy’s owner gave us. His deceased wife saved these and he wanted us to have it to remember Buffy and Dee, his wife, with. It is also stored inside the same cabinet that contains Maximus’ memorial.

We went to see the movie, The Butler, tonight. It was very sad and I’ve been weepy ever since. So many sad/bad times for the United States and for race relations that occurred during the past 61 years of my life were brought back to me tonight during the movie. I think I cried about 5 times before it was over. It was an excellent movie even though Ronnie said it wasn’t "historically accurate"; it was close enough for me.

My blog was acting up tonight and wasn’t usable so I’m posting in a different way. We’ll see how this works.

Rest In Peace, Buffy

All dressed up for the Rainbow Bridge
All dressed up for the Rainbow Bridge

So today was the day Buffy went to the gallows.  The appointment was 1:30.  I went a few minutes early so I could have some time with her beforehand.  She was sicker today than yesterday, noticeably so.  She wasn’t able to focus on me like yesterday, was a little glazed-looking.  I loved on her, rubbed her ears, whispered sweet nothings to her and told her how much I loved her and how much I would miss her.  I listed some more people who loved her, too, and would also miss her.  I held her in my arms and smelled the uric acid on her breath from the failed kidneys and knew that euthanizing her was the right step because this baby was so sick, so miserable.

They injected a pink liquid into her IV which was to put her to sleep.  She had a look of panic on her face for a split second as she began to feel the meds course through her body, then she relaxed and lay down her head.  Then they injected a clear liquid which would stop her heart from beating.  There was a couple of exhalations of air from her lungs and then all the life was gone.  She was at peace.  I kissed her head and told her how much I loved her, just feeling her curly hair on her ears that I’ll never feel again.  The doctor checked her heart; I asked if she was gone; she nodded.  I kissed Buffy once more and rubbed the top of her head, told her “no more pain, baby…no more pain”.  I was already in tears and there was nothing more I could do but get the hell out of there so I could cry.  All of the  employees came and gave me hugs and their condolences.  I thanked them all for everything and hurried to my car.

I cried all the way home and I’ve cried off and on since Buffy died.  I’ll probably cry off and on for a while like I did with Maximus.  The bad thing about loving man or beast is that no one lives forever, and the loss is never pleasant, and the pain always feels like it’ll rip your heart asunder before it’s over.  I used to think “I will never love again because I can’t go through this pain again”, but that would be a lie.  I came home to seven 4-footed angels who love me and who I love with all my heart.  If I have to go through this again with them, I will.  I owe them that much just as I owed that to Buffy.  There was no one else to be with her today; I was it.  Even though it wasn’t something I’d arbitrarily choose to do on a bright, beautiful Wednesday in Texas, I was there with her, for her, and proud to be.

She will be cremated.  Her memorial will read: Buffy August 7, 2013 If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever

Now, hopefully we can all start healing–again.  After the tears (not so many today) I came home and did laundry, caught up on email, cleaned off my desk, then Ronnie took me out to dinner.  Since then it’s been fairly quiet, cuddling the dogs, watching TV, the usual stuff of a weeknight.  We received word that Buffy’s owner fell and broke his hip and is in the hospital, surgery tomorrow if he’s healthy enough to get the cardiologist to sign off on it.  Poor guy!  He’s having an awful summer; his losses mount.  Hope he gets through this trial as well as the ones he’s already experienced.  Sometimes life just sucks, simply the nature of the beast.  Sometimes life is so beautiful it takes my breath away.  We’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings.

What I Hate About Rescue Pt. 2

Buffy Today
Buffy Today

After crying off and on all day yesterday I thought I was pretty much cried out, but, of course, I was wrong.  Today I went to visit Buffy in the hospital and the tears started in the car before I ever got there.  Such is grief; such is love, so it’s fine but it’s not over yet.

I wanted to see her, comfort her, knowing she has to spend all day in her crate because there’s no vet in the office today so they won’t  euthanize her until tomorrow.  Since there were no other appointments in the office today it was quiet where Buffy was.  She was sitting in her crate, an IV in her arm, still shivering some and her eyes were focused far away from where she lay.  As soon as I said her name her head popped up and she was totally present.  “Hi, Mom!”  “Hi, Miss Buffy, look what I brought you!”  I had stopped to pick up a cheeseburger and a dish of ice cream so she could have a treat.  No longer worried about her cholesterol or her weight, I figured this was the ultimate splurge day.  I broke up her cheeseburger into small pieces and she ate about 1/2 of it, but she physically turned her head away from the ice cream.  Guess she’s just not a dairy kind of a girl.  The tech said she had given Buffy something for nausea but was concerned that she had not eaten at all today and she was thinking she’d have to try some baby food and see if Buffy would find that more palatable.  Nope.  Buffy is a cheeseburger maven, and even though she didn’t eat it all, she did eat and we saved the rest for later.  I also took her 2 Puperoni sticks and a Greenie for later in the day.  I gave her a taste of the Puperoni (one of her previously favorite snack foods) but it just wasn’t what she wanted at the time.

It so happened that right after I got there that Ronnie called me so I put him on speakerphone so he could talk to Buffy.  She perked up and started looking for him but finally decided he wasn’t there and the moment was over, but I couldn’t have planned anything more perfect.

Buffy had an appointment set up to recheck her blood work tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 so we will use that appointment as her time at the gallows.  I decided that I couldn’t let her go through this alone so I will be there with her, something I’ve never done before and thought I could not handle emotionally, but I can’t let her face forever alone.  The veterinarian who will euthanize her is, ironically, the vet from the ER that diagnosed her kidney failure in May and who euthanized Maximus.  She is a quiet, sweet woman who makes you feel loved and listened to.  A fitting doctor to lead Miss Buffy’s trip to the Rainbow Bridge.  Fortunately all the vets at our preferred clinic are just as nice and caring; we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Losing Buffy, while not a good thing, is hopefully allowing me to put some closure to losing Maximus.  The night we had Maximus euthanized at the emergency clinic they asked if we wanted him cremated or did we want his remains to bury.  The thought of either was not manageable in our brains at the time.  I did want his collar and it has been on my desk since May 28th, but after time to process the grief, and to get Buffy well after the attack, I wished I’d had Max cremated and had some kind of memorial of him and all he meant to me.  After all, I’d had him since he was 8 days old and had bottle-fed him.  He was my child in so many ways and his loss devastated me.  I had finally gotten to the point where I no longer cried about him every day and now the tears are for Buffy’s demise, but they’re also still unshed tears for my baby, Maximus.  I miss him terribly!  With all his faults (which actually were few but serious ones nevertheless) he remains my big, clumsy baby who at 90 pounds still thought he was a lap dog but snored like a drunken sailor when he’d sleep on the couch.  I remember the softness of his fur, like baby’s hair, that we thought would coarsen with age, but never did.  At 2 years old his hair still felt like a baby’s and I’d rub his ears while he slept with his big head in my lap.  I so loved that part of him, the baby part so opposite of the demon part of his brain that would flash and dole out pain and blood to the other dogs he was around.  It’s hard to understand the Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde transformation he’d make.  One minute he was Maximus, the next he was the demon, the next he was Maximus with no idea of the destruction he’d dealt.  That was why euthanization was the only choice: he didn’t know what he was doing when he’d snap like that and consequently had no remorse when it was over.  Even on 3 Prozac per day he was still having those personality shifts and he was too big and too dangerous to allow to continue his path of destruction.  He wasn’t getting better; he wasn’t going to get better, so, like Buffy he had to lose his life.  Perhaps some time in the future there’ll be ways to treat Max’s brain problem and Buffy’s kidney failure in other suffering animals, but until then we will have to be content to remember them both with love.

What I Hate About Rescue Pt. 1

Buffy May 14, 2013
Buffy May 14, 2013

We’ve been medicating Miss Buffy for the past 2 months trying to make her kidneys continue to work, but it has become futile.  Over the weekend (and the end of last week after she was released from the hospital to go home) she has begun to experience ever-increasing pain.  We gave her one prescription pain medication which did not help.  Then we gave her the narcotic prescription pain reliever and it didn’t help either.  By this morning she was sitting on the floor shivering, refusing to eat or even go out the pet door to potty.  I rushed her to the vet and they just called me with results.

Every lab value was in the red.  This time we won’t be able to bring her back.  We can’t make it better, make her feel better or happy or loved anymore.  They are giving her IV meds which will perk her up temporarily but as soon as they stop she will go back into extreme distress.  The only recourse is to euthanize her and put her out of her misery.  There ought to be a better option!!!!!!!!  Such a sweet, lovable little dog shouldn’t have to go through this.  All she’s ever done is love and be loved.  She rarely even makes a sound.  Just wants her ears scratched and her belly rubbed, to sit in your lap and be talked to sweetly.  Instead now the decisions are when to pull the plug and do we want her cremated or to bring her home to bury.  These decisions will have to be made by her owner who right now is having chest pains and has been given nitroglycerin to combat the side effects of his own grief.

I look at my furbabies and I’m so happy they’re okay.  They don’t understand the sobbing noise.  Gypsy and Zoe have smelled my face to see where it’s coming from.  Gypsy licked away the tears; she is upset because she doesn’t understand what is going on.  I’ve assured her that Mom is okay but she’s still watching me closely to see if I’ll make those noises again…and I probably will.

In the car on the way to the vet this morning I remember holding Buffy close to me and telling her she was Mama’s baby because her human mama passed away a few months ago and I’ve been the only mama she’s had since then.  She snuggled her little nose into the crook of my elbow and let me snuggle her all the way to Friendswood which is 17 miles from us.  Most of the way her little body was trembling in pain.  I couldn’t get her there fast enough but now I wish I’d had more time to tell her that I loved her, to scratch her ears and rub her belly.