Friday, November 28, 2008

A different kind of Thanksgiving.

When we arrived at my parents' house Wednesday night, the Geriatric Poodle was agitated. And he no longer had control of his bladder.

When my mom cleaned up the third puddle, I looked at my folks and admitted, "My dog is dying."

Yes, honey. Yes, he is.

We stayed up late and talked through the entire situation. Ever since we rescued each other, I have been so focused on keeping the Geriatric Poodle alive. Lately, I have been sensing a shift in his health, his happiness, and the true goal here.

Even when I held him, he wasn't always comforted.

He wasn't eating. And he was doing this weird thing with the water dish - his complete lack of depth perception meant that even if I held the water dish right up to his mouth, he could sometimes be several inches from the surface of the water when he tried to lap it up.

I made a difficult decision. My mom e-mailed her friend who is the office manager at the vet's office. We had an appointment for 1:30 this afternoon.

Thanksgiving Day was bittersweet. I was so thankful to be with my parents and my brother, Poochie. The Geriatric Poodle ate turkey with homemade gravy on it. It was a privilege to be together, and to talk about what a great dog we had in the Geriatric Poodle.

He would hoist his leg up almost perpendicular to the ground when he peed.
In his younger days, he would have entire conversations with himself - you've never seen a dog as talkative and vocal.

And as horrible as the beginning of his life was, he was an amazingly trusting, affectionate dog who would melt into you when you held him.

Foxie Doxie and my parents' Shih Tzu Magic watched the Geriatric Poodle closely. They knew.

And I just cried and cried. I wanted to do right by this sweet little dog who has always done right by me. I feel like I've been crying all fall. I'm so tired of being sad. And the sadness is overwhelming.

Last night, I was tired, but I didn't want to go to bed, because if I did, it would be today, and today was our appointment.

But I did.

This morning, we sat with various puppies on various laps. The time flew by and was also forever. In a moment alone, I whispered to my sweet deaf baby that he was a good boy and that he had done a very good job. And now his work was done, and it was ok to go. And I loved him so much and was so thankful for him, and I would love him every single day forever. And thank you for being my dog. Thank you for loving me.

My entire family and Foxie Doxie went to the vet. They led us right into a large, yellow room with a blue ceiling that had paw-shaped clouds painted on it. The wonderful vet tech hugged me and assured me that this was the hardest choice, but the kindest choice. She explained it all. And she hugged me again. And I just cried and held my baby.

They took him in the back to get the line in his paw and we could hear him screaming. I came completely unglued. My mom covered my ears with her hands and I sobbed.

The tech came back in. They hadn't even touched him - he just didn't want them to hold him. My mom went back to comfort him, and then my mom, the vet and the Geriatric Poodle all came back.

We sat on the floor, and I held him in my lap, wrapped in a fleece blankie my mom made him. I smelled his hair and stroked his head. And then his head got heavy and he was gone.

My dog is dead.

I know that now he can see and hear and chase squirrels and smell and eat and pee on whatever his heart desires. I know he's running and he doesn't hurt.

But I do.

I am so sad. I'm so tired of being sad. But I'm also thankful. I'm so thankful for eight years with this wonderful, loving little guy. I'm glad that I could stop his suffering. I'm glad that my entire family was there, and I'm glad he planned it that way, because he was smart like that.

He was a very good dog. His name was Reggie.


nestra said...

I had to put my little dog Annie down several months ago and it still makes me teary. It is so hard to let go of someone who loves us unconditionally, but I'm glad I was able to see it was time.

I'm sorry for you loss.

LaDue & Crew said...

I was fine, until the paw print clouds... I'm so sorry :o( Especially now, after all you've had to go through the last few months. Sending you big {{{hugs}}}.

Unknown said...

Our crazy cat was put to sleep this spring. He had been sick for a while. I was holding him - and believe he felt the love. I always thought he was a little crazy and annoying, but in the end, he was our baby - we had 17 years with him - and we all agree that we were surprised at the depths of our sadness....

I feel your pain and your sadness.

farmerjulie said...

Oh, I am so sorry..that is so hard! ((HUGS)) so sorry for your loss .

Tumble Fish Studio said...

I have such tears in my eyes I can barely see what I'm typing. I am so, so sorry Cha Cha. I had to do this not that long ago and I know how very hard it is and I ache so badly that you are going through this now. But, I am glad you had your family with you to help you through it.

Oh, I wish I could make everything better. Thoughts and prayers,

Rebecca said...

Oh My God, I'm so sad for you but happy that you had such a great friend for 8 years.

My mother is going through the same thing now with her 12 year old maltese. She's made an appointment and cancelled it because she just falls apart at the thought but it will have to be done soon.

You deserve to be happy. I'm sad that you've had so much sadness in your life lately. You will have much happiness again soon.

We are here for you!

Gertrude said...

I'm so sorry.
Sounds like Reggie had a great long life a very good Mama.


How sad for you. My baby is only two but I know that this will one day happen. I couldn't help but cry over your post about your sweet baby. I hope that you soon have only good things happening and lots of laughter. Best wishes

Magic27 said...

Oh Cha Cha, I'm so sad for you... I have tears streaming down my face, but am sending you happy thoughts all the same.
I know I'll be a wreck when we have to do the same to our beloved (by me, anyway) cat, Tom.
This is really hard for you, I know, but just think how great the memories are!
That was one great dog - and you were a great mama for him.
Hang in there, things can only get better!

Greg said...

The first time I met Reggie, he came to the office with you. I am generally not a small-dog person, but the way he would sit in your lap and watch you work just melted my heart -- I was an immediate, ardent fan.

Even though I've put down to beloved pets under similar circumstances over the years, I won't presume to know how you feel - these things are deeply personal.

But if I don't know how you feel, I do happen to know a few things about you.

I know you are strong (stronger than you know!) enough to get through this and the other sadness of the fall.

I know you have friends and family who love you and will not let sadness turn into darker, malingering despair.

And mostly, because I know you and Reggie, I know you made the right decision, and that there wasn't a single moment of that little dog's life he ever doubted he was protected, adored and cared for.

Doing the right thing hurts like a bitch sometimes -- hell, most of the time, in my experience. But we do it anyway.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Anyone who has been blessed by a dog will understand why it's so hard for you. He was a beautiful puppy.

Gretchen Hembree said...

Poor Reg! I am thinking back on our fond memories! What a happy jumper and kisser in his younger days. Always thrilled to meet whomever came to visit. I know you will miss hime greatly!

Lynette said...

I am so sorry for your loss. For once someone can say they do know how you feel. I had to do the same thing for Geriatric Kitty three years ago on Thanksgiving weekend. My little sprite had been with me though a divorce and a remarriage. She had a zest for life but her brave little heart no longer functioned properly. I made the hard decision you did and I can say that I was truly thankful that I could give her the gift of not suffering anymore. I am sending a huge hug your way. You were a very good friend to Reggie and I am certain he loved you as much as you loved him.

itsjustme said...

The absolute best way for any dog to die is in the arms of someone who loves him very much. I am so glad that you had your family with you. I have had pets most of my life. I only had one not die in my arms. I've had boyfriends go away and dogs die, rather have the boy go away. I'm really sorry.

Linda Summerfield said...

You poor dear. I wish I could do something to ease your pain, I am so terribly sorry.
Your Pal,

Anonymous said...

Oh damn. I am so sorry. My heart is totally out to you, Cha Cha, and I'm praying for your comfort. I'm so glad you had family with you during this. And I love the perspective you managed to have while writing about your Reggie.

Leslie Smith said...

You are beautiful, and I love you.

jean said...

I'm so sorry. I know how hard this is for you. In time you will remember the love and the pain will ease.

Unknown said...

Oh, honey, I am so, so sorry to read this. It's hard to lose a pet. People told us this after our boxer, Max died--don't wait to get another dog. But we did wait because we were grieving his loss. When we got our rescue dog I could see immediately why our friends said what they did. Brutus helped to fill the hole in our hearts but never replaced Max.Hugs to you and take good care of yourself

hope505 said...

Oh is so. hard. I had to do the same for my 18-yr old cat this year...even though I knew it was "his time", and that he was probably feeling terrible, it didn't make it any less hard at all. I am so sorry for your loss.

Virginia Janet said...

So sad.... he was such a nice pet, we will miss him.

Claire B. said...

I'm so so sorry. I have had two geriatric dogs in a row and I know how hard it is. I cried for two years after I had to let go of my girl, who was with me for 15 1/2 years. Our boy was 13 1/2. And now we have a four year old. And we'll go through it again.

People who take care of old dogs who can't hear or can't see (or both), who can't walk real well and can't control all of their other functions either are true heroes.

Not everyone understands why we "keep them around." But you know when they're still happy. And you know when that happy light just goes out. And you did the right thing, of course. Doesn't make it any easier.

Come over to my place and have some wine. We'll talk about our old dogs and have a (another) good cry.

Take care. I'm so, so sorry.

PS My dad's middle name is Reginald and has been called Reggie a lot. It's a great name for a poodle!

Saucy said...

Dear Cha Cha,

Take care... sorry about Reggie.