Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saying goodbye

2/6/11 ~ 6/19/14
a.k.a. "Poopy"

I expected to be sad when Zola left us, I did not expect to be devastated. I should have known though, nothing with her happened by the book. She was a special case. Taken in by us when we heard a very sick pug needed a home. Who else should take in a sick dog but someone who works for a vet? What can I say, we met her and fell under her spell. She did that to people. Her life expectancy wasn't known, and may have only been weeks. The kids were warned. Considering how down and out she was when we took her, we didn't expect it to be very long. 
She had other plans.
Once she was on the proper food and medication for her defective liver she felt better and maintained pretty well. And once she felt better she was joy incarnate. Aside from her moments of pure bitchy-ness towards Jenny, which had to be managed closely in the end. In my 20 plus years with experience in akitas I had no dog fights, a couple of years with 2 female pugs and my skills in behavior modification were tested. I learned a lot about the power of health issues in dealing with behavior problems. All the behavior modification in the world will not work if the medical issue isn't addressed.
     On top of the liver shunt was a jaw that lacked full mobility, a bad eye, a bad knee, a misshapen skull and when overheated, a tongue that covered her nose if she panted. The worst possible design flaw in a dog with breathing issues. She loved going for walks but I had to be extra careful when I could take her. She was only 10 pounds when we took her and 8 months old. She never grew bigger than 13lbs. She drank a lot and peed a lot. And I mean a LOT. Not always giving us enough warning to get her outside. Some days she was a real pain in the ass. But her cuteness trumped all that. We forgave her for everything. 

She went downhill fast at the beginning of the month. I could tell she didn't feel well. She stopped wanting her meals. Thankfully a good supply of fresh duck eggs from a friend could coax her into eating something on the days she refused her special food. Her bloodwork showed progression of the liver disease. Not a surprise, but I thought we still had more time together. We tried medication for her appetite but it didn't help. Then the seizures started. It may have been from the toxin build up. We weren't sure. 

She stopped wanting to cuddle. 
     That killed me. She would stand there and look at me and I couldn't make her feel better. Her breathing got weird. I took her back in to see the doctor and found out she was going into heart failure. Something we couldn't slow down. She still greeted each new day as she always did, the cheerleader of life. Joy personified. But then her energy was spent. It wasn't fair to keep her alive and miserable, just because we couldn't imagine life without her. I knew it was the right thing to do. We all knew it was the right thing to do. 
It still sucks. 
     I try to focus on all the joy she brought us, and the lessons she taught. Live in the moment. Be happy. Tomorrow isn't promised. Be grateful. Cuddle more. Sometimes you just gotta pee.
She was joy. 
She was love. 
We were lucky to have had her in our lives. 
     There is something extra hard about losing a high maintenance dog in a household. So much of our schedule revolved around her. Preparing her meals, her medication schedule, the multiple potty breaks throughout the day and night. Those empty spaces makes us feel her absence that much more. I am fortunate to work with an awesome veterinarian who is also a friend. She was there for us in the end. We got to let her go under a beautiful blue sky surrounded by buttercups. It was beautiful and horrible and I still can't believe she is gone.
We love you Poopy.
And even miss your puddles. 
  My kingdom for just one more puddle. 

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