Wow, do I feel fantastic! And I’ve made a new friend, Gypsy, who is a Black Lab who loves agility AND SCHLURPING and loves Mom very much too, so promised her he’d look out for me.
But the rest of this week has sucked donkey balls.
Mom’s spent the afternoon sobbing on the couch, so I’ve been playing with Jasper, just like we used to do when he was a puppy. We haven’t been playing for weeks, because I’ve been so sick, but as soon as he and Mom got home from the vet, I heard him calling me, because he was sniffing around and barking for me. What’s a girl to do? We chased all over the back yard, then he came in and we chased the figure-8 circuit around the living room, and then up and down the stairs, and all over the place. It’s making mom sob even harder, because he and I haven’t had this much fun together in a couple of months, because I’ve been sick and he’s been worried about me and trying to be respectful. I think I wore him out, though, because then he passed out on the floor at Mom’s feet, and then went to sleep in my favourite chair.
But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Sorry, time doesn’t mean much to me right now.
Mom was all excited and hopeful after my Monday blood test showed that my anaemia was getting better, and the previous blood test showed my liver levels were getting better. And of course on Wednesday, when the vet and internal specialist came up with a new plan.
But I was still getting weaker, and boney-er, and my swollen belly was still getting bigger. And I stopped being able to walk so well – getting out of the car on Monday, for instance, I fell flat on my face. And I slid on the hardwood floor, and stumbled in the snow. Wednesday night, I was also limping, but Mom thought it was my muscle weakness.
Well, Thursday morning, I wouldn’t stand up, and my paw was swollen. I went back to see the vet techs in the morning for my weekly blood test, but Mom had to get the staff to come and help me get out of the car – and I kept falling over myself on the way in. They took my blood and gave me a new injection to make me less nauseous and want to eat, and checked out my foot, but they couldn’t see anything in particular causing the swelling, so made an appointment for this morning so the vet could check it out if it hadn’t gotten better. And I should wear my cone of shame or a bootie so I didn’t lick it. Mom thought I had trouble enough keeping my balance, so opted for the bootie.
Mom couldn’t get me out of the car once we got home, so she left me in the back seat while she drove Jasper to Ruff Haus, so the staff who were there got to come out and give me snuggles.
I still wouldn’t come out when we got home from there, so finally Mom called Iris to come and help, and they were able to lure me down the ramp, with Iris holding my back end up with a towel, so I didn’t have to put weight on my bad foot (even though the others weren’t working so well, either). I just lay down in the side hall for a while, then barked to go outside. I did a bit of a circuit, much to mom’s surprise, checking out the bunny poop places down the hill, then came back up to the patio and just wanted to sit there and survey my domain for a while. Eventually, I was shivering too hard, so Mom made me come in, and I just lay down in the side hall for the rest of the day. I finally ate a tiny bit of my breakfast, but not much.
Later, mom noticed my bootie was looking pretty puffy, so took it off, and it wasn’t my bootie, it was my foot! So she left off the bootie to give it some air, and I was stuck with the cone of shame.
I didn’t even move when Jasper came home from Ruff Haus. Mom tried to feed me some more, but I was having none of it. I was also trembling a bunch, so she got a blanket for me.
Later, I hobbled to the dining room to lie down on the comfy carpet, but that’s all I could muster. I did show interest in my dinner at about 11:30, though, so Mom got excited again. But my foot was as bloated as my belly. I’m not sure the injection did anything to help me.
Mom "slept" on the couch – on purpose, so I didn’t have to walk to the bedroom, and she could hear me if I needed anything. I moved from the carpet to my nice corner bed.
This morning, Mom brought me my meds and I ate most of them, but not the chewable vitamins, even though she put Jasper’s gravy on them. I didn’t want anything to do with my breakfast, either. And my foot was inflamed.
Iris came back to help me into the car, and we went to the vet to see what was going on with my foot. Which now had blisters all over it, too. The vet said my body was going through so much, it just wasn’t able to fight away infection the way I normally could, because my immune system was pummelled.
The vet said I needed to go on antibiotics, and suggested a few new changes to my medications, so I could get weaned off prednisone, and hopefully get rid of some of this bloating, since the diuretics have been doing nothing. My blood tests from yesterday were back in, and unfortunately, my liver levels had started creeping back up. I was also showing signs of gall bladder failure. Plus other signs that I was deteriorating. I mean, I was there, lying on the floor shaking and breathing with difficulty, so I don’t know why they needed a piece of paper to figure that out.
The vet had to go check on another patient, so Mom lay down on the floor with me and sang for me – mostly “Brown Eyed Girl”. I tried to listen, but I was trembling too hard, and couldn’t get my tail to go fwappity fwappity, like it usually does when she sings to me. She started to cry a bunch, even though she tried not to. And she read through the blood test results, and all the changes since last time, and all the new stuff. And listened to me try to breathe and shiver. And then cried some more.
The vet tech came in to check on me and try to feed me some of the yummy canned food. I took a bit, but then spit it out again. That’s when the vet tech started crying and had to leave the room.
When the vet came back, Mom asked her how long it would likely take the antibiotics to start making a difference, and the vet said a few days. So then she asked how much of this was likely my foot and how much the rest of it, and the vet said the foot was probably not the biggest issue, and laid out some probabilities and options, and left us snuggling on the floor a little longer. Mom said she didn’t want to give up on me too soon, but she didn’t want me to keep suffering if there was little hope of it getting better. The vet said Mom had done all the right things, and even more than many would try, so she didn’t need to worry about not doing enough. (I told her to say that, because Mom is the QUEEN of second-guessing herself and never thinking she’s done enough.) Mom snuggled me and cried some more, but her singing voice sucked by this point, so no more “Brown Eyed Girl”, not even the shalalalala parts.
Mom stopped second guessing. The vet asked if she wanted to bring anyone to be with her, and Mom asked if it was okay for my Stinky Brother to come? The vet said yes, of course, and said they’d sit with me while she picked him up. Mom brought in my cushion from the car so I had something to snuggle with while she was gone. The vet said she’d get my catheter ready to go while Mom was gone, so she didn’t have to watch that part. I lay snuggled up between the vet and my cushion, and trembled a little more. The vet doesn’t know how to sing Brown Eyed Girl, but she did talk nicely to me.
When Mom came back with Jasper, I lifted my head up to say hi. We both got liver treats (which I haven’t been allowed to have for weeks, because of how much copper is in them), and then Jasper laid down beside me. The staff left the three of us in the room to sing songs and snuggle for a while. Then Mom pressed the buzzer to say it was okay for them to come in again, because I was shaking and my little heart was going boom boom boom like a hummingbird on steroids, and she didn’t want me to suffer any longer.
So the vet and the two techs came in, and Jasper came around to watch and Mom curled up behind me so I’d have a soft lap. The vet put one syringe in the catheter to help me relax, and mom held my head in her lap as I stopped shaking and snuggled with her. Then the second syringe helped my heart stop going boom boom boom so hard, and I snuggled with Mom a little more. She was patting me and telling me how much she loves me, and Jasper lay down again, but was giving the vet kisses to say thank you for looking after me. And then the vet asked Mom if she was ready, and Mom said yes, and soon I wasn’t having trouble breathing any more, or shaking, and all I felt was all the love, even though everybody was crying.
Then the staff left the three of us alone for a while again, and Mom snuggled with me, and Jasper just lay there looking sad, like he’s been looking at me for a while now.
After about half an hour of this, though, I thought he had moped long enough, so I made him look out the window, then gave him a little poke to get up, and he walked to the corner of the room and then I gave him a big schlurp and he gave a big Jasper smile. Mom sobbed some more, because she realized she hadn’t seen him smile in weeks. She thanked me for giving him kisses, and laughed a little, but then cried some more, and rang the bell to say it was okay for the others to come in again.
The vet tech Brooklyn came in and gave me more pats and kisses, and Mom showed her some of my baby photos on her phone, and the video of when Jasper first came home and I was showing him the yard. We sat a little longer, and then Jasper started to get antsy, so Mom stuffed her face in my neck and said how much she loved me and how sorry she was that she couldn’t have made my last days better. And then she and Jasper slowly left me with Brooklyn.
They’re going to send me home later in a shaker, so mom can shake me in the woods, where I’ll spend the rest of eternity next to the bunny poop I love so much.
Mom took Jasper home, and he sniffed all my favourite places and cried a little. Then he went to the side hall and let out a huge bark, so Mom let him outside. He explored a bit, but then came back inside, and gave another huge bark in the side hall. Mom asked if I was trying to get on the balcony, like I used to love until I couldn’t do stairs. She went to the living room to cry again, then heard another bark, and turned around and saw that Jasper and I were playing just like we did when he was a puppy (only he’s too big to fit through the coffee table now). I chased him all through the living room - dining room figure eight pattern, up the back stairs and down. He’d grab a toy and make me chase him. We were going HARD for quite some time, then he looked at Mom and smiled and laughed a bunch, then passed out next to her in my favourite chair. Mom knows it was me. So does Jasper, but duh, dogs are always smarter.
Mom’s friends came over with pizza and wine, so she didn’t have to be alone tonight. Hopefully they didn’t mind all the snot. I told their kid to skip taekwondo so he could join them and play with Jasper, and the two of them had a great time. Hopefully Jasper and Mom will sleep well tonight.
I tried really hard to rally for her, but it turns out love just doesn’t conquer all. Thank you to all my human friends who looked after me and Mom. I wish I could give you schlurps and my fwappity fwappity tail for another seven years, but… what can I say, it looks like I’ll never be older than Mom, even in dog years. But I packed a lot of love into my almost-eight years, so hopefully that makes up for it. Gypsy and I are making friends and telling stories about Mom and all her love for us, and how lucky we were to live with someone who loved us so much.
Apparently Mojo and Evinrude and Bomber Joe and Cookie are here too, but Mom wanted me to meet Gypsy first, because we're so alike.
And my fwappity fwappity tail works again, so I send you all love and schlurps and lots of fwapps. Laughing and a-running, hey, hey, in the misty morning fog with our, our hearts a thumping. And me, your brown-eyed girl. Me, your little brown-eyed girl.
Goodbye, everyone, thanks for being part of my life.
The Chocolate Nutbar
Mom’s Brown-Eyed Girl