Sunday, March 05, 2006

At the End...

Friday, I had to put one of my dogs down. It was all very sudden. Our 8.5 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback had some health issues. She had kidney disease and a slight case of incontinence. Because of the kidney disease she drank a lot of water. Thursday night or Friday morning, she threw up judging from the spot on the carpet. The water was all gone, so I filled it up while I fed the dogs. She proceeded to drink about 3/4 of the bowl in about 15 secs and then regurgitated all the water. Apparently, this may have caused the GDV (bloat). We had no suspicion that anything was serious wrong until around noon time. We thought she was just sick or had an upset stomach. A little after noon, she was lying down and would come or react to my wife's calls. Upon closer inspection, she was nonresponsive. She was breathing and alive but would not open her eyes or move.

My wife called me at work and discussed what to do. Luckily she saw a couple of male neighbors across the street whom she was able to ask for help. They lifted our dog, Gabby, and carried her to the minivan and to the Vet. X-rays confirmed it was GDV and very serious. By the time I arrive at the Vet, Gabby was already in shock. The vet said she couldn't recommend surgery because the chances for success were too low. We decided to go ahead with the euthanasia. I wanted to be there with Gabby and stayed through the whole process. It was very emotional and I was choked up and crying. I stroked Gabby's brow and looked into eyes. I saw some recognition. They took her off the ventilator and then I put my nose up to her nose, kept petting her and looked her in the eyes as she passed. I think she knew that I was there, and if so, she trusted me to do the right thing, even in the end.

I brought Gabby home in a body bag, and buried her. I felt like I was in a haze. It all seemed blurry. The kids took it remarkably well. I guess they are still too young to really comprehend or maybe the understand better than we do...The kids were touching though, turning Gabby's grave into a memorial. They brought flowers, pine cones, special rocks...all for Gabby's enjoyment.

Even with 3 kids, and another dog, the house seems quieter. Strange considering Gabby was the quieter and smaller dog. I think our other dog is definitely more sedate, perhaps realizing that Gabby is missing and not understanding where she is. Or maybe he does? He was the one was was whining when Gabby first got sick, as if he knew something more serious was going on. Children, animals, possibly understanding or glimpsing things that we adult humans are too separated from?

I am grateful to be there at the end with Gabby. I pray she rests in peace.

Sienna's Talk of the Town - "Gabby" - 15 OCT 1997- 3 MAR 2006.

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