So far, 2016 has been nothing but loss for me. On January 29, my grandfather passed away at the age of 96. He lived an incredible and very healthy life. The downfall to being so healthy was that the dying process was quite lengthy for him. When he finally passed, there was a definite sense of relief for the entire family. From fighting in WWII to taking over a company during the 40s and building it up into a leader in the industry to raising 4 children… he was an absolutely remarkable man. I’m so blessed to have had so many years with him. With 4 children, 5 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren… I’d say he did something right.
In the midst of his passing, on January 23, one of my fur-babies got sick. What started out as a bloody nose was then treated as a sinus infection when x-rays and blood work came back normal. For 3 weeks, he was on antibiotics yet did not seem to improve. Though he didn’t get worse either. On Thursday, Feb 18, I happened to leave work early and walked into my house to see some blood. Upon finding my boy, he nose was bleeding quite heavily. We started up the stairs and it started to pour out his nose. I rushed him into my truck and to the vet. My regular vet was called in when the bleeding could not be stopped. He lost a significant amount of blood and was heavily sedated with morphine to lower his blood pressure (thus slowing the bleeding.) Once we had him stabilized, we loaded him back into my truck and I took him to a specialty hospital where he was kept overnight. I spent that night awake and in tears… knowing that this was likely going to be the end. Something in me knew he wasn’t really going to be coming back from this.
After a lengthy conversation with the Internal Medicine Specialist the next morning, I was able to bring him home for one last night.
Sadly, the last 24 hrs with him were the worst. I had been questioning if I was making right choice while we came home from the specialty hospital Friday morning. He seemed comfortable and even wagging his tail and showing some happiness. Sadly that was short lived.
Friday night, around 6pm, the nose bleed started again. I was on the phone with my vet at the time… Who had called to check in and discuss my plans for the following morning. He told me to give him more sedatives to bring his blood pressure down and slow the bleed.
By that time, a girlfriend had arrived and we spent the next 4 hours sitting on my hardwood floor tending to my boy. Soothing him and trying to keep him as sedate as possible. Just when the bleeding would stop, he would blow the clot. This went on for hours. My friend took pictures of me and both my boys together. She sat with him, closing her eyes and leaning against the wall with one hand on him while I started the first load of blood soaked towels in the washing machine. Then we swapped places so my other boy could have some attention.
After I got ready for bed, we laid out blankets and sleeping bags over my sheets and moved him to the bed. My friend left for the night feeling uneasy about how the night would go. I was feeling the same. We didn’t think he would make it through the night…
All night long, I dozed off and on, listening to his labored breathing. Soothing him when he experienced his last reverse sneeze episode – which seemed to go on for minutes. At one point, he drank an entire bowl of water only to make it back up onto the bed and vomit all the blood he had swallowed, any food in his stomach, and all the meds we had given him. Nothing had digested.
Throughout the night, he would jump off the bed and literally collapse on the floor. Each time, I would get up to check on him… Put a towel under his head as he was bleeding mildly again. By the 3rd collapse, I found myself laying beside him on the floor and telling him it was okay… He didn’t need to hang on. He was suffering in the worst ways. But, he did. He hung on until morning. He was suffering and obviously in pain, but he wouldn’t let go.
By 7:20am, I had my truck pulled out and doors open, I went back inside to get my boy. He wouldn’t move. He was awake, but just couldn’t muster the strength to get up. So, I scooped him up in my arms and carried him out to the truck. My little guy followed us out the door and jumped right in with his brother.
At the vet, he didn’t shake or seem distressed. I knew he was ready. When we took him back, there was no struggle… And I knew it was time. It was the most peaceful passing I could have possibly asked for with me gently stroking his face and telling him how very much I loved him and always would. And thanking him for loving me and so many others for every amazing year we were blessed to know him.
Then my little guy had a few moments with him after… and upon realizing his brother was gone, he went straight to the door and never looked back. The vet techs were wonderful and took him up front, so I could have a few more minutes with my boy. I stroked his ears again… I loved those ears. I kissed him once more in my favorite spot and wished him sweet dreams.
I spent most of that day very numb. I had massive amounts of blood to clean up in nearly every room of my house. It was the equivalent of hazmat cleanup. I’m so grateful to good friends for coming over armed with cleaning supplies and a beautiful plant in remembrance of my boy. They cleaned everything and even salvaged the rugs and blankets I had bagged to discard. They provided support, hugs, and laughter for me on the saddest day of my life.
That night, my little guy spent a lot of time alone on the dog bed he and his brother shared. Unfortunately, I will need to get rid of that bed, but for now, he needs it. He’s very sad and grieving his own loss. It will get better for him, but he needs time to mourn as well.
I’ve continued to experience waves of sadness but know I made the right decision. That last night was horrific and he suffered immensely. I will ALWAYS miss my sweet boy… But, I’m so relieved he’s no longer suffering. Seeing him fall asleep for the last time was heartbreaking… But now he can be happy and healthy again.
Thank you for choosing me.
This morning, I picked up his ashes. They’re in a beautiful cedar box with his name on a plaque across the top and a clay imprint of his paw. I feel at peace knowing I’m bringing my boy home…