Sunday, April 15, 2007

December 12, 2000 - Journal entry

Things happen that we are powerless to stop. In such cases, we must learn to accept what we cannot change. A month and a half ago, I went out to our fenced backyard to check on Brandy (our Saint Bernard). She had had a number of seizures that day. Brandy was staggering all over the house, so I had her go outside. I had given her enough meds to hopefully stop the seizures that she was having that evening. I went to bed and fell asleep. A few hours later, I woke up and remembered that I had left Bran outside. I walked out through the garage and saw her laying in the backyard. I stopped and watched her to see if she was breathing. I couldn't see her chest moving. I moved closer, still no apparent movement. I was scared. She had had seizure after seizure and I had allowed her to stay outside for several hours in the cold. I touched her. She was cold. She wasn't breathing. She had died. I went back inside and told Zoe (our little dog), "She's gone". I laid down in bed, sad. Her dead body was laying outside. I called Animal Control regarding removing the body. They said they weren't responsible for family dogs. I laid in bed for a short time. Then I looked outside through the bedroom window. I didn't see her. So I looked through the kitchen window. I still couldn't make her out. I went back outside and she appeared to be in a different place than she was previously. I wasn't sure, though. I touched her again. She still didn't appear to be breathing. I touched her, rubbed her face. She breathed. She was breathing! I hugged her and cried. She came back inside. Later, I talked to the vet and they prescribed some meds that have worked great for her. She hasn't had a seizure since.

On Friday, Zoe was sitting and I noticed that she was looking up at the ceiling, staring at it for no apparent reason. I called the vet and she was seen that afternoon. Zoe has a disorder where her body doesn't have enough platelets. She's been taking prednisolone to help her with this. It's been mostly effective. The vet examined her. He was disturbed that Zoe had lost so much weight. A couple months ago, she was 31 pounds. Now she was about 23. I wondered how she lost so much. She still ate, not a lot, but she still ate and got moderate exercise. The vet did her blood count. He said that she didn't have any platelets. This had happened before, so he prescribed a higher dosage. He said that without platelets, she could be bleeding into her brain or hemorrhaging. I hoped that wasn't the case. When we left, the receptionist said that Zoe was such a cute and friendly little dog. We got out the door and a lady wanted to pet her. Then a man walked by and she barked at him. He petted her as well. I took her home and we gave her some meds. I canceled my trip to Winona to watch over Zoe.

Saturday, I gave her some more meds. I actually heard her barking when we took her outside. The doctor said that it would take 3-4 days for the meds to take their full effect. Zoe was walking weird, slumping over and sometimes urinating on herself. We stayed home that evening to be with her and Brandy. I had to feel her by hand somewhat to get her to eat.

On Sunday, I went to work, came home and there appeared to be diarrhea near the entry way. I held her later and it looked like brown stuff was coming out of her mouth. I thought of calling the vet again. She appeared weak. I let Zoe rest a bit. A short time later, Zoe went under the bed. I had something to eat. I called Zoe's name and then as if on cue, she started gasping. I called the vet right away. Zoe was rolling her eyes which I had noticed earlier in the day. The doctor told us to meet him at the hospital right away. As we prepared to leave, I held Zoe and told her that if she had to go, then that was fine and that we would always love her and never forget her love and kindness. Zoe appeared to be gasping for air. I instinctively gave her mouth-to-mouth.

When we got to the hospital, I set her down for the doctor to look at. He did a few checks of her body. She was barely breathing. The doctor said that he would give her some oxygen in the other room. I stayed put for a minute or two and then went in back. The doctor was readying the oxygen. The doctor put the oxygen mask on Z and was putting pressure on her chest. Zoe was all sprawled out on her stomach. The doctor said she was gone. We made arrangements for her to be creamated. The doctor said she must have bleeding in her brain or in her lungs. What I thought was diarrhea by the entryway, Zoe had apparently coughed up and that was not good. The doctor said that Zoe had gone relatively peacefully. Some dogs come in gasping and coughing loudly with their extremities all over the place. Zoe held on until we got to the hospital. She didn't pass until I finally let her go and put her on the examining table. I stayed with her for a short time and smelled her forehead for the last time. She had that dog smell on her that I liked so much and will miss. I kissed her goodbye and told her I would see her soon.

She'll come in my dreams. She may come back in spirit and watch over me from time to time. Maybe she'll even come back as another dog that I'll get in the future and I'll look into that dog's eyes and know that Zoe has come back to us. She was such a good and loving dog. I wish we had know sooner that she was losing platelets. I didn't notice any signs (rashes on her body, certain colorations around her eyes) until she tilted her head up on Friday and that was sadly too late. In recent weeks, when I took Z and Bran out for walks, we would just let Zoe run unleashed. She would run through the snow, through peoples yards. She was like a rabbit. Then she would come in, have something to eat, sit on my lap, and usually sleep under the bed. She was a godsend for me. I did my best to take care of her. I'd give virtually anything to have her back. But I know now that she is free of her sick body and playing to her heart's content. I miss her and I know she misses me. But she is being taken care of. I can't wait to see her again whether it is here or after I go on. She was awesome. I still have pictures and videos to remember her by. Brandy and Mayo (our cat) have one less roommate now and our home is the lesser for it. Zoe brought so much light to our lives.

In the future, I probably will get another dog. I have a big yard and Brandy could use some company back there. Hopefully, Bran will be around for awhile. And so it is that I thought one of my dogs had died and was pleasantly surprised that that wasn't the case. Six weeks later, my little dog is gone. An unbelievable twist and not one that I wanted. I believe that these canines were brought into our lives to show us unconditional love and that I got Zoe and Brandy, dogs with health problems, because I was well-equipped to help them, to show them love, to give them the time and attention that many others couldn't. I'm sure cute, little Zoe is thankful for this and appreciates it. She was 3 and a half. I wanted more. But when it's time to go, it's time and unfortunately, it was her time. But knowing that she lives on gives me solace and, though I cried again yesterday thinking about her, the tears were for the great times we had together, the four of us (Tom, Zoe, Brandy, and Mayo). Now's it's three. But she'll always be in our heart and some night when I am walking Brandy, Zoe will be right next to us...trying to keep up, running through the neighbors yards...looking forward to spending the evening with us, sitting on my lap and drifting off to blissful sleep.

Postscript: A couple weeks after I wrote this, I had an interesting experience. On a couple occasions laying in bed, I heard what sounded like a small dog softly barking out by our entryway. It actually came from inside the house and wasn't Brandy (she has a much deeper bark). I was comforted by this and felt that she was letting us know that though her body was gone, her spirit did, indeed, live on.

In the summer of 2004, I finally got another dog, a Pomeranian that I also named Zoe (our vet has her listed as Zoe 2). She has many similar characteristics to her predecessor (she likes to sleep under the bed in the exact same spot that Zoe 1 did, both pee on the floor when they're really excited to see someone, both licked Brandy on the inside of her eyes, and both love Trolls).


the108 said...

I'm so glad you explained the Zoe2 thing because I was

This is a beautiful and sad story. One of my favorite things about you is your compassion towards animals and the immense respect you give them. I am incredibly moved by this post and will send plenty of happy doggy vibes and positive thoughts towards your lost babies :-)

Thomas said...

That's much appreciated, Kyra. I took Zoe 2 to the dog park this afternoon and actually saw a Saint Bernard there. I do love animals.

Rocketstar said...

Wow, that's wild, she mst have just been on the brink when you went out there and then found some inner strength to keep going. It's good that you hadn't yet told Dori.

Mags said...

I'm too late to say what I would have said about this post b/c Kyra and Rocket both said it. But it is a very touching story.

Thank you for sharing it.

Thomas said...

Rocket, I don't think she was on the brink. I think she was just sleeping really deeply because of the meds. But, yeah, I'm glad it was too late to call Dori at the hospital and tell her that the dog had passed.

Thanks, Mags. I'm looking forward to more good stories from you.

Mags said...

And also, on 12/12/00 I was celebrating my first wedding anniversary with the jackass otherwise known as my ex-husband.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

That make me cry.

Thomas said...

Mags, I'm sorry the date I wrote this reminded you of your ex, but I see good times on the horizon for you (maybe even with Brian) :)

Sil, sorry you got choked up. It's not easy losing an animal, but I really believe we'll get to see them again.