Last Sunday was Mother’s Day, and as I predicted, I got to sleep a little bit later than usual. What I didn’t count on was waking up to BOTH kids having wet their beds in the night. (That’s what you get for later-than-usual bedtimes the night before, accompanied by later-than-usual drinks and snacks… PS – kids shouldn’t have nightcaps.) My blessed husband dealt with all the bed-stripping and whatnot, but I was still met with a stinky pile of pee-pee sheets in the morning.
I know. Try not to be jealous.
But we did have a lovely, sunny day out with the children after visiting my mother-in-law in hospital – we browsed around downtown with the children and got ice cream.
However, it was when we returned home and found that out geriatric pooch had pooped in the house, I got that sinking feeling. Our thirteen-and-a-half year old dog had been losing control of his bladder in recent weeks, but he’d had diarrhea in the days prior, and it was bloody. (He’d been prone to ulcers – this wasn’t completely unusual, but still… poor pup.)
I barely slept a wink Sunday night, mostly worried about what had to happen next. I went through all the scenarios in my head about what the right thing was, but I kept coming back to the thought that it was just his time. And when we took him out to poop every two or three hours overnight, watching him crouch and strain… I knew what we were facing.
The thing is, the chances of me coming home one day to find my dog dead of a massive heart attack or something was extremely unlikely. It’s not how dogs die. Dogs die at the vet’s office when you decide they need to go there… but it’s an awful decision to have to make.
I knew I couldn’t make an appointment for later in the week – I wouldn’t have been able to look at him for the days leading up to it. Martin’s work-week was particularly hellish… late nights abound. Plus hospital visits. And as it stood, I’d be worried about leaving my house for more than an hour without my dog crapping all over the place. We were nearing the end of the dog food too…
I had Oliver feed Charley some cheese, and told him to give him a good rub before he left for school. I had Ava Scarlett do the same – they both told him he was a good boy. I fed Charley some ground beef I was saving for dinner, mixed with chicken broth and some rice. When he’d finished his whole bowl, I scrambled him two eggs and gave him more rice. He ate it all without stopping.
Martin said he’d be okay without saying another goodbye – he couldn’t get away from work to join me though. So I took Chalrey to the vet in a taxi, and held him in my lap while we looked out the window together. He leaned on me. I was mindful not to cry too much – I didn’t want him to feel my stress. I think it worked, because he seemed calm. My poor, sweet little dog. My first little baby.
I didn’t cry until it was over.
I came home and cleared up the house of his stuff, and put his bed in the basement. I didn’t want Oliver to see the empty bed when he got home from school. It would be hard enough telling him… I was mindful not to cry too much. It was better for the children, I think.
We all hugged a lot.
On Tuesday, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, my body was sore all over from tension.
On Wednesday my mother-in-law was discharged from hospital after a five-week stay, and was going home to live her life. She will take her chemotherapy in a pill format… and we will see how it goes. I know how much happier she will be to be back in her place – this is a good thing. Now appears to be a good time to plan parties and things. Le sigh.
On Thursday, I learned that a pregnant friend of mine’s 6-month-old belly was having complications… she was to be induced on Friday to deliver a baby she knew would not survive. He was born (and died) Saturday morning.
That did me in. I’d barely been able to stop sobbing since then. I couldn’t write anything without weeping. I couldn’t write because the peripheral view around my kitchen computer where I do my work is missing a doggie bed with a stinky dog laying in it. I couldn’t write anything until I felt better.
So here I am – feeling a bit better. Still sobbing sometimes, and thinking about the circle of life, but as I type this, I hear the squawking of newly hatched baby starlings, nested in the brick over one of my kitchen windows, and I’m reminded that life goes on.
Everything is okay – this, too, shall pass. There are birthday parties to attend, and laundry to fold, and books to read, and babies to greet, and rain or shine, we’ve got soccer at 5 PM, so let’s lace up the cleats and don those shin-guards – we’ve still gotta go team, go!
One day at a time.