Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Heart is Broken

I loathe yesterday.

I despise today, too.

I'll probably continue hating the days until this throbbing pain in my heart dissipates.

You may recall my post about my miraculous, angel boy, Floppy. He was 15 years old at the time, and survived surgery to have his spleen removed due to a tumor growth that would cause him to bleed out if it wasn't. I nursed him back to health, watching him improve every day, until only a few days had passed and he was back to his normal self, like nothing had happened. Despite his arthritis he trotted around, he ate on his own again, he barked at random noises again, and he nudged our arms with his face to be pet again. Though he had trouble with the stairs sometimes, he was happy and healthy again.

Those of you who have had or currently have pets know the special bond that is shared between owners and pets. It is more than just love. It is a unique connection that really cannot be described to justice in words. They become part of your family, like any human addition would.

Speaking about dogs, they are more than loyal. They are always happy to see you, no matter how long you've been gone. They get excited about the little things, like going outside just to pee, going for a walk, or getting a new toy or treat. They get sad if you are upset with them. They feel guilty when they did something wrong. They get scared of loud noises, like firecrackers or thunderstorms (or in the case of our other dog, Nikki, everything). They empathize when you are upset, and want you to feel better. They help you when you are sick or hurt. Their emotions show in their faces and body language.

They become our babies, our brothers and sisters, and our best friends. And just like any human loved one, it pains us to see them sick or hurting.

I felt helpless these past few days.

Though Floppy was 16 and a half, it still seemed sudden that he became ill. He had been eating less, becoming extremely picky about his food, and lost a lot of weight. His arthritis got to him, and he could no longer climb the stairs. He stopped putting up a fight and let us carry him up and down. But he could still walk, still drink water, and he still loved affection. He was still himself.

Two days ago, on Sunday, June 3, he suddenly declined. He began throwing up everything he took in, and even more when his stomach was empty. He could no longer even stand up on his own, and simply lied on the floor on his side, body outstretched and staring at the wall. He was aware of our presence, but didn't have the strength or energy to acknowledge it any more than shifting his eyes slightly to look at us.

His breathing became both shallow and labored. He refused to take in anything, even his favorite treats and water. He couldn't put in any effort. I knew he lost weight and was thinner, but now he seemed sunken in, all skin and bones, like a skeleton. Every once in a while, he would summon the energy to sit up, either to throw up again or change his position. Other than that, he was completely still.

Watching him suffer and being so miserable tore at my heart. It just wasn't fair. He was always so sweet, so loving, so loyal, so good. It wasn't fair that he had to go through this pain, to suffer like this. He's supposed to live forever.

I prayed for him to stay. Please, Floppy, hold on. Please, feel better. Please, please, don't let go. Please, please, don't let this be his time. But, I knew.

As strong as he was, as much of a fighter as he was, I knew he couldn't hold on much longer. He could last a few more days like this, suffering, in pain, and die slowly of dehydration or worse things in his body that we couldn't diagnose.

We stayed by his side all night, consistently stroking his face, his ears, his body, his feet. We told him how much we loved him, what a good, beautiful, angel boy he was. We talked about how we hoped his mother, Lulu:

and his brother, Biscuit:

were going to greet him in doggie Heaven, and that maybe Biscuit wouldn't try to fight with him this time.

I tried to stay strong for him. We knew he didn't have much time left, and we wanted it to be filled with love. He had one last night with us, and we continued to be with him the next day into the early evening.

For his final hours with us yesterday, we brought him outside and laid him on a blanket. We continued to pet him, lovingly stroking his face and head and body. The clock ticked away all too quickly, and suddenly, it was time for him to go. I wasn't ready. My mom told me to say goodbye.

And I lost it.

The uncontrollable sobbing began. Tears streaming down my face, I replied, "I don't want to," and leaned over him, hugging him with my head against his. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I couldn't take in enough air between my broken-hearted sobs. "I know," my mom's voice cracked, hugged me from the side, crying with me, while I hugged her back with one arm and kept petting Floppy with the other. I didn't want to let him go. I had him since the day he was born... this couldn't be the end.

"It's time," my mom said much too soon, losing her grip on me. I stood, and watched her and my stepdad carry Floppy and the blanket into the back of the car. I ran to the other side, leaning in and hugging him one last time, my unyielding, unrelenting tears dampening his fur. I kissed his face and told him I loved him. I couldn't let him go. I couldn't accept this was the last time I was going to see him.

My mom hugged me again, both of us crying. She let go, reluctantly got in the passenger seat, and closed the door.

Standing in the garage, I watched as they slowly began to back out of the driveway. My heart shattered. They were out of sight before they hit the street, and I turned and walked back into the house, my unmanageable sobbing turning into violent, blubbering bawling. Nikki slinked out from behind the couch, and sadly walked over to me. I crashed to the floor, hugging her on my knees. I couldn't believe he was gone. I still can't.

This is the last picture I took of my Floppy, a little over a month ago, at the end of April:


My beautiful, sweet, angel boy. I hope you know how much I love you. How much we all love you. I can't describe how much I miss you already. I know you wanted to stay with us as much as we wanted you to stay. I really do hope that Mama Lu and Biscuit, and maybe even your sister, Woolite, if you remember her, were there to greet you, and you are running around doggie Heaven with no pain.

I don't know much about religion or if there is an afterlife, or even how I feel on the subject, but if there is a Heaven and I'm allowed in, my dogs better be there or I'm boycotting.



read to be read at yeahwrite.me

43 comments:

  1. My heart's breaking for you. I'm so, so very sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thank you, Amber. It's been so hard.

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  2. Oh I am so very sorry. I remember the loss of my first dog, Goldie, back when I was just a little girl. My thoughts are with you.

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    1. It never gets any easier, does it? Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Oh my gosh, you have the tears rolling down my face. So sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thank you. I don't mean to make you cry, too!

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  4. Sounds like quite a companion. What a blessing for you to have him for 16 years.

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    1. He really was. Up until his last day, he was loyal to a fault. Thanks for reading.

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  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how much those four footed kids become our families.

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  6. Oh I'm crying. i remember saying goodbye to my German Shephard Hank. It was such a hard day and I cried and cried. I'm sorry for your loss. You're right, pets do hold a special place in our heart!

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    1. Thank you, Carrie. There will always be a special section in my heart reserved for my furry babies.

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  7. Awww I'm so so sorry :(

    These dog pictures are beautiful.

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    1. Thank you, Gia. Can you tell that there is nothing going in Biscuit's head? Quite the looker, but no smarts at all. =P

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  8. Replies
    1. Oh, it is true. How could they not be there? I'll go wherever they go.

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  9. What a sweet tribute to a special member of your family. Very sad, I'm so sorry for you! Hope you can think of happy memories soon.

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    1. Thank you, Kerstin. I try to think if all the great times with him. Sometimes it helps. Thanks for reading.

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  10. Oh Floppy was so beautiful. So sorry for your loss. I remember losing my best doggy friend ever, and I cried ALL day, hugging her, and it is the hardest I've ever cried, even 15 years later. I wore a locket of her fur around my neck for a year and a half. The pain eases in time. A long time. But you'll never forget. I never did. My brother and I still get emotional when we think of how much we miss her.

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    1. Oh, yes. I can't remember the last time I cried this much, this hard. Maybe when the others passed. When Lulu passed, I kept a small patch of fur from her tail also. I'm still sad thinking about her, and she's been gone 9 years. Thanks for reading.

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  11. Oh wow Kerry, you brought me to tears. I remember losing my pup Sampson about 13 years ago. I was extremely heart broken. I believe our animals are on the other side waiting for us. They are as much family as are my children.

    I hope you find comfort and peace soon. He happier and free of pain :) Now its just going to take time for your heart to heal.

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    1. Thank you, Aneaya. Not much is making this better. I know he's free of pain, but I can't stand that he's gone. It breaks my heart to see that our other dog, Nikki, is sad, too. She's not herself, sulking, doesn't want to be alone. She won't even eat treats when we give them to her. She knows he's gone, and she hates it too. Thanks for reading and for you kind words.

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  12. I'm so sorry for your loss, it is so sad when you lose a pet, it's like saying goodbye to the last ten or fifteen years of your life. At least, that is how I felt about my two cats, both around 20 years old when I had to put them down. Now we have a lovable Lab named Misty.

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    1. Yes, it is like that. I feel like I lost a sibling. Wow, 20 years old! What a fantastic life. When we first got our dog Nikki, the place we got her from had named her Misty also. But she was young enough that she didn't know her name yet, and we wanted to give her one of our own. So we kept the same syllables and made it similar sounding for a dog. =)

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  13. I am so sorry for your loss. Everytime I get a pet, I must put these memories of my own behind me because if we remembered the pain, I don't think any of us would have the courage to go through it again.

    Your dog was absolutely gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. Through all the pain, having them in our lives for any amount of time is surely worth it. There is a reason pet owners live longer, happier lives.

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  14. I'm so sorry for your loss. He was a beautiful dog. We had to put 2 dogs down this past year - and it was rough. I feel for you.

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    1. Thank you, Kristen. I am sorry for your losses also. It is never easy. Thanks for reading.

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  15. I'm so sorry. There is nothing like unconditional love.

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    1. Thank you. It is certainly difficult to put into words. Thanks for reading.

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  16. That brings back such memories. So sorry for your loss

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  17. I'm sorry for your loss, Kerry. I feel you. Death is very difficult especially when it happens in the family. I have dogs because I believe that if you want a kid that never grows up, get a dog. But like any living thing, they have a life span and we must be ready to let go when the time comes. Although it's easier said than done. Be strong Kerry, Floppy is in a better place ;)

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    1. Thank you, Jamiey. I totally agree about dogs being like kids that never grow up. No matter how old they get, you can still talk to them like they are toddlers. =) Thank you for reading.

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  18. Crying here for you. It doesn't seem fair that our most loyal friends have such short lives. I hope you can find some peace in knowing he isn't suffering anymore.

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    1. Thank you. I kept saying the same thing, it isn't fair. Sometimes I like them more than I like most people, and they are the ones that leave us so soon. I hope he is free of pain and running around with his mama and siblings. Thanks for reading.

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  19. I'm so sorry... We are so close to being in a similar situation. My heart breaks for you.

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    1. Thanks Michelle. I'm sorry that you will soon be where I am. =(

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  20. I feel your pain we lost our four legged baby in December :-(

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  21. So sad. I'm sorry! He seems like he was a wonderful friend!

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