Friday, February 11, 2011

Missing Missy

If you're my friend on Facebook, you may already know that last night we had to put our dog, Missy, to sleep.

About 6 months ago, we woke up one morning to find Missy with facial paralysis on one side of her face. We took her to the Vet and she was diagnosed with Lymphoma. We put her on the strongest chemo treatment available and things were looking promising. The Vet was extremely pleased with how well she was responding to the treatment. Her face was almost back to normal and her blood work was what it should've been.

Then about 2 months ago, she starting having issues with her hind legs. Joe had taken her for a really long, hard walk through the woods behind our house. We brought her to the Oncologist and she could not figure out what was wrong. After having 4 other specialists look at her, it was determined at that time that she had either a muscle tear or sprain. We put her bed rest and some meds and she got better.


The hind legs started to look funny again so after consulting with the Vet, we put her back on the meds and best rest. Again she got better. Then gradually we started noticing that her front legs were looking funny. She started having a hard time getting up on the couch and bed. We made an appointment for her to see the Vet yesterday.

Joe carried her out to my car because of her difficulty getting up and down the stairs. I noticed when she was in my back seat that she couldn't put her left paw down. She kept trying to put it down but she could not unbend her "wrist" joint to get the paw down.

When I got to the Vet, I got her out of my car. The parking lot was icy, causing her to slip and slide. She plopped to the ground and looked up at me like, "Sorry, I can't do it." I stood there, in the parking lot, next to Missy, just crying. I knew it was bad. I called for one of the vet techs who was walking a boarded dog to help me. Together we carried her inside. She couldn't stand or walk at all. We laid her down on the floor and I plopped down on the floor with her. At that point I couldn't stop crying.

The Vet came out and helped me carry her to the exam room. I told him what was going on with her. After doing some neurological tests, he said that he felt she had another tumor on the ride side of her brain. He recommended that I take her to the Neurologist that day.

I called Joe and told him that I couldn't do this today by myself. Physically and emotionally, I was unable to deal with the situation alone. He turned around and met me back at the house.

We sat and seriously talked about her situation and the possibility of putting her to sleep. He felt that we had to do it that night. I felt that we had to get validation from the Neurologist before I was comfortable agreeing with him.

We took her to the Neurologist together. After she did a series of neurological tests on Missy, she said that the lymphoma had spread throughout her spinal cord and brain stem. Because we had already had Missy on the strongest chemo, there were no other options. There was the validation.

We called a Vet who will put your pet to sleep in your home. He said he could be at our house between 6:30pm and 7:00pm. We spent our remaining time with Missy loving on her. We fed her all of the yummy people food that she wasn't allowed to eat before, including mashed potatoes, ice cream and Doritos.

When the Vet arrived, we brought her upstairs and laid her on her doggy bed. We laid around her, holding her and giving her kisses. He first gave her some anesthesia to put her to sleep. When he was sure that she was completely out of it, he then injected the pink medicine of doggy death into her left front leg. I had my head on the side of her chest. I listened as her heart stopped beating. Then I watched her take 3 quick breaths. Those were her last.

He put the stethoscope to her chest and pronounced her dead.

And it fucking hurts. So, so bad.

Some people do not understand how people get so attached to their pets. I was once one of those people. But I get it now. They're amazing, loyal, loving pets. And I know that I'm supposed to remember the good times so I'm going to list the good things about Missy.

Missy loved to spoon! She was happy to see me every time I walked in the door. She would get jealous when Joe and I would kiss or hug. Every time she saw Ethan, she would grab her favorite toy to play tug. If she was laying next to me, and I didn't have my hand touching her somewhere, she would make this low, whining, growl sound until you put your hand on her. It didn't matter where, as long as it was on her. She thought she only weighed 10 pounds. I know this because she felt it was OK to put her entire 70 pound body on top of mine.

Every time she farted, she wouldn't look at you. She would turn her head away and then leer at you from the corner of her eye. The mailman was her nemesis. Whenever he'd put the mail in our mail slot, she would bark and run up the stairs, through the kitchen, slide on the dining room floor and then stick her snout through the mail slot. If she was lucky, there would still be mail there, which she would rip out of the mailmans hands!

Missy loved watching me cook. She would stand there in the kitchen, just waiting for a morsel of food to fall to the floor. Then she'd suck it up like a vacuum. When I'd make mashed potatoes, she'd stand right next to me. I'd always let her lick the beaters when I was done. If I wasn't fast enough, she'd do that low, whining growl sound. Against Joe's wishes, I would let Missy lay next to me when I was eating. Her nose would get closer and closer to my food until I'd say, "Missy!" Then she'd quickly move her head away. Occasionally, she'd sneak a lick off my plate.

She LOVED being outside. She would stand at the top of the hill in our back yard and just look around for something to bark at. We let her sleep with us in the bed. She somehow would manage to have her entire body between my legs, and she'd rest her head on my thigh.

I taught her to give kisses. I taught her to bark when I'd say, "Do you love me?" I taught her to bark when I'd ask, "Do you want a treat?"

When I took her for rides in the car, she would squeeze her head in between my seat and the inside of the car, and plop her head on my left shoulder as I was driving.

I could go on with the happy memories, but this post is long enough. Just know that Missy was a great dog and she was loved just as unconditionally as she loved us.

17 comments:

Joe Nobody said...

Sorry to hear that I know those things can be hard on you.

Jim McKee said...

Thanks, you made me cry!!!

;-]

Osbasso said...

Lots of memories to be had, it sounds like. Condolences to the whole family...

Joker_SATX said...

My sincerest condolences on the loss of the member of your family. That is tough and tragic. I am hoping that you both are coping OK with it.

Jim said...

Very very sorry to hear about that, April. I went through something similar about a decade ago, with a little lab mix that I'd had from a puppy. At 17, he just kind of gave out one day, and couldn't get up . . . took him to the vet, and there wasn't much she could do for him, but she knew he was in some pain, so it was time to go. I kissed his little round head, told him I loved him, and thanked him for being such a good friend, while she gave him a shot to put him to sleep.

As tough as that was, the worst part was having to tell my kindergartener why his dog wasn't around, when he came home from school that day. Still makes me tear up to this day, thinking about his little shocked, crying face.

That sort of thing reminds us to treasure the time that we DO have with someone, person or pet, and thank you for sharing Missy's story with all of us.

XO

f1trey said...

IM sorry..... :( had to do that myself last year....

Grant said...

I had to do that once. My dog's last meal was egg drop soup, followed by strawberry yogurt.

I could never understand people who didn't understand why you could love a pet. Do they think your ability to care about something should be based on your estimate of their intelligence? A lot of my coworkers just became edible if so.

Hubman said...

Your description of Missy's final evening at home, and the people food, made me cry. What a perfect way to say goodbye to a member of the family.

I'm sorry for you and the rest of the family :-(

Another Suburban Mom said...

I am so sorry for your loss. You did right by Missy and you should always rememebr that. Missy knew she was a cherished member of the family and I know she will be missed by all of you.

RIP Missy

UP said...

I had to put my Dagmar down on my 50th birthday...as if I wasn't depressed enough...I still miss her and it's been 8 and a half years. She was the best dog ever, so sweet, unconditional love...

I feel ya'

UP

Kira said...

I'm so sorry :( Anyone who has ever had to do the same thing can feel your pain immediately. I've been through this experience several times in my life, and it never gets easier. But I am so glad that each one of my pets became a part of our family, and I wouldn't trade those memories for the world. I'm glad you have so many good ones too.

Britni TheVadgeWig said...

I'm so sorry. My dog is getting old and sick, and I'm dreading the day we have to do this. The love and affection you have for a dog is special and like nothing else in this world. <3

Christine said...

I'm so sorry, April.

Randi said...

That was a beautiful tribute to what sounds like a great dog.
xoxo

Heather said...

I am bawling....!!!! Pits are great dogs and they do get a bad rap sometimes. So many of the things you described, reminds me of my put, Harleigh, especially taking a lick off of your dinner plate! lol I can only offer my sympathy but I like to think that Missy is still watching over you and always will!

Lovebug6100 said...

As I sit here reading your post, tears are pouring down my face. In July, I lost a cat who meant so much to me and was as much a part of me as any human in my life has ever been...I understand how difficult it is...and I am truly sorry for your loss - from one pet loves to another...

Marcus said...

I know this is late but I am sorry for your loss. My family had to put our Beagle to sleep back in August and I still tear up when I think about her. I took it hardest because she was my dog. She was part of the family but we had a strong bond. It get better gradually but you love the dog and the dog loves you so there is a missing piece that never quite gets filled.