It’s been several months now and I can finally write a little tribute to our Abby…
She was the perfect dog for Mr. Wonderful. Quiet, sleepy and not much trouble.
When we first began dating, I arrived at his place where he had fixed me this fantastic meal of grilled pork tenderloin, garden salad, herbed potatoes and broccoli.
And then it happened.
Abby jumped on up on a chair and put her front paws up on the table. It was obvious to me that she was very comfortable sitting at the table like a human being. She’d done it for a long time.
Over time, I watched Mr. Wonderful baby this dog. She was his little girl, and the love of his life at that time. He often says that when she accepted me into her life, it was the final confirmation to him that we belonged together. Our two dogs, who had previously not done well at accepting other dogs into their lives, instantly curled up together to go to sleep.
Abby was not a very active girl. She enjoyed sleeping 23 1/2 hours of the day except to eat and to go outside to use “the facilities”. Sometimes, she would surprise us by doing her favorite awake activity which was pouncing at the fence at the other Shih Tzu’s next door.
I am usually the first one up, so I let the dogs out first thing. This particular morning, Abby stumbled down the steps, which is not uncharacteristic for her. She was pretty groggy in the morning. It usually took a few shakes of her head to clear the cobwebs out before she could walk straight.
But something seemed off to me.
As I watched her walk out across the patio towards the grass, something about her head seemed a little odd…it was cocked back towards her back as if she was bothered by something. Was it fleas, I wondered? So I kept watching. Then I noticed that instead of meandering across the yard, like she often did, she seemed to be making a circle, and her head stayed in that same odd position.
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
I think Abby has had a stroke.
I ran in to get Mr. Wonderful, feeling a little panicked.
Over the course of the next day or so, Abby didn’t want to eat. In fact, she didn’t really seem to even want to get up to go outside.
Finally, a worried Mr. Wonderful told me he was taking her to the vet.
We loaded her up and drove down to our wonderful veterinarian office where they took her back and we sat and waited with some other folks, some with the same look of concern in their eyes as we had. Pets are cherished sometimes, just like a family member, and we all sat in that waiting room together anxiously knowing when that staff member walked out to talk to us, it could go good…or really bad.
It’s a horrible place to wait really, in that vet waiting room.
Finally we got the report.
There was some hope. They believed it was a condition they could treat with steroids and they wanted to keep her and observe her for a few days. That night, we said our goodbyes and headed back home leaving a little piece of our family back at that vets office.
Our vet’s office is a pretty unique place…over the next few days, we got to go and visit her. They have a special visiting room for owners where you can play with, hold and love on your sick pet. They also have an outside playground that is huge. There are baby strollers you can set your pet in if they can’t walk and take them for a stroll, and there are chew toys and balls and benches.
Sadly, we weren’t seeing much of a change in Abby. She didn’t seem to recognize us when we were there but on a brighter note, her head had straightened out. After the 2nd night, the doctor wanted to give her one more day.
On the second night she was at the vets, we headed up to the vet clinic after work one night. It was dark and a little cool and Mr. Wonderful was struggling with the decision he’d have to make. Men are a little funny in that they really struggle with emotions. He almost seemed a little afraid of spending time with her…this wasn’t HIS Abby…her mind just wasn’t there anymore.
The nurse made a comment about that maybe he could get Abby to eat. Mr. W reluctantly agreed, with a little prompting from me and we took her to the visiting area. I got down on the floor and first got her to eat a few bites. When he saw her respond, something clicked in him. He realized that she was responding to her loved ones and he got down on the floor with her. He scooped up some of the wet dog food in his hand and began murmuring to Abby…”C’mon baby, eat just a bite.”
And then it happened…
Abby started scarfing up the food. Hearing her Daddy’s voice triggered something in her. While she couldn’t stand up…she did eat..and she ate alot.
Mr. W got more encouraged and he managed to get her to eat the entire bowl.
A little later, we took Abby out to the back play area…she tried to walk, but it was just too difficult. Mr. Wonderful just picked her up, held her in his arms, and right there on the astro turfed play yard, he danced with his Abby. He sang to her and stroked her head. It was the most beautiful goodbye to his girl.
Later on, we made the tough decision to let her go.
We sat in a cold doctor’s examining room. Jason had come up to sit with us and we watched while they injected her IV line with the liquid that would put her to sleep. Mr. Wonderful held her poor little body in his arms, cradling her like a baby.
I’ve never been there with any pet for this process. We all three cried like babies and we didn’t care. I don’t know what I expected but it was as peaceful a thing as I’ve ever witnessed. Slowly we saw her sides stop going up and down. He talked to her the entire time, telling her to sleep in peace.
After many minutes of all us talking to and petting her, we had to walk out of that cold sterile office and go home. It didn’t seem right. I felt so guilty even though I knew she was no longer with us.
I snapped the above pictures with my cell phone. It may seem odd to you, but over the next several days, Mr. W looked at these time and time again.
It’s been since November, and I thought I could write this story now, but still as I sit here, tears still flood my eyes. For anyone who has ever had a cherished friend in a pet, feels the deep pang of loss when they read these stories.
I am a big believer that dogs and pets will be in heaven…
We miss you Abby.
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