Sunday, December 10, 2006

My dog is dying

Hard to write too much at the moment, but I feel like sharing some of this with many of you.

Heidi, The-Wonder-Dog is dying. She is in a great deal of pain, discomfort and confusion. Nothing we can do right now except make her as comfortable as possible and make it through the day and night to see how she does tomorrow.

It is very likely that we will take her to the vet to put her down, to ease her pain and let her go to wherever good dogs go.

Dammit, this is hard. I know, I know, everyone has had a good dog that dies at some point. But I really don't care. This is my dog and it is my pain that I feel.

Susan, of course is in as much pain or more. Heidi was her constant companion, and maybe even the child we never had. Susan and Heidi spent many days together when I was away, working in the Bay Area for almost 2 years. They bonded even more than Heidi and I did. I might have been the one who brought home the kill from McDonald's, but it was Susan who was sought out for comfort and succor.

Yeah, Heidi was our surrogate child and fuck you* if you think that's stupid or silly. If it seems that way to you, then stop reading and keep your comments to yourself...this post will mean nothing to you.

I've heard it said that a pain shared is halved. If that is true, then I cannot imagine what it would be like to carry this alone. For either of us.

It is amazing how these little creatures can sneak into your heart, create a warm space to reside and be part of your daily thoughts and important characters in fanciful dreams. It's amazing how they seem to rely on us for just about everything, when in reality we rely on them for so much.

I'll edit this later. Just thought I'd share for a bit. Maybe it helps.

ADDED 12/11/06: As the day progressed, Heidi's condition worsened. She was displaying signs of dementia, her back legs stopped functioning and she began to soil herself repeatedly. When she lay there and whimpered with each breath, there was no waiting until morning to handle it.
The phone call to a nearby 24-hour Urgent Vet Care was easy. The drive over there with the knowledge of what we must do and what outcome would result was not. Hard, wracking sobs mixed with rain-slicked roads made the trip a bit treacherous, but Heidi's soft moans kept me focused to get there as soon as possible.
The wonderful staff at the Vet hospital was immediately accommodating, understanding and kind. After a few brief forms were filled out and consolatory remarks expressed from everyone, Heidi's suffering was ended. It was peaceful and as graceful as these things can be.
The number of times that Susan and I cried, sobbed or just paused in grief-inspired reflection last night is lost to me. For the last month, both of us have wiped a tear after witnessing some other sign that her time was nearing the end. It seems that all we need to do is to recall her fuzzy face, sweet ways or observations such as that she never barked, except in her dreams, and the heart stabs return.
Certainly, most dogs are good dogs and have their own charming dog-ways. It's just that Heidi was our good dog and now she is gone. Our home will be a little less human with her not in it.
I'll add more in a bit. I need to thank this mongrel of extremely questionable parentage for doing so much for us. I should mention that whenever folks asked us what kind of dog she was, it was generally, "pure bred pound terrier" which seemed to satisfy just about everyone who asked. To be honest, there was no telling what various breeds were added to the soup to create Heidi. All I know is that it resulted in a very fine companion and sweet natured family member.

*Many years ago, we had a new neighbor that stated the obvious when she said something like, "Oooh, you don't have kids - so your dog is your surrogate child I guess - harrumph!" Standing in the street with her and another neighbor (Alison, who loved Heidi, too) I answered, "yeah...and your point is what?" Alison was so flustered that she merely said, very loud, "Gawd...what a bitch!"
The creepy new neighbor lady turned away suddenly and went back inside to suck on her wine bottle. Okay, that's not kind. I apologize. So maybe it was vodka, but I really think the old bat was drinking most of the day away. I'm a little sensitive when it comes to the child - pet comparisons. Geesh, I'm not a total nut, I know the difference between the two, for goodness sakes.
One you gotta send to college, the other gets rabies shots.


KellyKilmer said...

Terry & Susan,
I am so sorry that Heidi has died. I know the pain of losing a companion, a friend, a piece of your family like that. Over my life we've lost many "family members" (because, hey, when they greet you when you walk in the front door and cuddle up to you, then dammit they *are* family). First there was "Freckles", my first love. He was my Grandfather's Dog, my Mother's Dog, my Grandmother's Dog, MY dog, get the picture? He didn't belong to anyone, he loved everyone and was loved by everyone. Then when my Mom, sister and I lived with my Grandpa we had Danielle (a Black Lab that I adored) and numerous puddy tats: Felix, Alex, Candy and Andy. When you're 8 and afraid to go to the bathroom "upstairs" by yourself (going up the dark staircase) then a cat can prove to be a wonderful companion. LOL.
My own pet, Sandy, was killed by a car. I'll never forget coming home to finding our neighbor holding her wrapped in a blanket. Sandy was my friend. My sister also lost her cat to a car the exact same way. WHY we let the cats out and about in that neighborhood near that street, I'll never understand...but it still pains me to think about it.
Any ways I'm rambling and going on as I sometimes do...
I am sending lots of hugs and good thoughts to you and Susan right and understanding is all a friend can share at this moment..
Stay well and take care of Susan (and yourself)

T2 said...

Thank you for taking the time to send those very kind words. They really mean a lot.

G-man said...

I read your blog from time to time. It is one of my more favorite ones to read. Anyway, I want to let you know that this stranger from very far away sends his best wishes to you and yours.

I totally get what you're saying about people not getting the fact that these pets are more than that. They are part of the family and are real companions in every sense of the word.

Take it easy, dude. You did a good thing by ending Heidi's pain and stuff. It sucks, but I wish there was a way for that to happen for people.

Anyway...hang in there and write more.

DavePress said...

Sorry to hear that Terry and Susan. It's always tough losing a member of the family, and I always think that dogs are just that. We keep talking about cloning our dog so it won't be so bad when Alex eventually goes.

Anyway, Kelly Sue's blog put me in this direction so I just wanted dto say my thoughts are with you guys and Heidi (even if I don't know you directly, I just know it's tough losing a dog.)

Happy Holidays, guys.

--dave press

T2 said...

I've read your words as well as caught your comments on both Matt's and KS's pages, so your name is not unfamiliar to me. I truly appreciate you taking the time to send those good thoughts. It really means a lot to us.

Happy Holidays to you and yours, Dave.

billyboy said...

So sorry to hear about your dog. I think they should live as long as we do and then like the egyptians be buried with us to be with in the afterlife.
This was a sad story, but well written.

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry and Susan- hopefully you got my message on your voicemail, but just in case (and so others may see this), I am so sorry- I can't imagine how much your hearts are aching on behalf of your sweet little one. I loved her, too. Miss Heidi the Wonderdog Bock-Tyson was one of those little cute bits of wirey fuzz that would steal your heart in one glance. I remember how mom would brag on about getting to "baby-sit" her other fuzzy grandaughter when you guys had to go on trips - and I would come over to visit my "niece" - only to find her hiding under the furniture until it was about time for me to leave. I have often told you both that when I die, I want to come back as one of your pets. Heidi had the best life ever. You were blessed to have her and she was blessed to have you. And I know in my heart of hearts, she loved you, too. May she be happily playing with likes of the other Tyson family pets: Louie, Whimpy, Scruffy, Skeeter, Larry, Coal, Smokey, etc., etc. Much love and prayers- Tracey

Pope-rah said...

I don't know you and stumbled onto your blog by accident but after reading this post I feel I'm here by some sort of divine appointment. I've just gone through something similar with my "baby" (chihuahua) and your grief touched me. I'll keep you in my thoughts. Somehow it makes me feel like I'm not going through this alone. I'm sorry for your loss.

suzi finer said...

So touched by your loss (I have to clean up my tear-streaked face before I open the store; probably not the best time to have read this.) Anyway, sending love and good memories your way.

T2 said...

Thank you, Suzi...nice to hear from you, my friend.

berry said...

terry and susan,
im so sorry for your lose
ive been having bad dreams
of losing my best friend,
sparky the bassett hound who
is 15 years old, i love him so
much and it scares me to death
thinking about losing him and
your story touched me, really
it did and i know what you mean
by heidi being like your child
sparky is pretty much my best
friend and has always been there
for me when i needed someone to
talk to, im 13 and hes the only
dog ive ever known and had in my
life. to lose a best friend or
child like heidi or sparky is just
the most terrifying thought, its
truly my worst nightmare

thanks you for letting me share
deepest regrets

T2 said...

I can't tell you that it will be easy when Sparky leaves. It will be hard, very hard. And you will miss Sparky a great deal and think of him many times throughout the years.

The only real comfort I can give you is that we are so lucky to have good dogs in our life and it is our duty and honor to return the favor.

Take care and take care of Sparky. He appreciates it.

Mom said...

I'm so sorry that you lost your friend. Don't let anybody get you down with that child/dog thing. I have both, and my dog is getting ready to die, and my heart is breaking. People who think that one substitutes for the other have no hearts.

I hope you find another friend and that your hearts heal before long. Dogs love us and we love them, and what else, really, should life offer?

T2 said...

Thanks much...and our best to you during this hard time.

Anonymous said...

Hi, i just fel i should share this with you, unfortunatly my husband and i are loosing our best friendd Kiki has been with us for over 17 years now. It has become the time to let go. This is a very hard decision to make. My husband and i raised 5 children together and Kiki is part of this family that we love so much. As i am writing this Kiki is looking at me as if he was asking to let him go. My god how do you let go of someone whom had such a meaning in your life somenone who conforted you. My pain is with you as i feel i have to make the decision too.

T2 said...

My good thoughts are with you during this difficult time.