Loki 

My Dearest Obi – 

It has been 96 Days since you left us. That’s three months and 4 Days. And not a day goes by that I don’t think about you. You will always be my baby and I cannot wait until we meet again. Maybe we already have. For today we adopted Loki. He is a very special (early) birthday present to me from my dearest friend, who knows how much I miss you.  

Loki is almost 8 weeks old and looks very much like you did as a puppy.  I would love it if he were you coming back to earth to spend another life with me.  Only time will tell if that’s possible. But regardless, you will always be special to me.  I will Love Loki as much as I loved you, and I hope he loves me as much as you loved me.  Please watch over your little brother, and if you can, please help him learn the ropes. 

I will love you forever my Obi. 🐾💙

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Nailed It!

On behalf of the Owen Graduate School of Management, I am pleased to offer you admission to Vanderbilt’s Master of Management in Health Care Class of 2016-2017.”  In July of 2016, I read these words and cried.  I had been accepted into grad school, but not just any grad school, Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School.  I was one of only 34 people selected for the MMHC program from a pool of hundreds.  And on Saturday, August 13th, my journey began.

I was as nervous as I could be on that first day, for I was only one of a few people in the class who were not already in a management position of some sort.  The rest of my class consisted of business managers, healthcare and insurance administrators, nurse managers and doctors, all of whom I would be spending the next 13 months with.  It was intimidating, to say the least.  Unlike most school programs, I would be with this small group of 33 people, in the same room no less, throughout the duration of my graduate program.  Yes, I was intimidated.

However, over the course of the next year, I would quickly learn that we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  Even I knew some things that a few others did not.  I learned that we all are intimidated by something, and we all have our own personal struggles.  We only lost one person in the program, who left due to personal reasons.  But from the 32 who remained on board with me, I learned a great deal about business, healthcare, and myself.

This past Saturday, September 23, 2017, I was proud to walk across the stage as I gave my final speech and received my diploma (well, an unofficial one; the official one will arrive in a few weeks).  The emotions were overwhelming.  We all felt a tremendous amount of relief knowing that there are no more papers to write, no more presentations to give, no more grades to make or deadlines to meet.  However, I was also sad, for I developed some wonderful friendships with these 32 unique individuals. Some I wish I had more time to get to know better.  Together we shared our personal struggles, personal victories, new marriages, new homes, common interests, family (and pet) deaths, and we even welcomed the birth of a baby, and there will be another on the way in the near future.  The day was certainly bittersweet.

The past year has certainly had its challenges, some of which I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude for the support I received in achieving this milestone.

To my Family –  Thank you for cheering me on all the way, with a special thank you to my daughters for living like orphans and feeding themselves on school nights! Especially you Klara; as if fending for yourself wasn’t enough, you took care of our precious Obi during his last few months when I couldn’t be here every day for him.  ❤

To my Best Friend Rick – Thank you for brainstorming with me and helping me get through all those papers and presentations.  Most importantly, thank you for pushing me to apply in the first place!  I couldn’t have done it without you. ❤

To my Capstone Team- We achieved an excellent start to a great endeavor I hope to see through fulfillment and beyond!! I look forward to what the future holds for us!

To my Fellow Classmates – Thank you all so very much for sharing your expertise and more importantly, your lives with me.  You made this program enjoyable, and I am so thankful we took this memorable journey together.  I pray we can stay in touch and continue to celebrate what has yet to come. Most importantly, WE NAILED IT!!

So after 3 and a half years of school in a row between my bachelors degree and masters degree, what do I do with all this extra time on my hands?  A little R&R? More concerts? A vacation?  Perhaps a PhD?  Only time will tell.  To be continued…..

Dear Obi

My Dearest Obi,

41 days. That’s how long it has been since you’ve been gone. I had my last real cry when it was exactly a month. That was the day your ashes came home. Since then I feel like you’ve given me permission to let go. Maybe it’s just me giving myself permission now that you have “come home”.  I’ve been doing better. I looked at puppies yesterday that were up for adoption. They were adorable, but I couldn’t take any home. They weren’t you. But I was still alright. Maybe I felt ok because I had you at the forefront of my mind.

Ivy

Then I let go of thinking about you and dogs in general for the day and went shopping. That’s when I was surprised with grief again. I passed the dog food aisle and saw the treats. Just for a split second I thought about picking up some treats for you. Just a split second. Maybe it was the surprise of the unexpected, subconscious thought, but it brought back my grief. I got through it by letting myself get distracted. Even adopted another kitty that evening. A black one named Ivy. She will be for Klara to help her heal. She is still quite heartbroken over losing you just as I am. Ivy is a new friend for Baya too, as I’m sure she misses you as well. I can’t get a dog just yet. A dog will be mine. But I’m not ready yet.

 

Baya and Obi

Baya has been “taking great care of me” since you’ve been gone. Virginia’s cat, who at one time didn’t pay much attention to me, has now filled some of the holes you have left in my life. She is a part of my morning routine where you once were. She greets me when I come home like you once did. She has shown me so much love this past month, knowing full well that I needed it.  And she has also taken to sleeping in your spot on the bed at night. I didn’t think much about it until laying here this evening. It’s your spot. She knows it’s your spot. The alpha spot? Perhaps she is alpha now and that’s her stating so. I thought it was cute and moved over to snuggle with her. As I closed my eyes and pet her, the tears flowed. With my eyes closed I could feel you there. My Obi. My baby. I didn’t want to open my eyes to the reality, but there’s no way around it.

I miss you Obi. I will love you forever. Thank you for providing me with this small amount of comfort named Baya. It means more to me than you will ever know.

Love Mama 🐾💙

Baya

Bitter Sweet Memories

I thought I was getting better; healing from the loss of my sweet Obi. Each day seems a little easier. There are still small, sad reminders. My evening routine of giving my Obi food and water has been replaced with watering Obi’s tree…the tree we planted in his memory. But oh how I wish I was tending to him and not a tree. With his illness he would often get up at night to go out. I still wake up at 3 am, expecting him to be there and ready to go out.  There are countless other triggers that bring on sadness, but I am slowly learning to deal with them while replacing the sadness with good memories.

Then something so sweet, so beautiful takes place that the hurt is unleashed once again and the tears flow freely. Yesterday was one such day. I came home from work, no longer feeling the urge to cry when Obi doesn’t greet me at the door, as my daughter’s cat, has so lovingly volunteered to fill that void. She has been so loving and sweet, but I still feel the sadness.  I found the mail on the counter as I normally do, and what appeared to be two cards were on top. First I open a beautiful card from one of my best friends, Lori. She actually took the time to buy and send it while on her family vacation.  I could feel the tears building in my eyes, but I was still alright and touched by her thoughtfulness. I love you Lori. Thank you.

Then I opened the other card. This one was from my vet and his staff. Such beautiful words were written by everyone in the office, and because we frequented the vet so often these last few months, I knew they were sincere. They had gotten to know me pretty well, and they loved my Obi. I couldn’t hold back the tears and started to cry, and once again I relived his final moments in my head. But then I noticed something on the card. A paw print. At first it seemed like it was a part of the card and I didn’t think much of it. Then I noticed how it wasn’t centered, it was imperfect and smudged, and there was a small smudge from ink elsewhere on the card. Could it be? It is! IT’S MY OBI’S PAW PRINT! Now I was crying hard. Paws once so large for such a cute little puppy, but we were blessed that he would ultimately fill them.  Once he even sliced one of his paws open, our first of a few major vet visits.  So many times I heard those paws dancing through the house out of pure happiness. So many nights I lay in bed massaging those paws, sometimes tickling him and he would pull away. So many happy memories. Now so many tears. Such a beautiful gesture from the most caring veterinary clinic I have ever been to. It’s not my baby, and it cannot replace him, but I will treasure this card for eternity, for it bears a part of him that I will never see or touch again. Such a precious memento.

I will always love you Obi. 💕🐾

Think Before You Judge or React

As my daughter Virginia pointed out, have you ever noticed how detached from humanity people become in certain situations like when they are online while sitting behind a computer, or sitting behind the wheel of a car?  It amazes me how in both situations people will 1) gain a lot of confidence to say what they wouldn’t possibly say in person to someone (even things they shouldn’t say), 2) become quite righteous, 3) are quick to point fingers, 4) will never admit to being wrong, 5) are extremely judgmental…and the list goes on and on.  I’d like to share two.

The Dog in the Hot Car – Now I am a SERIOUS dog lover.  In fact I love dogs more than people.  I won’t bother to justify my love for dogs here, for those who know me already understand.  I am also against taking a dog anywhere in a car during hot summer months, IF you can avoid it.  Sometime this cannot be avoided – 1) going to the vet, 2) traveling long distances when your dog is going with you, or 3) transporting a rescue dog.  I am sure you may be able to come up with a few more scenarios, but for the sake of time, we will stick with these.  

Today I saw a Facebook post where a person came across a car in a grocery store parking lot with a dog in it; the window was down.  This good Samaritan called the cops, and the cops said it was legal as long as the window was down,  and I will repeat, it was down.  It also sounded as if this person came out of the store rather quickly, although no time frame was given on the post.  Of course the comments were flying off  the page condemning this lowest of the low person for torturing this dog in a hot car and how they needes to sit in a hot car hours on end to see what it’s like. Now at first, I too, was like WTH?!  But the law protected this person since the windows were down.  Why?  Then I had to ask myself some hard questions…Why was this person traveling with the dog?  Were they on their way to the vet?  Was this the dog’s last car ride ever (something I sadly experienced all too recently)?  Or even better yet, did this person live locally and were just running to the store (a serious no no if you ask me), or were they traveling a long distance with the dog and they had no choice but to stop?  Maybe it was a rescue dog they were transporting and they had to stop to get the dog water.  The scenarios could be endless here, and the fact of the matter is that no one truly knows.  I took a closer look at the picture. The car had a temp tag and a license plate frame that was NOT local. So obviously this person wasn’t just running to the store and carelessly taking the dog for a ride.  They also had the windows down, knowing that the dog was going to be hot.  So did anyone take any of these details into consideration?  Of course not.  Would you?  But then again, they were sitting at their computer making their judgments and accusations far separated from what was really happened.  Everyone insisted this bystander should have broken the cars windows….why?  They were already down!!  I feel for the poor dog.  I also feel for the person who finds himself in a desperate situation.  Again I reiterate I’m against dogs in hot cars; however I have traveled long distances with my pooch and it cannot be avoided 100%. So I couldn’t help but add a little logic to the situation.  Now I am being condemned for actually thinking.  Oh the irony.

There was another situation on Facebook where I was once also called racist because I pointed out some history of slavery that didn’t corresponded with a white liberal woman’s view of the subject.  This so-called history major could not fathom there being white Irish slaves or black African tribes who sold off other tribal members into slavery.  This also made me laugh since one of my very best friends is black.  I just wanted people to stop jumping on band wagons and to start doing some true research before passing judgment.  No such luck.  In this day and age of internet righteousness, some people will never research or admit they could possibly be wrong.  I had to simply back out of the conversation and ask her to just block me so I didn’t have to deal with her ignorance any longer.  Unfortunately for me, that white liberal crowd had already passed their judgement on me.  Lucky for me I truly don’t care.

Road Rage –  Another scenario that plays out all to often that shows how people become disconnected from humanity when they are isolated (this time when they are in their car) is road rage.  I can easily get mad at people when I’m driving, and while I may call them names to myself, I don’t publicly react or show any reaction, because I know that I do not fully know what has taken place.  For one, I have made my own stupid driving mistakes of cutting someone off that was in my blind spot and I didn’t see, or turning in front of an oncoming car during a moment of bad decision-making on my part.  But so many people are extremely quick to react.  People will chase other cars down in retaliation, whether it be to get them back or even start an altercation.

Back in December, my then 16-year-old daughter and I were in a scary situation.  I turned out of our neighborhood onto a slightly busier country road.  When I turned on the road, there were no other cars.  By the time I was approaching the end of the road, there was a pickup truck just feet from my back bumper.  I had a long busy day moving into our new home, and I was tired, so I was probably going slower than the speed limit.  I was also approaching a stop sign, so there was no reason for me to speed up.  Instead I tapped my brakes just to get them to back off.  When I stopped at the stop sign to turn right, the truck attempted to go around me to turn right in front of me.  Oncoming traffic made him stop.  Once I turned, he turned and started to pass me, but while he was still beside me, he attempted to come over and run me off the road.  I had to brake…HARD.  Once he came over, maintaining his speed, I resumed my speed.  He then slammed HARD on his brakes.  I had to brake so hard I narrowly missed him by inches, and a car behind me narrowly missed me.  My daughter and I were terrified at this man’s erratic behavior.  I instantly called the police.  He repeated slamming on his brakes again then took off at a high rate of speed.  I think I got the license plate correct, but I was so shaken I wasn’t 100% sure.  When he was about 100 yards in front of me, I saw his reverse lights come on.  He was backing towards me.  I am sure I sounded panicked to the police department, but I couldn’t help it.  Before I got too close, he drove forward again and slightly turned off at the next road. I think he was going to wait for me to pass then get behind me again, but there was another car behind me that got in his way, and he just took off. I never saw that truck again, but you can believe I have been on the watch for it ever since.  I do have a concealed carry permit, but I have never in my life felt that I needed to carry a gun.  That night made me think twice.  What if he had gotten out of his truck?  What would he have done to me and my daughter?  Did he think we could possibly have been a real threat to him?  I just wanted him to back off my tail end before he hit us.

Another more recent incident happened with my teen daughter.  I went out of town and she ended up in severe pain requiring medical treatment.  Her boyfriend was rushing her to the doctor while she was on the phone with the doctor and he accidentally cut another man off.  There was no ill will intended. He was simply a teenage boy panicking because he didn’t know what to do or where he was going.  It just so happened they ended up at a traffic light next to this man.  The man started yelling at my daughter and her boyfriend, stating that his kid was in the car and if they had hit him he would have killed them.  Seriously?  If they had hit the car, it would have been a minor fender bender and his kid would have been fine.  I know, because my children have been in car accidents as passengers.  They turned out just fine.  Guess what, most people do.  So a front fender is worth two lives?  Here’s another shocker…cars are repairable, replaceable and won’t be in your life forever anyway.  Now the life of a person…tell me how they compare.  What this man didn’t know…didn’t care to know, was that these were two scared kids… and at that moment my daughter was in severe enough pain that she ended up going to the emergency room.  For reasons such as this, whenever a person cuts me off I try to keep it in perspective…what is happening in their life?  Did they just lose a loved one?  Do they have an emergency?  Or maybe they just didn’t see me…we all have blind spots.

You may not like my take on these situations, you may come up with your excuses to support people similar to the ones I’ve describe.  You may also come up with excuses for your own reactions in these instances, but before you react, or before you even comment on this post, ask yourself some hard questions.  People want to view the world as black and white, but it’s not. I know I’m not usually a logical thinker, so I know it can be hard to think critically sometimes.  But try some critical thinking.  Try to think of what the bigger picture may be.  Then think about how this world would be if everyone did just that.  Imagine that.

 

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By Kris Heaton Posted in World

The Hard Hits

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It is so very hard to believe that at this very moment one week ago, I was saying goodbye to my beautiful Obi.  It has been a very difficult week for me emotionally. There are still many people who don’t understand.  I can’t blame them.  After all, to them he was just a dog.  But you see, he wasn’t just a dog to me.  He was a major part of my life.  For 9 years he was my morning routine, my evening routine, my snuggle buddy.  He loved me like no other creature could, and I loved him just as much in return.  An unconditional love.  Love like that is truly rare.

The first day was excruciating.  The second day unbearable.  By the third day, I had talked about it to so many people so much and it started to get a little easier to deal with.  Over the course of the week, the pain has lightened, but it hasn’t been without its moments of hard hits.

  • The silence each and every time I walk through the door.
  • Getting up in the morning to let Obi outside, only to realize I don’t have to get up.
  • Turning to feed him my leftovers, only to realize he’s not there.
  • Wanting to ask for a doggie bag so I can take my leftovers home to him.
  • The habit of returning home from a long day to ask if anyone has given Obi his medicine.
  • Shutting my bedroom door, and briefly thinking I better leave it open so he can get in…but he won’t be coming in.
  • Realizing, that even when I’m feeling ok, my daughter has had her share of moments and we break down in tears together.

There were many more moments that brought me to tears throughout the week.  I am quite thankful for the many people in my life who let me cry when the moment would hit me out of the blue.  I did receive a new source of affection, however.  My daughter’s cat, Baya, who didn’t want me to love on her very much before, has stepped in to help fill a void.  One day when I walked in from work to a silent house, I was about to break down crying, and she ran to me and provided me with some much-needed affection.  Aware of my morning routines to let Obi out while getting my coffee, she now runs to the backdoor as I make my coffee, and she and I go outside together.  We repeat the same thing in the evening.  She has started showing me a great deal of affection whenever I am sitting still.  She has even kneaded my head as I lay in bed.  I believe she knows my grief, and I am pretty sure she knows her love is greatly appreciated right now. God has truly provided humans with a gift…the gift of animals.  Only they truly have a pure and unconditional love void of any expectations or judgement.  He knew what he was doing when he offered us pets.  Sadly there are many people who won’t ever know that feeling.  Perhaps they are lucky in some way, because their hearts won’t be torn to shreds when they lose that love.  I, however, believe they are missing out on the greatest gift life has given us….unconditional love.

I will love you forever Obi. I know you are with me, but I look forward to the day I can hold you again.

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The Pain Lingers…

Grieving is a tremendously hard process.  I know the stages of grief – I took many psychology classes.  But does that help a person through it?  Nope.  I also know bringing the subject up again and again will only spark beautiful comments from people who care, and those comments will bring me to a waterfall of tears once again.  But still, I write.  I have to write.  I have found that writing is my therapy.  It’s my way to say, “Hey I Love You”.  It’s my way to say I’m hurting more than I ever dreamed.  It’s my way to keep from breaking down, even though I will anyway.  But it is what I feel I have to do for me.  My baby.  My pup.  My love.  My Obi is gone.

As if the trip to the vet yesterday wasn’t hard enough, the pain continues.

First it was arriving home.  Before even getting out of the car, I had to take his dog bowl (the one that held all those ice cubes just hours before) and his leash out of the car with me.  One of the girls already had his collar.  Just the act of picking it up off the floor sent me into another round of tears.  I sat in the heat of the car for a while, not feeling the temperature at all.  But it’s what came next that was even harder.

Whenever I would walk in the door, my baby would be right there to greet me with his “dancing feet”, claws tapping on the floor, spinning circles.  The biggest sign of affection one could ever experience.  As he got sicker and sicker, his “dancing feet” quieted down, but he never failed to greet me at the door.  If I managed to sneak in without him knowing, it would only be a matter of seconds before he would come running down the stairs in anything but a graceful manner.  He was simply the most loving, most adorable creature I have ever had in my life.  And yesterday…yesterday I walked in that door to silence.  I now believe that the most heartbreaking sound anyone could ever hear is complete silence.

When I learned of his illness, I made myself a promise that I would plant a tree in his honor when he left us.  So we went out and bought a tree.  When I returned home, there was that dreadful silence yet again.  I tried to be productive, so I went into the office and sat on the floor to take a measurement of a picture frame I was working on, but it only reminded me that he would normally follow me and be laying on the floor beside me.  I just rolled over onto my back and lay there sobbing yet again.  Can a person ever run out of tears?

Everything I did the rest of the day reminded me of him.  Why do I feel like I am obsessing?  The tears would dry up for a little while.  Then something would spark them all over again.  I was almost relieved when it was time for bed.  I was exhausted.  I needed to sleep.  But sleep would be difficult.  My love was no longer in bed with me.  The weight of him at my feet was gone.  I didn’t have to shift my legs around his body to get comfortable.  There was only emptiness.

I slept for a little while, and I vaguely remember dreaming of him.  Oh how I wish I could remember that dream.  Instead what I remember are the dreams that took place in the hours that followed. Hours of on-again, off-again sleep.  These dreams were filled with animals of all sorts, but none of them were him.  I would pet an animal here or there, and I would say, but it’s not Obi.  Where is Obi?  And I kept looking for him in those dreams.  But he was gone.

Three a.m. came.  It was very normal for Obi to wake me around 3 a.m. to go outside.  I still woke up.  I lay there in the silence.  Eventually I think I slept.  Unfortunately I was met with more restless dreams.  I almost looked forward to morning.  But the morning held its own challenges. You see, my morning routine for years has been to wake up, let Obi out, feed him and then have some coffee.  More recently it included actually cooking breakfast for my baby.  Today was drastically different.  My alarm went off, and again I just lay there.  I didn’t have to get out of bed for 30 more minutes.  I didn’t have to go downstairs to care for any other living soul.  The only thing that would require me to get up would be to make myself some coffee.  So I did.

As I made my coffee, Virginia’s kitty, Baya, stood by the back door.  She knew Obi’s routine.  In her brief few months with us, she learned it and she joined us each morning.  Today she sat at the back door.  Waiting?  I don’t know, so I picked her up and took her outside for a minute.  And just for a moment, a very brief moment, I could imagine Obi standing there beside us looking out across the yard.  I wanted to say, come on Obi when I turned to go back inside.  I think I just may have. Maybe he was there beside me.  I hope so.

Now it’s back to work.  A slight distraction from the reality that is heartbreaking.  But only slight.  For I can’t help but reflect on some of the other times I have written about him here.  Funny times, silly times, even gross times.  But all gloriously wonderful times I would take back in a heartbeat (even the gross ones) just to have him by my side.

I am sure one day I will have another pup.  I can only hope and pray he/she will be as wonderful as my Obi was.  They will have some big paws to fill, but I don’t think they will ever be able to fill this hole in my heart.  There is only one Obi, and he waits for me on the other side. Only then will my heart be complete once again.

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The Hardest Day of My Life

One thing about the human body truly amazes me….it’s ability to produce an endless amount of tears.  Just when you think you couldn’t possibly cry any more, you do.  That’s been the last 24 hours for me. The only way I know how to let it out, other than crying, is writing. Welcome to the hardest day of my life.

It’s Sunday night, July 9, 2017. It has been a long hard day with lots of tears.  As the CHF and DCM has taken its toll on my beloved Obi, he has slowly withered into skin and bones.  When he refused his dog food, I started cooking for him. When he refused that food, I bought fast food burgers for him. Now he refuses all forms of food. He he hasn’t fully  eaten since Wednesday (July 5th). He took his last bite of food (just a bite of hamburger) on Thursday.  By Friday he refused to drink his water. The only thing I can get him to accept at all is ice cubes.

My Obi has always been such an affectionate dog, especially with me. He used to cuddle with me by laying all 100 lbs of him right on top on me, his head on my chest.  Now he doesn’t want to snuggle with me at all. He will lay in bed with me, but he doesn’t want to be close.  He is still a “leaner”, and he loves to follow me and be as close to me as possible, but when he leans now, he doesn’t want me to put my hands on him. He just looks at me. His eyes are pleading for me to let him go.  I’ve known for some time; I just didn’t want to accept it. But now, as he turns his nose away from steak, staring sadly into my eyes, I can no longer deny that I must make the hardest decision of my life.

There is nothing else I can do now but cry. And I cried. You know the kind of cry that gets ugly and you find it difficult to say any words that can be comprehended…yeah that was me today.  When I was through I had dinner…hoping my boy would want just one bite of table scraps (he didn’t)…made some plans for the morning, and sent a email to my boss to let her know the news and why I wouldn’t be in on Monday.  Then I gave my precious Obi the one and only thing that seems to make him happy right now, a bowl full of ice cubes.

I choked back a new batch of tears as I told my boy that I am now OK with letting him go. I know he isn’t really leaving me in spirit, only on flesh.  That still doesn’t make this any easier.

Now it’s time for bed and Obi seems as anxious for morning as I am. Although I am sure he may be looking forward to it more than I.  He has already fallen asleep. His breathing is no longer gurgly…of course he hasn’t been drinking any water so that would explain the lack of water on his lungs. However, his breathing is heavy. It’s the kind of breathing you hear when someone is constantly out of breath.  I want so badly to snuggle with him one last time, but I don’t want him to leave the bed, so I let him decide when he wants to move closer.  I hope I can sleep.

6:00 am Monday morning. I tossed and turned so much last night. Even Obi seemed restless. At one point I even woke myself up crying. I know I was crying in a dream, but the emotions bled out of my dream and into reality and it woke me up. Even though I don’t have to be on a schedule today, I set an alarm to get up early. Now I’m rethinking that as I lay here wishing for more sleep with a headache pounding away.

My best friend just sent me a blog he wrote about me and Obi (See here.)  I read it and cried my eyes out. This time Obi was there. He came up and put his head on me as I lie here in bed. I have wanted this “snuggle” for days. I finally have one last hug from my baby. Now he seems to want me to get up.

I reluctantly get up and get some coffee. This would normally be my routine breakfast time with Obi; which late included cooking cheeseburgers for him. But not today. He no longer will eat anything, except ice cubes. So I sit here drinking my coffee while he seems happy eating a bowl full of ice cubes. I love my silly, sad dog.

Obi grows anxious so I hop in the shower to get ready. As always, my silly dog follows me everywhere. But I won’t shut him out.  At this point I think I’ve made myself sick. I don’t feel so well.


As I finish my shower I see him shaking uncontrollably. I throw some clothes on and he lies down on the floor. Omg is he going to make it to the vet even? I start to panic. I ask him if he wants to go for a ride and he jumps up; suddenly better. Silly sad dog. My heart is on a roller coaster ride.  My oldest starts to chastise me for waiting so long to do this. She has always been the one who acts more like the mom here. I start crying again, begging her not to do this to me. She understands and stops. The vet opens in 15 minutes, then I can call them. I need more coffee. I need aspirin for my headache. I wish Obi would cuddle with me.

It’s 7:20. This wait is killing me. He’s pleading me to go.

7:30. I call the vet. They will take us at 8:00. I’m crying again.

I brought a bowl of ice for Obi to enjoy in the car. He enjoys some of it before laying down on the back seat. I can hear that he is quietly whimpering.

We pass by cemeteries. A reminder that I’m not the only one who has ever lost a precious part of me. It sure feels like it though.

We brought the cat so she could say goodbye and understand why he won’t be home any longer. She provides comic relief on the car ride.  Perhaps she’s already mourning too.

We stopped at a new dog park by the dam. Of course there is one close to us now. Why wasn’t this here before, when I used to bring him walking with me here? There is one dog here. He greets her. He sticks his nose in the water a few times, but he never drinks. We are here only 10 minutes and he walks towards the gate. He’s ready. It’s 8:00. We are late for the vet. But then the vet’s office calls. He won’t be in until 8:30. We are no longer late. We hop back in the car and Obi continues eating his ice. I feel nauseous.

The universe is with me. Lightning Crashes by Live plays on the radio. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s about reincarnation. Now we are all crying. A more fitting song couldn’t have played.  It’s funny how the universe works.

8:23 – We are arriving at the vet. My heart literally hurts and I feel a pain in my chest.  My lungs feel tight and it’s hard to breathe. The cat is panting too. I think we both have anxiety. I know it’s psychosomatic. The song in the radio now – I’ll Be There for You by Bon Jovi, another fitting song. I reluctantly walk into the vet office.

As we are taken to a room, I’m given a form to sign. The second I put the pen to the paper, I could no longer see my own signature through my tears as they flow harder. They are going to sedate him. We will then be with him as long as we want. When we are ready, we have a button to push, alerting the vet to come in to euthanize.

8:30 – He’s been sedated. It’s tough on all of us. He’s letting us all love on him.

8:42 – He’s fighting sleep.  He’s down but his eyes remain open. His breathing is very heavy.

8:49 – He is asleep. No one wants to push the button.

8:53 – The button is pushed – I couldn’t do it. The vet comes in and shaves his leg. I keep the hair. He is injected. I keep my hand over his heart.

8:55 – I feel his heart stop. My baby is gone. For a very brief second, everything is calm and I’m ok.  But it is very brief.  Tears flow again

8:58 – There are still dramatic and very deep breaths coming from him. The vet told us this would happen, but he is already gone and it is the body’s normal reaction. It’s hard to watch.  More than that, it is ripping my heart out.

9:00 – I think we have witnessed the final deep breath.  We say our final goodbyes. There isn’t a dry eye at the vet office as we walk out.

This is undoubtedly the hardest day of my life.

Thank you for being a part of my life. I will miss you and love you forever my Obi Dobie.

Related Posts:

Facing the Inevitable

Day by Day

Pet Insurance – Such a Scam

Anticipating the End

 

Appreciation

Appreciation. It’s a funny thing. Some people live their whole lives feeling appreciated by those they love. Walking around beaming with pride from their very soul as if the very rays of the sun are coming from within. They know that their presence matters to someone, and that mere feeling pushes them from day to day with an exuberance to top their last.  Then some people live their whole life just wanting an ounce of appreciation from one truly pivotal person in their life. Whether it’s an abused spouse trying their damnedest to make their significant other show just a hint of happiness for having them in their life, or whether it be a silently ignored child just fighting for an ounce of affection from a parent who doesn’t seem to notice or care that they exist.


The universe itself thrives on appreciation. Those who live life with a thankful heart live life to the fullest. The more they appreciate what the universe has to offer, the more it wants to offer to them. People are very much the same. The more they feel appreciated, the more they want to do. Decades ago when divorce was less rampant, what kept families happy? Why did a man continue happily slaving at an endless job every day of his life? What kept a woman happily putting every meal on the table for her family? The key word here is “happy”. Those who happily did it most likely felt appreciated for these monotonous and mundane efforts.

Appreciation. Whether you look at it in extremes or in minute instances. It can make or break a person. Lack of appreciation can turn a heart cold. It causes divorces. It makes good employees leave good jobs. It can create tyrants. Or it can create a silent and deadly depression as it makes one’s soul slowly wither away. There is an endless array of circumstances that can befall a person when they feel unappreciated. Sure it may vary based on circumstances, but the fact of the matter remains.. we all seek to be appreciated in some form or another.


We may not all care about the amount of appreciation we receive. We may not all care if it comes from every aspect of our life. But I am pretty certain everyone has at least one key component in their life where a little appreciation means everything to them. A parent wanting their ever demanding kids to realize all the sacrifices they’ve made. A young child, wanting a parent to appreciate a drawing they worked so hard on. A star athlete wanting to feel valued by a respected coach. The best employee wanting to know the boss recognizes their efforts. A stay-at-home mom who lives life day-to-day with little adult interaction while her husband entertains late into the evening. Most don’t actively do things seeking appreciation, but they do notice when there is a lack thereof.


There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing to feel appreciated. A feeling that says, “Hey I see you.” “I acknowledge your efforts.” “I understand you.” Or “I am thankful for you.” A little appreciation can go a long way. It can make one’s efforts push beyond all expectations. But a lack of appreciation can go a long way too, as it can push a person down into the deep recesses of humanity. It’s the story often told in movies of triumph. It’s the story often told in movies of despair. It’s the unmentioned catalyst in both. But if you step back and focus on it, you’ll see its presence or lack thereof. You just may come to understand what it means to receive or show appreciation.


Appreciation. It’s very much like a smile; show a little and you may just change someone’s day…a server, a clerk, a stranger helping you on the street. But don’t stop just there, for we all tend to show more appreciation to those whose paths we will never cross again than we do for the very people right in front of us day-to-day. Don’t forget those who support you, whose very lives intertwine with yours. Those may be the very souls who need it the most from you. The people we become complacent with having in our lives. How quickly we grow to expect so much from them.  Make sure they know they are appreciated. Don’t take them for granted. For no matter how much you love them, people get tired eventually. Even if they stick it out, life offers no guarantees.  As the old saying goes: take time to stop and smell the roses. This too has always be just a little reminder about appreciation.