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.