I'm new here. I'm not new to loving non-humans or to grief, but this loss has hit me like no other.
9 1/2 years ago a friend called and said their neighbor’s dog got out and came to them. My friend said the poor puppy was half starved and that they'd been trying to get the dog from the neighbors because the pup had been abused. The 'owners' had used her as a football. Another dog had died and the body was left in the un-mown grass in the yard.
My husband drove across town to get this puppy while I prepared my other K9 Kids for her arrival. I didn't know what kind of dog or anything - just that she needed me.
My husband brought her back in a pet carrier and when he sat the carrier on the kitchen counter and opened the door My Katy leaped into my arms - we both knew in an instant that she was home. She raised her head and Wooooo’d at me! Kate was a Wooo’r extraordinaire! For all her prior abuse - she lavished me with kisses - probably because I was lavishing her with kisses and tears. She wiggled in my arms, turned on her back like a human baby and I rubbed her tummy.
The bond that began forming on the drive home when her 'daddy' talked to her and told her that her new mommy was waiting was cemented in that first split second.
My Katy had come home. I’d been waiting for HER my whole life. I love my others – they are my kids too – I am their momma. But Katy was different. I can’t explain how – she just is. I became her whole world and she was the light of my life.
On Saturday, October 23, 2010 I noticed her tummy looked somewhat distended. She didn’t seem too bothered and I thought maybe she was constipated – I hadn’t seen her poop in a day or so. My fellow parents of non-humans know about poop-monitoring.
She seemed fine on Sunday and Monday – running around and playing. Her eating and drinking were fine. By Tuesday I knew she needed to see her doctor though and before we could bring her in on Wednesday, we ended up at the Emergency clinic at 9pm. We left there at 3am in tears and fear.
It wasn’t bloat as I thought – in was suspected cancer on her spleen and internal bleeding. When they shaved her belly for the ultrasound (after the x-rays already showed a mass) her skin looked like she’d been hit by a car – her abdomen was full of blood. She was bleeding internally. She received two pain injections and we took her to our vet on Wednesday. He agreed with the ER vet and said surgery was the only option to see what we are dealing with. It’s almost always cancer, but removing her spleen may be all she needs if the cancer has not spread. He wouldn’t know until he did the procedure on Thursday morning.
We had to be prepared – if the cancer had spread or the mass was inoperable, we had to decide to wake her up and let her suffer until she died from it, or let her go while still under anesthesia. Katy was still forcefully wooing at me and wanted nothing more than to play with her squeaky rubber chickens (her favorite toys) or curl up with a safety-bone – she loved bones and collected them. She slept with one between her paws.
I couldn’t let her suffer. I promise them all when they are babies, that I will not let them suffer and I will be there for them. All my others have told me when they were ready to go. They were old and hurting and ready and they looked at me and I knew.
Katy just kept saying “momma it hurts – hold me and make me safe and later let’s play”.
I did not sleep from Tuesday night through Friday. I held her all night on Wednesday and on Thursday our vet let me hold her while they put the IV in and gave her pre-op drugs. Then he carried her into surgery and allowed me to go in too so that I would be in Katy’s eyesight all the time – until she fell asleep. I watched her eyes glaze over as she went under anesthesia. I was the last thing she saw and the last voice she heard.
I waited in the lobby and about 20 minutes later the doctor came out. At first I thought it good news – the tumor was not on her spleen! Then he told me that one kidney was completely inside the tumor and that her aorta was involved. The tumor was huge and he could try to operate, but my Katy would not survive the recovery and would be in pain and heavily drugged. I trust my vet. I called my husband – who was absolutely sure Katy would be fine. He came right away.
The vet cleaned her up and kept her under anesthesia while her daddy and I went in and loved her and kissed her and talked to her. I know somehow she heard us. I nodded and the doctor gave the final shot and I watched her stop breathing and the monitor show her heart had stopped. I think I screamed “my child! My child!” and somehow we left. Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 9:15 my K9 Child died. It was on her daddy’s birthday. I entered her name in the family bible. I even bagged up the two different shirts I was wearing – one to the ER vet and one I was wearing when she died – and have them put aside. They have her scent and her hair on them. I’ve never done anything like that before. I collected all the bones she had hoarded in her crate and all the many squeaky chickens she had – plus the two we had put aside for her Christmas present – they will remain unsqueaked.
I can’t be in a quiet room – I sit up all night with the TV on until I pass out. I had to go to work on Friday and I worked this week. I don’t wear makeup because I have to keep running to the bathroom to cry. My boss and co-workers do not understand. I know I need help – I will lose my job if I go on this way – but that doesn’t even matter to me. I just want to be where Katy is – she needs me!
I am not eating right and I know it – but it’s all I can do to force food down. I don’t taste anything. My boss is angry that I took two days off and missed a very important meeting. I don’t seem to care. I have to care because I still have three K9’s and a disabled husband to support. Hubby works from home and is trying to build a business he can do with his disability – but without my income right now we would lose everything. The three at home are daddy’s girls and boy – he is their world. I love them and they love me, but it’s daddy they look for first.
I’m not handling this well at all. I still do not believe she is gone no matter what I write or what I tell myself. Katy Bear – my little Boo Berry Boo – my CHILD is here somewhere. I just keep missing her as we walk around our house. If I don’t see her inside, then she must be out in the yard. If I look in the yard and call for her (yes, I’ve done that) then she must be in the house napping with a bone and didn’t hear me.
I found myself getting ready to go to the vet to pick her up and can see myself, clearly, walking in and asking to bring Katy to me. I can hear her wooing for me constantly. I think I am losing my mind – maybe it’s going the way of my soul – in search of my Katy. I think the breaking point may be when her ashes come back. No. It can’t be. Not my Katy Bear.