I've had a really rough week, even though I had found the time to load up a few posts that automatically posted... in the real world we have had a minor tragedy strike. Upon returning from our Florida trip we found our dog Maggie had lost some weight (not so unusual but still noted) and after a few days she began coughing with a runny nose. We took her to the vet as a family and during a very light-hearted visit, was given antibiotics for what was most likely "kennel cough." I have had several dogs get kennel cough before, Maggie never has even though she has been kenneled many times over her 3 years with us. Her cough and runny nose were gone within a week but she stopped taking her meds, which I assumed was just her "catching on" to our pill hiding in the food. Since her symptoms were gone, I continued to give her the pills with a hit or miss on actually getting them down. School started up, schedules got busy, we had visitors and Labor Day bar b ques, looking back now it is so easy to see that Maggie wasn't her normal self. On top of everything, it has been in the 90's for weeks on end here, just blazing hot. We are in and out of our little pool all day and into the evening too. After about three days of Maggie not eating much if at all and our "come on maggie, snap out of it" conversations with her she became weak and lethargic enough for me to make the call to the vet. They gave us the next appointment which was the next evening. Here is where all the should of, could of, beat myself up over and over part comes in. I said Ok to the robot on the phone, hosed the dog off assessed her wet nose, fresh poop and pee nearby and went back to my lazy day off. That night during our normal craziness (fans in all the rooms at full speed, attempts to cool ourselves down, rush to get everything ready for the following day of work and school) Maggie refused to go into her kennel which led to a wrestling match (sadly we laughed about this at the time) to get her settled in for the night. I did not sleep well, the heat was annoying and something about Maggie was nagging at me. I said to myself, if she isn't her normal self in the morning I will skip work and take her in. Unfortunately she died sometime during the night. All I can say now, a little over a week later is that her dying was never on the table. It wasn't even the tiniest thought in any of our minds. She was a young, pit/lab mix with a shiny coat and clear eyes, a strong "i love you" bark and wagging tail. She could pull chris around the block on his bike for hours and was the healthiest animal i have ever been around in my life. Big lessons learned here, big time priority straightening conversations and quiet reflective momments had by all. This was a really traumatic event and i am hoping that the eye opening experience we have all had will endure, without the scary nervous dread of death part that we have all felt too.
I have lost many dogs but all to old age, losing a pet at 3 years old in the prime of her life and blaming myself for just letting it happen has been a nose dive into guilt, regret and grief i have never experienced before. To say i have cried would be an understatement, having a pet means they NEED you and it isn't ok to just do your thing while they may be suffering. I know that having never experienced anything like this i had no idea it could happen, it was tragic and unexpected. I also know now what a huge responsibility having a pet is, that it shouldn't be taken for granted and that their needs should be on the table along with yours. I never knew how much i loved my dog and how important she was to our family. That she was a MEMBER of the family yet not given as much consideration as the rest of us. Lastly, I remember crying for her to wake up and to realize she was gone. Such a final, hopeless, "can't be fixed" moment I will never forget.