Saturday, January 27, 2007

Good-bye to a Friend

Today started with a shock. I was up early and while working at my computer heard a noise. I thought maybe Sandy, my pug, needed to go outside. When I turned the corner, I saw her staggering. She fell over and I diagnosed it as a seizure. She'd had one before about a year ago.

I applied my "Dog Whisperer" learned calm and assertive energy, so as not to alarm her. I placed a towel under her head, moved her to the tile and placed paper towels under her rear in case she lost control of her bowels. Which she did. What I deemed a seizure went on for 10 minutes and I began to grow concerned, waiting for her eyes to refocus and her body to relax. I waited for her to grow more aware that I was there and that everything was going to be all right.

I am used to caring for her. I saved her almost four years ago from the pound. She had been hit by a car. She had a broken pelvis and a messed up right shoulder. I carried her everywhere for 3 weeks before her body began to mend and she started to live a normal dog life again. I initially said I would foster but after just one day, I knew she belonged to me. We bonded in that special way of patient and nurse, and she has always wanted to be the closest to me (we have Kipper and Bruno too). She wasn't the smartest of the three but she loved me beyond anything else.

We never knew how old she was. I would guess 7 or 8 now. I would love to know her story before she came to me but it's a mystery.

So, this morning, I cared for her, like I did before. But this time she didn't mend. She stopped breathing, she gasped, her leg muscles thrust one more time and then she was still. I called to her, I rubbed her, but I couldn't bring her back. She quite literally died in my arms.

My 14 year old and I dug a hole in the backyard in the rain and the cold. I don't remember feeling the cold. I don't really remember noticing the rain. The hubs is out of town so it was up to us to put Sandy to rest properly. The youngest was beside himself sobbing and sobbing.

Two dear friends came over and helped me. One made sure the hole was large enough and the other as a source of strength. Then they helped me carry Sandy one final time.

I wrapped her carefully in two towels. She looked like she was sleeping. Just yesterday, she was playing, eating and fine. All I can think is it was some sort of stroke.

I already miss her pug snuffle.


  • I am so sorry to hear about your loved pet.

    Hugs to you all.

    By Blogger Brenda, at 1/27/2007 5:45 PM  

  • Dear Brenda -

    I'm Cesar Millan's co-author and one of the Dog Whisperer's exec producers. Your blog came up on my regular "Google Alerts."

    I am so very sorry to hear about your pug. It sounds like you guys had an amazing relationship. If it's any consolation, you handled things exactly as Cesar would've advised and allowed your beloved pet to die with dignity. That's something all animals deserve.

    For a really powerful segment on dealing with the death of a pet, you might want to try and catch the Virginia Madsen episode from the third season of Dog Whisperer. Her 11-year old son Jack is wise beyond his years.

    Again, many condolences,
    Melissa Jo Peltier

    By Anonymous Melissa Jo Peltier, at 1/27/2007 7:16 PM  

  • Oops - I meant Debbie. Sorry - the comment above said Brenda.

    By Anonymous Melissa Jo Peltier, at 1/27/2007 7:17 PM  

  • Oh, Debbie. I am SO sorry about your dog. That's just heartbreaking. I can't imagine what that must have been like for you.

    My lab has had seizures for several years and I live in the fear that one day it will be her last, as it was for your sweet pug. I echo what the others have said though, I'd have handled it in just the same way.

    Hugs your way, my blogging friend...

    By Anonymous Crazy MomCat, at 1/27/2007 8:44 PM  

  • Oh Debbie,

    I'm so sorry for you and your family. Sounds like you have lots of nice memories with your beloved boy.

    By Blogger Type (little) a, at 1/27/2007 9:19 PM  

  • It never fails that these sort of things happen when I, the Hubs, am out of town. This time I am literally on the other side of the world and feel pretty helpless. Thanks to all our friends and to Debbie's Blog Community for your support. And thanks to my wonderful wife, Debbie, for being a strong, caring, compassionate person who naturally and often effortlessly provides a remarkeable amount of love and support to our family. And let's raise one final toast to Sandy the Pug...

    By Anonymous Cory (aka "the hubs"), at 1/27/2007 10:06 PM  

  • I am so utterly sorry for your loss...

    I would be at a loss if anything ever happened to our wee Elvis. There is something so dear about a pet who has ben rescued and brought back to life with love and devotion... Their love is insurmountable....

    I am so glad you had two friends there... and my heart goes out to you and your youngest boy and to the rest of your family...
    Rest in peace Sandy!!!

    By Blogger Pendullum, at 1/28/2007 7:39 AM  

  • Oh, Debbie! I'm so sorry! (((((hugs)))))

    By Anonymous mamatulip, at 1/28/2007 10:48 AM  

  • I am so sorry. Your heart must be breaking. Good bye, Sandy the pug. The two of you were lucky to find each other.

    By Anonymous Jess, at 1/28/2007 11:09 AM  

  • I'm so sorry. My dog (dachshund) has seizures about once a month or so and I am so scared that one day this will happen to him. If it makes you feel any better (probably doesn't), the vet told me there's really nothing you can do about it because if you give them medication, it ruins their liver.

    By Blogger Trish, at 1/28/2007 2:39 PM  

  • I am so sorry. Losing a pet, one that you've bonded with, is a hard thing to go through. I've lost three and it does not get easier.

    By Blogger thethinker, at 1/28/2007 3:30 PM  

  • I am so sorry.

    By Anonymous Lisa, at 1/28/2007 5:26 PM  

  • Hi Debbie,
    I am very sorry for your loss. My beloved Buster had to be put to sleep at Christmas after eleven and a half wonderful years of companionship so I understand totally how you are feeling.

    I will be thinking of you.

    By Anonymous Alison C, at 1/29/2007 3:10 AM  

  • debbie, what a touching story about sandy. it seems you brought love and kindess to her and she gave you love & devotion. i am glad that you rescued her and when it was her time to go she was with you. thinking of you.

    By Blogger acaligurl, at 1/29/2007 7:21 AM  

  • I'm so, so sorry for your loss.

    By Blogger Arabella, at 1/29/2007 5:56 PM  

  • *wah*!!!!! I love puggies. That's really old for a pug. It's good that she had a good end of her life with you. I can commiserate; it is a horrible time to have your baby die in your arms.

    By Anonymous Sharla Dawn, at 1/29/2007 7:43 PM  

  • I'm crying for you. So very sorry.

    By Anonymous TB, at 1/30/2007 10:27 AM  

  • Ohhh. That's awful. I'm so sorry Deb. My heart is with you girl. It's never easy losing a family member, even if it's "just" a furry one. You gave her a great 2nd life though!

    By Blogger Tink, at 1/30/2007 4:18 PM  

  • Oh, no! That was very sudden. But it's good that you were there in her last moments.

    Your hubby's comment was really sweet. Sending you a hug.

    By Blogger teahouse, at 1/30/2007 5:44 PM  

  • Last week my cat died unexpectedly and I was shocked how hard it hit me.

    I'm sorry for your loss but glad that you saved Buster's life after his accident and were there to hold him during his final moments.

    By Blogger V-Grrrl, at 1/31/2007 7:11 AM  

  • I'm so sorry to hear about your sudden loss. You obviously gave Sandy a lot of much-needed love, right up until she passed. I'm sure you made the process so much easier for her. *hug*

    By Blogger B.E.C.K., at 1/31/2007 7:59 AM  

  • As a kid who never really had an actual mammalian pet, I never knew--until I was married--how much an animal could come to mean to me. I'm thinking about you today.

    By Anonymous wordgirl, at 1/31/2007 8:32 PM  

  • Debbie, I'm so sorry about Sandy. At least she spent her final moments with someone who truly loved her. I'm sure she could sense that.

    By Blogger Annie, The Evil Queen, at 1/31/2007 10:28 PM  

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