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#2 for Friday, November 11, 2011

Posted on November 11, 2011 at 6:25 AM

Remembering, part 2.....

I mentioned in the first post for today that I would get to the reason for the two weeks between postings.

Last Saturday, November 5, a friend was telling me about her dog's health problems. It sounded too familiar. My dog, Storm, 13 years old, had similar symptoms. Cold fear ran through my mind. I rushed home, made sure she was comfortable and logged on to the net.

I checked out my dog's symptoms, and it was not what my friend's dog has, but it was very serious. I paid $18 to consult a vet live, and had my absolute worst fear realised; Storm was, and had been for about 4 years, suffering, in pain, due to old age and arthritis. The main symptom was the excessive panting. You see, although I did have "minor" concerns, when her panting had become noticeable, I would cool down the house, and she would improve. Turns out cold helps severe arthritis in older dogs. When I say "severe", I mean constant, unrelenting pain. Sometimes manageable, but neverending. Yup. I had been ignoring my pup's symptoms of pain. If you ever want to feel like a bastard, then watch someone you love suffer, and do nothing, even though there is something that can be done.

I called the local vet and made an appointment for what is called a "consulting exam". It's what's done when an animal's health is to be evaluated to determine if euthanasia would be best. From Saturday morning til Monday afternoon, I stayed with my Storm, only leaving her for about 2 hours to get groceries. I didn't practice the piano, stayed off the computer, except for one half hour each day, didn't go biking, didn't do my workouts, only so I could be there with her.

I couldn't face the decision, even with the help of my friend Nancy. "Dear God," I prayed, "please take this decision out of my hands. I will do thy bidding, but please make the decision for me." He did. All day Sunday, I had to help Storm. The muscles in her hind end were hardly working. I had to help her up a few stairs, down those same stairs. If she sat, I had to help her up. If she laid down, I had to help her up. She walked into the wall several times, unable to see. She didn't even sleep peacefully. And neither did I.

By Monday at 3 pm, when Nancy picked us up to go to the Veterinary Hospital, I knew. But then I think I knew even before then. Monday morning, at 4 am, when I returned home from delivering my papers, I was walking my bike to the back of my driveway when I swear someone punched me in the stomach. I fell to my knees, right there, dropped my bike, curled up in a ball, and cried. I couldn't help it. My baby was going to die, and it was me who was going to have to give the order. She was in pain, and it was only going to get worse.

At the appointment, the veterinarian confirmed it. She was suffering and had been for some time. I had to let her go. "I want to stay with her while you do it," I said, in a tone of voice that clearly let him know my mind was set. "Of course" he said.

A sedative was administered. I couldn't watch. I held her head in my hands, all the while telling her I loved her. That damned stubborn dog refused to lie down. She wouldn't give in to the sedative. She was awake when the chemical was injected into her left foreleg. A slight whimper escaped her. A few seconds, just seconds later, her eyes closed, her chest stopped moving, and she left me. I heard a low moaning sound. But it wasn't her; it was me. It was the realisation that she was dead. "Leave me alone with her for a few minutes......please," then the tears came.

I don't know how much time passed, but I managed to pull myself together, wipe my face and stumble out of the exam room to the reception desk. The exams rooms are not sound proofed; and I didn't care. My baby was dead. She wasn't coming home with me. Nancy met me at the desk. And just to make it a little bit more hard for me, I actually had to remind the nurses/receptionist why I was there; twice. Lovely. I kept my composure while paying the bill, talking nonsense to Nancy, hoping she wasn't feeling uncomfortable or awkward. My pain was just that; mine.

We left the office and I told Nancy to go home. I wanted to walk home by myself. On the way home, I stopped at the liquor store, picked up a midsized mickey of rum, one of vodka and a tall beer. There was no way in hell I was going to stay sober.

I got home, opened the back door, and the first thing I saw was Storm's food and water bowls. Yeah, you guessed it. If you've ever felt your knees give out from under you, then you know what happened. I fell. I don't think I could have found the strength to stand for any reason. I laid there crying, not even attempting to hold back.

When I could, I stood up, called Nancy to let her know I got home okay, and then I called work. It was 430, I was scheduled to work for 6, but there was no way I would be able to focus on getting some schmuck to do a survey; nor did I want to. My supervisor, who is a pet owner as well, totally understood. I offered to make the hours up later in the week, and she wouldn't let me. "Take the time you want Barb", she had said. "I understand." (Thank you Chantelle. Those words will always stay in my memories.) I then posted on Facebook and sent emails out to friends about Storm. (I stay in touch on a daily basis with most of them and didn't want them to worry. I knew it would be awhile before I could talk about her.) It was about 515 pm when I opened the beer. In one half hour, the beer and the rum were gone. As I'm a "light weight", the alcohol hit me hard, and that's what I wanted. By 6pm I was out.

So, that's my story folks, of how my beloved companion, friend and child died with me by her side, on Monday November 7, 2011. Maybe not earth shattering to you, but this is my blog, and I needed to tell the story of how my baby left this earth.

I want to thank everyone who sent their condolesences. I want to thank Nancy for staying by my side, when I needed a friend the most. I want to thank Barb Sharkey for her very considerate offer to make a memorial picture of Storm. (She does beautiful artwork online.) I want to thank Joanne for listening to me talk about Storm, while drunk, for a long time on the phone.I want to thank Chantelle for being such an understanding, considerate supervisor who remembers that her employees are human first. I want to thank the vet and the (?)nurses at the Seaway Valley Animal Hospital in Cornwall (but really, you didn't remember why I was there?????), and mostly, I have to thank Storm. You probably don't know it, but you saved my life in 1999, when I chose you at the shelter. In 2002, when I was ready to give up. You kept me company when I needed it. You comforted me when I was sick, staying by my side. You welcomed me when I came home, and Lord knows, you put up with more of my crap than any other person. Good bye Storm.

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