Monday, September 29, 2008

Another old dog

Wow, talk about a tough week for dog lovers at our house.  It's now Gideon's turn at the vet.  He developed a swollen red eye, and it was all red, so on Friday I took him in and got some pills and drops.  They didn't work as well as the doctor had hoped, so they're now recommending we take him to the opthamologist.

What's giving me the chills is the fact that the vet didn't sound very happy on the phone, and she said there "could be something behind the eye."  On Friday one of the causes she mentioned was a tumor.

Have I mentioned that I'm not too keen on losing another dog right now?

Over the weekend my stomach was in knots worrying about this.  After talking to the vet, I'm having a problem typing this because I'm literally shaking.  I just can't imagine something awful happening so soon to last weekend.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dear Mena,

It's hard to imagine that only 8 days ago you and I headed to the vet to get some pills to cure your breathing problems, and then one day later you lay dying in my lap.

Of course it's nothing compared to what you went through, but our last week has been strange.  It's been 7 years since Gideon has been alone for more than an hour or so; I know there are times when he likes it, but it's definitely been hard.  When the kids and I got home after being gone for 4 hours on Monday, he sniffed around us looking for something.  I can't say for sure he was looking for you, but he sure acted like it.  

And he absolutely wouldn't go into the spot where you laid on the grass for the last time.  It's odd how you dogs know things.  Every day he gets a little more normal, but this morning he came upstairs and laid down for a couple minutes where your pillow used to be.  Then, with no prompting, he left your spot.  I can tell he misses you.

Ellie and Matthew didn't say TOO much about it on Monday, but starting Tuesday (and on every day since) they have talked a lot about you.  Ellie wants her bedtime stories to be how we got you and Gideon, and then how you died.  She also reminds us that you're still around, with Grandma Boo and Grandpa Don and the angels.  Give them big cuddles for us.

We didn't think Matthew would understand any of this, but every time we come into the house Matthew says, "Mena Mena."  He also goes to where your pillow was, points at whatever is there and says angrily, "No!  Mena's pillow there!"  Hopefully you know how much he misses you too.

As for me, putting away your pillows and toys was terrible, and I still haven't washed them.  Even after putting your stuff away, at the beginning of the week (and occasionally since) I would forget that you aren't around and would expect to see you as I walked around a corner.  Out of habit I'd look out the kitchen window to see if you were in your usual spot in the yard.  And Sharon and I both haven't gotten used to coming home to only 1 wiggler.

But as the week progressed, life has started to become more normal.  I've focused on the family and life in general, and even though I know it's healthy, I feel super-guilty for not thinking about you 100% of the time.  

You really were such a wonderful dog, and we all miss you very much!

All of us

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mena, 2000-2008

When it comes to family dogs, none were better than Mena*.  When we got her in 2001, it was as a playmate/friend/sister for our other dog, Gideon.  We were actually looking at another dog at the shelter, but Gideon and the other dog ignored each other.  When the shelter volunteer asked if we'd seen Mena, I said, "Who?"  She was so polite that she was just curled up in the back of her kennel behind some other dogs, and I hadn't noticed her.

When she came out to the play area to meet Gideon, the two of them ran around like maniacs, playing and splashing in the wading pools, chasing balls, and generally having a good time.  She was DEFINITELY the one.

It wasn't until after we got her home that we realized what a sweetie she was (in addition to coming pre-housebroken).  She could wrestle around with Gideon, but then she'd come in and sit in our laps if we let her.  It's not necessarily easy for a 55 pound dog, but she tried it.  She loved being around people, but was so polite you might not notice her.  As soon as you started petting her, she'd snuggle right in for attention.  And with fur as soft as hers, who could resist?

Once we had Ellie, we started to realize how amazing she really was.
She was so gentle and sweet with Ellie, even as a baby.  Once Ellie became mobile, she would follow Ellie from room to room.  Tugged tails and pulled ears didn't seem to bother her - she just loved being with her people.

Along came Matthew, and Mena just got better and better.

Two kids trying to poke, prod, pull, jump on, and otherwise abuse her didn't seem to bother her any more than just one did.  She took it in stride, and we loved her more and more every day.  

I'm going to miss her more than I ever imagined, and I hope that everyone has the chance to have such a wonderful family member as Mena. 

*Mena, also known or referred to as: Mena B., Mena B. Zoo, Mena Bazoo, Squirley Girley, Sweetie, Furball #2, Yellow Dog, Yellow Hound, Wiggler #2, "Ma" (when Ellie was little), "May-May" (when Matthew was little)

Mena, part II

Well, we had to do it - Mena is gone.  I can't believe how quickly it went from my calling the vet about her having (what I thought was) a cold or pneumonia to our having to put her to sleep.  When I brought her home from the hospital Saturday, she was doing okay (just okay, though) and we thought we had a week or so.  We went for a walk, and she was really slow, but still in great spirits.  Although she was still putting on a happy face, she was deteriorating really quickly.

Last night she didn't really move a lot.  Going up and down the stairs was tough for her, and she didn't sleep much at all.  At about 1am she came to lay by my side of the bed.  When she woke me up at about 4am, I decided to get up with her and we cuddled downstairs for a while.  Once everyone got up we had our usual morning routine, called a friend to watch the kids, we all said our goodbyes, and we took her in.  The place was very nice, and we were with her until the very end.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ellie and Mena

On our walk today with Mena, Ellie told us that "it's not fair that Mena's going to die."  Truer words were never spoken.

But then she also told us that "it's okay, she'll still be with us after she dies.  Just like the angels.  We can't see them, but they're with us."  She also said that "I'll miss Mena because she gives us all her cuddles."  What a sweet little girl Ellie is...pretty smart for an almost-4-year-old.  I hope I'm as strong as that when Mena's time comes.  But I doubt it.

Tonight we all hugged Mena, told her we loved her, thanked her for all the cuddles and for being such a good friend.  I hate being a grown-up.

Mena, the Dog

Wow, today has really sucked bad.  I took Mena, our 8 year old dog, to the vet because we thought she had a really bad cold, or pneumonia, or something like that.  After the X-rays, the doctor told me it was serious, and I definitely wasn't prepared for the rush of adrenaline that I got.  The vet told me that Mena had a lot (a LOT) of fluid around her heart, and that we could either go to the emergency vet, take her home, or put her to sleep right then.  !!!

I raced to the emergency clinic, and was told that no matter what, it was not good.  It was just a matter of how not good it was.  A few months, weeks, days.  They did the ultrasound on Mena's chest.  Apparently, it's not liquid.  A huge mass has crowded her organs and that's why she's been having problems.  

Any solutions they could offer would be more to ease our pain, not hers.  So we brought her home, took her for a walk, and are all telling her how much we love her.  That's all we can do for now.  When the time comes, if she doesn't choose for herself and die at home, we'll take her in and put her to sleep.  I hope the time is obvious, because I can't imagine making that choice right now.