Category Archives: grief

And then there were two…

The past forty-eight hours have been surreal in our house.  If you aren’t a pet person, this post will mean little to you. If you are, well you will get it.

It all started two days ago, our oldest dog suddenly went from playful puppy, jumping through the snow drifts to “moving is overrated at the moment”.  She had to think about every step and we knew that a trip to the vet was the only answer.

First thing yesterday morning my son sat at the table and said matter of factly, “I am going to school and I guess Nana is going to the vet.”  She had come in from outside and had fallen once inside the doorway.  I was one step ahead of my son and had the vet’s phone number ready to call at 8:30am when they opened.  I headed to the shower so I would be ready whenever they could fit her in.

The animal clinic was great and they got us in very quickly.  Our dog had a strong heart beat but her blood pressure was low.  A full blood panel revealed a bg level of 20mmol (360mgdl).  She must have diabetes! Okay, she was going to have insulin but they would work to bring up her blood pressure, hydrate her and then I could learn about injecting our pup twice a day.  I laughed because her owner had diabetes.  What were the odds? With that, I left my dog feeling relieved and planned to return just after lunch to pick her up.

By lunch she had passed away. She was our little diva dog who had a face that everyone loved and she knew it.  She was the little queen who felt that the other dogs were beneath her and who lived to have her owner carry her in his arms and take her everywhere.  She was gone that fast!  We were in shock and headed to school to pick up my son and tell him the news. He had left his lunch at home that day and I almost wondered if he somehow knew what could happen.  I suppose more likely he was just distracted by her condition, worry and a bus that arrived too early. 

I went into the school and as we walked to his locker to get his stuff, I told him what had happened.  He held things together pretty well until we got into the truck.  The tears began to flow and my heart continued to break.  She was his best friend.  They had been together for almost nine years.  She was his baby and now she was gone.  I worried about his bg levels.  I expected highs like no others. He had lost family members before but this was his “Nana”.  He had babied her since she was a pup.  She was named weeks before he got to see her. She was his little girl.  She was spoiled and he loved her with all of his heart.

I had to stop at the vet’s to sort out details.  He decided to go in and say his good-bye’s.  We cried. We held each other and it killed me to see him in such pain. We went home and I continued my mother hovering from a distance.  We all were lost without the dog in the house.  We have two other dogs and even they sensed something was wrong.  Where was Nana? They stayed by her bed and waited for her. I stayed near my son waiting to see what he would do.

Somehow we got through the day, exhausted, sad, and cried out for the moment.  I sat down at the kitchen table with my son to go over his math.  He has a math test coming up and needed to study.  He made a few silly mistakes and when I said something he replied, “Hey, I’m stressed here. My dog just died.”

Point taken and he was right but I wondered how long he planned to use that card and I asked him.

“Until I die.”
“You mean for the next 40 years, anything that you do wrong will be because you are stressed because your dog died when you were 12?”
“Forty years??? You think I am going to die when I am 53? Are you crazy? And I am 13 not 12.”

Oops.  Well I screwed that one up on a number of levels didn’t I? Thankfully we were both laughing so all was okay and I quickly recovered. “Okay so you die in another 80 years and you are still going to blame things on the death of Nana?”

“No, by then Shweems will have died a year or two before and I will say its because of her death.” He always has a plan.  He had decided that one of our younger dogs will have to live until he is between 60 and 80.  Despite the fact that she is a poor substitute, in his mind, for his dog Nana, she has her own merit and she must not get sick or die period–end of discussion.

“So how have your blood glucose levels been today?”
“I haven’t needed to correct all day so I guess they are fine.  Why?”
“Well stress can cause your blood glucose levels to go up.”
“What stress?”
“You know that stress you just mentioned because your dog just died?!?”
“Oh that! Well that’s not really stress. I mean I’m not stressed, I’m de-pressed”
“Gotcha”

I can’t say that Nana ever woke me up because my son was low. I can’t say that she defended him from the evils of the world but she was his companion and confidante.  She was always there for him.  She was stubborn and would only come when she felt she should.  She loved playing in the snow despite how much I hated all of the snowballs in her fur.  She could shake a paw and whisper.  She could look at you with those beautiful brown eyes and try to make you forget anything else. She may have only been a dog to the rest of the world, but to us…well she was a huge part of our world. RIP our sweet Nana dog (October 31, 2002-February 22, 2011)