The death of our dog….
This past Sunday morning shortly after midnight, my son came upstairs to tell me that Hooch, our Great Dane mix, was not acting right. I came downstairs to find our big baby panting and heaving trying to breathe. His tongue had turned gray and he seemed really in distress. We called the vet and were given a couple of things that it could be and decided that we needed to take him on to the vet, so I called Faith and she came over and we loaded him in her car. I told the other kids before we left that Hooch seemed very sick and if there wasn’t anything that the vet could do, that we would have to put him to sleep. This broke Alex’s heart, well all of them, but he seemed most affected.
He threw his arms around Hooch’s neck and just hugged him and sobbed. Faith and I took him on to the emergency vet to be evaluated. The vet listened closely to his heart and lungs and advised us that there was fluid built up in his lungs and that he was in congestive heart failure. It was more than likely due to his age, as he was 8 ½ which is old for a Dane. With the diagnosis, and knowing there wasn’t anything he could do, he recommended putting Hooch to sleep. So I called the other kids and let them know, and again, Alex was just sobbing which so broke my heart and Faith and I began to sob as well. Faith went out of the room and they gave Hooch one shot to relax him, then the medicine to stop his heart. He went peacefully.
The after effects….
You may wonder why I am sharing all of this about our dog’s death, let me explain. First of all, Hooch was Curtis’ “big dog”. He had Hooch, and he had Mitzie his “little dog” who is a lap dog. Curtis loved his dogs (we still have Mitzie) and Hooch was the biggest baby when he was with Curtis. So it is natural that Hooch’s death was hard.
But even more than that, it is the triggers that overwhelmed me as I had to deal with this situation. To see Hooch struggling to breath brought back the vivid picture of Curtis laboring to breathe in the emergency room on the night before he passed away. Then the trip to the vet’s was on the same road that I and the kids rushed back to the hospital early in the morning when Curtis went into cardiac arrest. The memories flooded my mind as I drove to the vet, and I could hear the anguish in my children’s voices as they cried when the doctor asked us permission to stop live saving measures for Curtis… I had to give permission for my husband to die basically and had to do the same with the dog. I know it must sound really odd for me to be giving comparisons, but I want you to hear my heart to see the pain that all of these triggers caused.
After the ordeal was over at the vet’s, I had to decide what to do with Hooch’s body. Ughh…again memories of the hospital, being asked “where do you want your husband’s body taken?” Faith and I decided what we would do and we went home. Exhausted, I fell into bed with my youngest, Alex, coming to bed with me.
All of this to say today is Tuesday and I am still being affected to some degree. The triggers have lessened and the pain has dulled. I never knew that so many things would so dramatically affect me after Curtis’ death. I have learned as I have told you before that there is not a right or wrong way to grieve. Death is something that we deal with for quite some time and as I am finding out, grief can come in many ways.
I and my children will continue to move forward, we will continue to work through this process. Yes, we have had a “wrench thrown in the spoke” so to speak but we get back up and will move forward. We must. Each of the kids is moving forward at their own pace as I am. Keep praying for us in this journey. It was NOT just the death of a dog, but the after effects.