Photos and audio to be inserted later, for some reason WordPress is being a bastard about that right now…
About a year and a half ago, Tamurand the Ridgeback took her final trip,
At the time, I really thought that her good friend and pack mate, a Yellow Labrador by the name of Kaya, would follow her fairly soon. Broken heart, depression, not eating, etc.
But Kaya…ah, Kaya….she stuck it out with us for many a month after Tam passed on. Of course, Time doesn’t really give a crap how much a dog can learn, or become a family member. Doesn’t really matter how well that canine family member can understand things, communicate, or just plain love life.
Soooooo…..Laryngeal Paralysis. Megaesophagus. Myasthenia Gravis. Not a great trilogy of syndromes to have happen – to anyone. Less so when it’s a good and true friend.
She became very weak, started vomiting. So we took her to the vet. She was stabilized, and spent the night there, under sedation. In an O2 kennel. The vet told us what was happening, and requested permission to do a radiograph, and possibly an ultrasound.
No worries – do them, we said. Make her comfortable, keep the pain and anxiety at bay. They did, and we went home for the night. As the vet said “No news is GOOD news, and we won’t contact you unless there’s an emergency”. Fine, and off we went.
Back home, feed the Corgi, who’s puzzled as to why her pack mate and guide isn’t around. It’s not easy finding your way to the food bowl, or the door when you’re blind…yeah. Guide Dogs for the Dogs, that was the name of our game.
We went in the next day, to the vet. Initial diagnosis was confirmed – the megaesophagus was a bad one, and the definite suspicion was also that the Myasthenia Gravis was rapidly getting worse. The laryngeal paralysis could have been easily taken care of, with the tie back procedure…but what would that get the old girl, KayaMyKaya, eh?
A long recovery period? Accelerating muscle and nerve deterioration? Choking every so often? Falling down and the inevitable lumps, bumps, bruises and joint pains?
Then again…just one more day in the garden, being able to smell the roses and where the other dogs have gone….
No. Not to be.
Kaya, one wonderful Yellow Labrador, was given the two part injection into her line. First was the propafol, and about ten minutes later (ten minutes? either forever, or an instant…or both at the same time), the final injection.
Even with her weakness, laying on her side, once she knew we were with her, she tried…really tried to get up. We told her it was OK, to lay down, OK to rest.
I managed to smuggle in some of the grilled pork chops she’d missed the night before. I had cut a few pieces up, ziploc bagged them, and shoved them in a pocket on the way in.
I asked the vet if it would be alright to give the treats to her…..before what was going to happen, happened.
She said “it’s the last time she’ll be able to experience that….go ahead, make her happy”. She’s a good vet. Cares a lot about the animals, you can tell.
Those chunks of pork chop, pecan smoked, brined and slow grilled…oh, they went fast, for sure. Kaya chowed them down. But accepted there was no more.
And then the injection….and the lassitude….and the respirations…..and…stillness.
Silky Sullivan (I still don’t know why the wife called her that…)
Thanks for all the memories, the protection, the companionship, the love. Travel safe, join Tam at the Watching Place.
That’s all there is…there ain’t no more. (I used this phrase for the last thousand days, or so. 10:30 at night, without fail, starting with Tam and her meds. Had to give Tam some meat or cheese to get the pills into her, and of course the other dogs would sit there and go “where the hell is ours? quit being a stingy bastard!”. So all the dogs would get a few bites of cheese, or meats at 10:30, every night, without fail. Easily for the last thousand days, could be longer too. After everything was gone….The Giver of Good Foods would say “That’s all there is, there ain’t no more!”, and that was the signal to head out the back door and take a leak, or drop a deuce. Whatever the dawg felt like….but it’s become a habit, and a household practice now. We called it, in jest, “Tammy’s Crack Time”, because, I’d swear, those dogs were more accurate than clocks. They’d all gather around, while alive, and wait for that doggy crack (ham, turkey, pastrami, cheeses…oh yeah baby….BACON!) to appear from TGoGF…) Now it’s become “Tammy’s, Kaya’s, Alby’s, and Kitty’s Memorial Crack Time”. Lots of loss, lately.
I’ll see you tout de suite, yes indeed Kaya…in the blink of an eye.
Good Girl, Bravo Zulu.
There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
And while we’re at it…what’s the watching place?
“There’s a wide place on the road to Hell where warriors stop to sit a spell.
They wet their whistle and rest a bit before Satan rings the closing bell,
they then ruck up and go to Hell.
This place is called Fiddler’s Green.
Some clever Sergeant built a bar, then stuck the bell inside a jar.
Then working with a clever Warrant, they sucked the air out in a torrent.
No one can hear that cursed bell.
Now warriors never go to Hell.
They rest and wait at Fiddler’s Green, hanging with soldier, sailor, airman, Marine.
They talk shite at the bar, hands low and high, for “There I was about to die…”
Or at the tables, eating pie.
But somehow no one hears the bell, at that wide place on the road to Hell.
On the other side of that road to Hell, there is a green and leafy dell.
It’s reached by a tunnel that goes under the road.
This place is called Piddler’s Green.
Fire hydrants everywhere, lots of toys and the scent of kibble fills the air.
The mice are fat, sassy and slow, always a warrior with a Frisbee to throw.
A knotted rope for tug-of-war and tennis balls by the score,
And always, always a warrior who wants to play, until your own warrior comes, on that sad/glad day.
As most surely he or she will.
No one minds if you cross the path, and take a nap and not a bath.
You can always swipe a scrap from a table, every warrior there’s watching sports on cable.
There’s ear skritches, face skrunches and bellyrubs aplenty.
Most important –and mark this well – for only you can hear The Bell.
The Bell that rings not for Hell, but the one that rings and makes you yell,
and causes your heart to swell with joy.
The one that says your warrior has come, the one that says you can be at peace.
So my friend who has four feet and is gifted with that special sight,
at that wide space along the road there are two clearings, left and right.
One’s a bar, the other a glen, and no one spends a lonely night not knowing if much less when.
For just over there, when the moon is just right, is a place on the corner where you can catch a sight… of your warrior, asleep at night.
‘Tis the Watching Place.
So you know that they are safe, and if they should stir, oh, just a bit,
it’s because a tongue, ever so gently, on their cheek just alit.”
-John Donovan, with a liberal sprinkling of Bill Tuttle.