Tina: Aka Troll Dog

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This is Tina on the left.  She is a full Pitt Bull but is tiny.  She is about half the size of a normal Pitt.  She is just barely over 1 year old and was brought to HART full of puppies.  She birthed them in the kennel and just weaned them off her milk.  All but one of the puppies has already been adopted.

We took her in as a foster because the woman that classifies dogs tagged her as aggressive toward children and other dogs and as toy aggressive.  So she to our home.

On the first introduction to the house she just started wagging her tail like crazy and ran over to me wanting some attention.  All of the dogs did their usually sniffs and there was no aggression at all.  We had already picked up all of the toys so that there wouldn’t be any fights.  She appears to be very sweet and affectionate.  She can jump on the bed (which is 3x her height) without missing a stride.  She has powerful back legs and ears that are very expressive.  Unlike Goof, her ears can stand up and rotate like radar.

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Goof: My new best friend

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Prior to Kira leaving Goof was a great little dog and was incredibly affectionate and fun to play with.  But after Kira was gone he started staying with me in my office and started sleeping against me every night.  As time has gone on he has turned into my shadow.

When I got Goof I was concerned that he would turn into Mike’s dog because Mike works from home every day and I figured that Goof would decide Mike was his best friend.  But it appears that Goof has decided that he likes me over Mike.

Kira: Ashes Returned

I was having a good day.  Work went well for the first time in a long while and traffic was light.  I stopped at the store and got pizza fixings to make dinner.  I had the basic pizza laid on the pizza board and was adding cheese when the dogs started barking.

The UPS truck pulled up and stopped.  I washed my hands and wondered what it could be.  I hadn’t ordered anything online in a while.

The UPS man had me sign for a box that was addressed to me from a Pet supply store.  I took it inside and opened the box.  My heart sank and I just started to cry.  It was Kira’s ashes.

I really didn’t expect to get them this way.  I thought that I would go down to the vet and it would be a solemn thing with both Mike and me.  But instead it was this cold delivery.  I put the box on the table in the hall where all of the other dogs are and finished the pizza.  I took a Xanax and the rest of the evening was shot.

Kira: Farewell

On Friday May 19, 2017, Mike and I got up at 7am which is really early for Mike. I immediately started crying so I took a Xanax. It didn’t help, so I took a second one. The crying stopped.

I took Kira out back and I has second thoughts because she seemed so spry and happy. But I knew that I didn’t want to get to the point that she was miserable like the previous few nights.

We wanted her to have a fond morning in hopes that she would enjoy her last day. So we made a special breakfast for Kira. A few kibbles, a can of dog food, some cheese, and some stew. She gobbled it down like she use to do 5 years ago.

We then took her for a walk. Normally Kira would walk half way up the lane with Mike and then sit down and wait for him to come back and then she would limp home and collapse in her bed in my office. But today she walked the entire way up the lane with both Mike and me and came back without any problems. Her hips were clearly in pain but she seemed like she was a year younger.

It made me cry because I worried that I was doing this too early. But then I thought about the last few days and hearing how labored her breath was and the past month of her deficating while sleeping and not even waking up. I could be trying to humanize her, but she seemed upset when she woke and realized she had and accident. I realize that she was just an animal, but somehow I do think she got upset when she had an accident.20170519-0712,32 (s60-f2.0-374).jpg

The Vet arrived promptly at 8am. We locked Clifford and Goofy McGooface in the master bedoom. Kira was laying on her bed that we had setup in the dining area and she didn’t take much notice of the Vet. We talked with the Vet for a bit and asked to pay before the doing the procedure. We did this in part so that Kira wouldn’t get upset thinking that something was going on.

I hugged Kira as did Mike and held her as the Vet injected something that would put her into a deep sleep. Kira jumped when the needle went in, but took it like a champ. She slowly fell asleep as I held her and talked to her. She stopped focusing on me as she went completely limp. Mike started chattering about what was medically happening and I asked him to be quiet. Mike then chattered with the Vet saying that he and I deal with this differently and that he needs to talk about it. I just wanted it to be solem and quiet. Even with two Xanax, I still cried my eyes out.

I had put a towel on top of the waterproof blanket knowing that she would pee when she died. My previous dogs peed when the drug was injected that put them to sleep. But Kira didn’t.

Kira’s tongue extended from her mouth and she was breathing silently but clearly sleeping. I pet on her a bit and looked into her eyes and talked to her to say goodbye. Then we told the Vet to go ahead and she injected the chemical that stopped her heart.

Kira died at about 8:30. After listening to her in various locations to verify that her heart had stopped, we waited about 5 minutes while the Vet prepared her vehicle to take the body to have it cremated. I picked her up in the towel and carried her to the door. I don’t know why there was a delay but half way to the door she peed. It was kind of the proof that she was gone for good.

I gently placed her in the back of the Vets Subaru. The Vet gently covered her and we went back in the house as the Vet drove away.

Mike and I didn’t talk much at all. We let the dogs out of the bedroom and we went to our respective offices. At about 11:00 we got into my car and drove about an hour to Lovettsville and had lunch at an eclectic place that Melissa Buckelou (the neighbor that cuts our hair) had given us a gift certificate for back at Christmas. We had not used the gift because neither of us could find the time to take off from work to use it. But this seemed like an appropriate time to use it. We weren’t celebrating anything. We just needed a distraction and to get out of the house. We didn’t talk much on the drive there but neither of us cried. The Xanax started wearing off while we were seated so I took another Xanax so that I would not fall apart at the restaurant.

Before we left, I bought Mass Effect Andromeda at full price (I had been waiting for it to go on sale) so that it could download while we were gone and I could immerse myself in the game instead of dwelling on what I had just done to my best dog.

Kira: The last day

 

20170518-1957,10 (s20-f2.0-1230).jpgThe hardest time for Kira was always Summer. The summer of 2015 was a very hot summer and there were quite a few days that I was sure that Kira wouldn’t make it through the night for panting so hard after just going outside through the doggy door after dark. Then in 2016 she was blind and deaf and yet she still made it through the summer.

But in 2015 her arthritis was bad enough that she had trouble getting off the bed. She had long lost the ability to jump so I picked her up every night an put her on the bed. But in 2015 she would struggle to get up on all 4 legs and then would stand at the side of the bed contemplating jumping off onto one of the dog beds. I would get up and lift her to set her on the floor. Prior to 2015 she wouldn’t let you pick her up but during this year she gave up and let me help her.

In 2016 she lost bowel control. She could hold it most of the time, but when she would wake up to greet me at the door when I came home, there would be a trail of poop on the floor from half way down the hall from my office to the door that I came through when I got home. I couldn’t get mad at her but clearly she was upset that she had done it and would walk a wide birth around the poop.

During the winter and spring of 2017, it was clear that she wasn’t going to make it to 15 years old. By January 2017 she couldn’t get up off of her bed. She still had muscle in her front legs but couldn’t get her back legs under her. So I would need to lift her butt. I would take her outside and she had no interest in chasing a stick. Her bowel control got worse and she would poop while sleeping. At first she would realize it when it started but she couldn’t get up in time to get to the dog door so there was either poop wherever she was sleeping or a trail of poop where she had been.

Everything really got bad in May. Kira would want off the bed and I would set her down. She would then wander through the house as if she was looking for me. She would do her path where she would walk along the wall turning right into every room walking the wall and just following the outline of the walls till she smelled me. But it was as if she would awake from sleep and be disoriented. The saddest event was when I was in my office and she woke up from sleep and walked across my office and into a wall. She looked at the wall, then walked into it again, and again and again until I got up and moved her so that she was heading toward the door. She then walked perfectly fine, to the doggy door, out the door, walked the fence and did her job, and then came back in as if nothing had happened.

As a side note, during her life, Kira never under the physics of inanimate objects. She frequently would be playing ball and run into a large boulder (the neighbor uses boulders the size of a small car to delineate his property line), run into a tree, or run into a solid wall. It would clearly hurt and would sometimes form a bruise. But when she would run into something it was like she expected it to move.

At night she would get restless and would bark to have me pick her up and put her on the bed, then she would pace around, lay down, get up, lay down, get up, pace, lay down, get up, and then want off the bed. I would set her down and she would wander to the hallway and then come back and want on the bed. Eventually I would stop picking her up and she would pace around the room going from side to side of the bed giving one loud bark to get me to pick her up and would eventually give up. She would collapse in her dog bed beside my bed and make a loud sigh.

I started setting my alarm to wake me up every 2 hours so that I could wake her up and get her outside before she would have an accident. This worked somewhat but then there would be times that she would still have the accidents after coming back inside.

It all came to a tipping point on Wednesday May 17. She was restless but on this night she was panting constantly even through I turned the AC down to 70. She couldn’t get comfortable and kept pacing around the house. I started to cry because I knew it was the end for her. She never knew what the end was, but I did. I had told my doctor that this was coming and he gave me 20 Xanax. I took one and was able to sleep a few hours that night.

Thursday at work was just miserable. I knew that I had already made the decision but I hadn’t admitted it yet. I took a Xanax on the way to work and another at noon to get through the day. I texted Mike to tell him that it was time and that we needed to contact the mobile Vet. Kira always got so upset whenever she went to the Vet so we have a mobile Vet in the area that will come to your home for this kind of thing. We arranged for “Forever Home” to come out Friday. The offered 8am or noon and I said 8am so that we would not sit around the house all morning feeling sorry for Kira or ourselves.

At the end of Thursday I told everyone at work that I was taking the next day off and would be unreachable. That is a rare thing for me to do and everyone at work knew that Kira was having problems. So no-one said a word. The CFO sent me a message of sorrow for the event. I got home and had 2 shots fo Vodka, kept Kira close and did everything I could to make her happy. Special dinner, walking up the lane, laying on the bed listening to a book. She continued to be uncomfortable, panted constantly and appeared to be in pain. I cried myself to sleep Thursday night.

Kira and Goof got cold

Just as I was recovering from being sick and not able to eat, I woke up at 2am with both Kira and Goof laying tightly against me.  While it is normal for Goof to sleep near me, Kira doesn’t like to be within 2 feet of anyone and never against them.  Both were shivering.

We normally keep the house on a schedule to save energy and let it drop down to 60 at night.  But when I checked the thermostat it was down to 53.  I pushed the temperature up to 68 but nothing happened.  It was 19 degrees F outside.

I put a small blanket over Goof and one on Kira.  Goof stayed curled up and slowly stopped shivering.  Kira kicked her blanket off and kept pressed against me shivering.

First thing in the morning I called the AC repair company that installed the unit 2 years ago and they said they were booked but would try to find a way to fit us in for an emergency visit.  We pay $400 a year for a maintenance contract that includes the cost of any emergencies and adds a bit of priority to us.

During the day we tried various things and found that it we flipped the emergency switch by the unit that it could be brought back to life for about 15 minutes.  I didn’t think it was particularly good for the unit to keep flipping that switch.  So we found that going to the thermostat and turning it to off for a minute and then back to heat that it would run the same 15 minute cycle.  So, all day long the dogs huddled together and shivered while wore long coats and kept cycling the unit.  We got the house up to about 63 by 5pm.

At about 6pm the repair person arrived and after about 30 minutes of testing he found that a protective switch was failing and told us that we could keep cycling it without damaging it.  We got the house up to 66 but it will drop again.  We got out a little oil space heater and have put it in the room with Kira so that she won’t shiver so bad.

I am getting better

I haven’t eaten anything in 4 days but today I finally made some eggs and was able to keep them down.  It always messes me up when a dog goes down.  Somehow these critters just get to me and I cannot handle their exit.  I know what we did for Remy was right.  He would have slowly died from not being able to eat.  I just hate doing it.  I think I get more upset as I get older.

Life is getting a little back to normal for me.  For the first time in a week I didn’t accidentally put Remy’s bowl out. Every day this week I have fixed 4 breakfast for the dogs and then fussed at myself for putting a bowl down for Remy. I made some eggs and kept them down. This has been the worst birthday that I can remember.

But life goes on.  Goofy McGoofface is curled up under my office chair and Kira is sleeping soundly.  It is 26 outside and the house is below 60. It is going to be a bad winter.

I do miss Remy terribly.