It’s taken me a few days to sit down and write this because I simply had to ignore the world for a little world and regain composure. These past few weeks have been full of unexpected dramas, and after being smothered by so many different issues…I needed to wallow in my exhaustion and sadness.
But one cannot do so for long, and as a result I dusted off my trousers, bought croissants at Sam’s, and decided to get back on my bicycle and keep riding. However, I won’t take the training wheels off until tomorrow.
I was at the veterinary hospital every day this week with one thing or another, only to find myself sitting at the exam table Thursday, waiting on Honey’s bloodwork results and Doc’s opinion as to why she was so ill. Weak, vomiting, and unable to properly hold herself up, her foster mom (my mother), took her in with the hopes of finding out why and getting her back on track.
When Dr. Shrum laid down the results of her test, it appeared to be some sort of infection. Radiographs were pretty good, but the bloodwork and symptoms indicated Pyometra (infection of the uterus due to not being spayed), although we couldn’t be certain. The only option for Pyometra is surgery. However, she was running a high fever.
Honey wasn’t spayed because of her enlarged heart and imperfect lungs, due to heartworms (as far as we could tell). She was a high risk in the operating room because her heart most likely couldn’t handle the anesthesia, so we held off. However, at this point we didn’t have a lot of options. She began strong antibiotics and fluids to get her fever down, and went to the Emergency Clinic to spend the evening. The next morning she returned to our clinic for surgery. Both doctors scrubbed in.
I received a phone call from Dr. Storm shortly thereafter. Once inside, they learned that she actually did not have Pyometra. However, her liver was in horrific condition. One lobe actually appeared almost necrotic while the other was in poor shape. Taking the lobe out wouldn’t necessarily solve anything, it was a risky move in itself, and we had no idea what the outcome would be. It looked bleak.
After weighing both the bad and the worse, I decided that we could give it a shot and remove the sick part of the liver. I opened my mouth and said “Well, go…”, but was interrupted by Dr. Storm saying “Alli…hold on.”
She returned to tell me that Honey’s stats were falling…quickly.
That wasn’t supposed to happen. While I knew going in it was a risk, it still was NOT supposed to happen. She was Honey, our happy girl who was full of life. The girl that defied the odds and lived 2yrs when we thought she wouldn’t make it for even one. What was happening???
I was quickly (so slowly) calculating…liver is half dead…other will most likely follow…may not live even if she survived surgery…pain…weakened heart…infection…. I pictured her lying in a hospital kennel, exhausted, miserable, suffering, and weak. Then I envisioned her liver in my mind, black/blue on one side and withered up on the other.
“Alli…? What would you like for me to do?”
“Is there a way…?”
“She’s failing fast. I don’t think she could ever recover from this.” (or something along those lines, most likely a little more eloquent – my eyes were tearing at this point, and my mind a little foggy).
“If there’s no way, then let’s let her go.” I was trying to think logically and respectfully toward Honey, all the while saying “DAMN IT!!! DAMN IT!!! You STUPID LIVER!!!”
“I think it’s the right choice. A wise one.”
Honey was leaving us. Her poor heart just couldn’t handle it, and something else very ugly was attacking her, as well. We just freed her from her illness and pain a little quicker.
I had no control. I couldn’t stop the tears. This was not the way I wanted to end a really miserable two weeks. I hung up the phone and just sat at my desk, wailing. I had been beaten. I didn’t say a word, I didn’t get angry, I didn’t ask God “Why?” I just cried.
Sweet Shelby stuck her nose to my face and checked on me. I gave her a kiss and let the tears fall. She sat down beside me and waited patiently for me to call upon her if I needed.
The television was on a satellite station that I listen to often…”Moodscapes,” Channel 928 on Dish. They play lovely music that really absorbs you. As I sat there crying, a song began. I heard it playing and thought, “What a beautiful song….” Moving, yet not heavy, emotional yet not exhausting. There was a tone of remembrance and love, happiness, and you could feel a sense of everlasting. I looked up at the screen to see that it was entitled “Endless Blue Sky” by Kevin Kern. “How perfect,” I thought. I could see Honey sitting outside in the sunshine, smile on her face, viewing the day as another wonderful gift and staring into the endless blue sky. Honey, without doubt, felt every moment was a blessing, and she saw that beautiful blue sky with the bright sun, the birds chirping and the clouds full every day, even when storming. The song was just right for Honey’s goodbye, and the music lifted my spirits as I pictured Honey’s beautiful face. I feel like that every time I’ve lost an animal they’ve reached out to me after, calming me in some sort of way. Each time it’s been significant and direct. I think this song was Honey talking.
I then realized that Honey wouldn’t want anyone mourning over her…she didn’t like sadness. In fact, if she could talk she’d be the one to say “Don’t fret, my dear. I was so happy to have you in my life…didn’t we have fun?! There is so much in your future that will bring you joy, so you need to stay here and relish those treasures. And not to worry…I’ve not gone away. I’m simply spending time with my old friends, awaiting your arrival when you join us. Life is good, despite any bad that comes our way…now go and enjoy it. Then remember how much I love you.” Paw in lap.
It was that moment when I smiled.
She touched many of us, from the clinic to my mother. Honey was the first dog she fostered for me, and I think it was a pretty wonderful way to start off. When we learned of Honey’s heart condition and that we weren’t sure how long she’d be with us, we decided to just love her and take things as they came. So we loved, loved, and loved more.
Mother and I sat together tonight and remembered that big grin, the way she talked to us, and the way she’d slap that paw right onto our leg and not let go. Honey always wagged her tail, enjoyed a good treat and loved running down the hill in the backyard. She let the little dogs kiss all over her, curled up with Fiona, and never, ever complained about anything.
The skinny, sick dog that came into rescue turned into a tubby girl who finally grew some hair on her tail. She hated thunderstorms but knew her mommy would let her snuggle up, sit in the chair and make her feel better. That’s all she asked for…along with a few droppings of chicken when cooking.
Thank you, Honey, for making so many people laugh and smile. Thank you for brightening the household, making the bad days a little easier to bear, and for allowing me to rest my head on your big belly. Thanks for taking care of everyone over on White Drive.
I’m not going to be sad for your loss…instead I’m going to remain thankful that your picture came across my desk and you ended up in our lives, making us all a great deal happier.
Paws and smooches, Miss Honey Bun. We love you.