Monday, February 7, 2011

Some days.

Some days are going to be bad, no matter how badly you want them not to be.

For me, it's Monday, February 9th.

You're going to say, "But it ISN'T February 9th today. What is she talking about?"

Well, it WAS a Monday, 2 years ago. And it was the day Jordan Puff Piglet died.

February is no longer my favourite month. Thank goodness it's a short one. One day a couple of weeks back, looking at Georgia, The Other Half and I wondered how it could be that she's already been with us almost 2 years. TWO YEARS! The pitapata counter on the sidebar reminds me exactly how many months, weeks and days it's been.

She's only already 2 and a half years old. We're already dreading the end. How's that for advance planning?

Rufus B Thumper hasn't been well the last few weeks. The heat could be getting to him. Things could just be failing inside of him, as they do with ancient dogs. His stomach is acting up again, as is Georgia's. Between the 2 of them, it's been a seemingly endless round of cleaning up after accidents and cooking little small meals of pap. I've never studied poop so closely before. Every well formed turd has become a reason to rejoice. Every puddle, a source of worry. It's the curse of February. There's no doubt in my mind.

Shortly after Jordan died, I was in one of those New Age shops on Darling Street, looking at healing crystals when I saw some Angel Cards. I didn't know what they were. The lady behind the counter told me to think of a question and pick a random card for an angel to answer.

My question was, "When will Rufus die?"

The answer was, "Summer."

I instantly concluded that it would be summer of that year, 2009, because Rufus was very poorly then and missing his old friend. But my sometimes smarter Other Half told me it could mean any summer! Even one 5 years on! It was a relief to hear that then. But I've dreaded the arrival of summer ever since.

2 years ago, at just about the time I'm writing this, in the late morning on a Monday, Jordan couldn't get up anymore. He was lying outside. He was breathing strangely but he wasn't crying. I tried to get him to come into the house, but he wouldn't, so I covered him with a towel and left him where he was. He'd gone for his morning walk with Rufus. He'd had his breakfast. I thought maybe he had a bad tummy. I wasn't too worried.

Jordan had come up to the bedroom a few nights before, which was unusual for him because he liked his comfy bed downstairs and was an independent sleeper. But that night, he went to sleep on the floor, next to me. Sometime during the night, he went back downstairs. I didn't hear him go. I didn't ponder too much over the incident. It was nothing to worry about.

The night of February 8th, Jordan wasn't too well. He'd had his walk. He'd had his dinner. But he was a bit down. He started to throw up in his bed. Don't ask me what it looked like, because I don't remember. I wasn't too worried, but I decided to sleep downstairs with him, on the couch next to his bed. The night passed uneventfully.

The next morning, we called the vet to make an appointment for Jordan. Our regular vet wasn't at the clinic that day. We managed to get an appointment to see the attending vet at the end of the day. We weren't too worried. It didn't look like an emergency at all.

Early that afternoon, I had to call The Other Half who was out at work, and tell him we'd have to bring Jordan in to the vet sooner. I'd managed to persuade him to come into the house for a brush. He was very wobbly but he got up and came in. After his brush, I left him on the rug in the warm sun. When I came back, maybe some minutes later, he'd disappeared. Though our house is small, I couldn't immediately see where he was. Then I found him. Outside, hunched in the space between the barbecue and the wall, trying to eat dirt and throw up. I was getting worried. The first thought that came into my head was "bloat".

The Other Half came home soon after and took him to the vet. Jordan always loved going out and would jump into the car happily. That afternoon, he sat at the top of the stairs on the front porch. He looked out at the car, parked down the road. The Other Half was already walking towards it. He made no effort to follow and only did it reluctantly and with persuasion. I can still see in my mind's eye, how slowly he walked to the car. How unwilling he was to get into the back. If I remember correctly, he had to be helped in.

I wonder now, if he knew that it would be the last time he'd sit at the top of the front porch stairs. The last time he'd see Rufus B Thumper, his old friend. The last time he'd be walking down his street. I wonder if he knew he wouldn't be coming home.

I didn't. I didn't have a clue. I thought he had a very bad tummy. Although he must have been about 11, I didn't think of him as an old dog. He'd never been sickly, and we'd never had to worry about him.

The Other Half dropped him off at the vet for observation and tests. The vet said he'd call us when the results were in, probably at the end of the day, around 7. We knew he was going on the drip. The Other Half went back to work. I went back to my Monday chores. To tell you the truth, I don't even remember what I did that day. It was just any other Monday. I didn't even call to see how Jordan was doing.

We were having our dinner, watching the 7 o'clock news when the vet finally called. He told us that the test results had come in and they weren't good. He told us Jordan had a tumour next to his heart and it was bleeding into his chest. He told us he was in pain. He told us there wasn't anything more that could be done. He told us a lot of things but we weren't listening anymore, because we were too busy crying and denying.

We drove to the vet's, no more than 10 minutes away. It was summer so the sky was still light. Jordan was in a cage, His leg had been shaved from the drip he'd been on. He looked tired but pleased to see us and wagged his tail. We took him out to the back of the vet's and sat with him. We thought we'd take him for a little walk down the street, but had to turn round because it was too much for him. So we sat there in the empty carpark and told him what a good boy he was and how much we loved him. Then we brought him back inside and went into a room and held him while the vet put him to sleep. It was all over in less than 20 seconds and by 8.

We walked out of the vet's soon after. While we'd been in the room, it had started to rain. It didn't stop raining for the next 3 weeks.

Do I think about how I might have handled things differently in the days before, and on February 9th 2009? Of course I do.

Some days, I think about how little I noticed and knew my dog though I professed to love him. I think about the night he came up to sleep with me and whether he was saying goodbye. I think about how I let him go that afternoon without hugging him more. I think about how I should have been with him at the vet's instead of doing mundane Monday chores. I think about how I could possibly NOT have been worried, when a dog that was never sick, got sick.

I think about a lot of useless things really, that wouldn't have changed the outcome one tiny bit. Is it always going to be like this? I hope not.

Some day, I'm going to not dread the arrival of February 9th.

I just know, it won't be this year.


Chapeuzinho said...

I know it still recent and it's had not to grieve when the anniversary of a loved ones death comes around. However, you can never blame yourself for not seeing these things. How could you have known any of those symptoms were indicative of a tumor in his chest? Even now reading them they sound just like an out-of-sorts doggy with a dodgy tummy.

Don't be sad, darling. Don't be sad. Jordan was such a lovely dog, and his passing so sudden and unexpected. He is missed.

But Georgia is here and she's pretty cool, I think Jordan would think so too. All that matters is to shower her with all the love you can. I mean, she must know how much you care about her. Who else would study her poo with such enthusiasm?

As for Rufus, well, he is a mystery. Aloof or slow, who knows. Pull the hair from his eyes and tell the ole grump I love him too.


Chandra said...

Oh, SAHH, I'll have to come back to properly comment. Your dread has awakened my own and it still takes me a good long while to be able to talk when it's around.

Much love and hugs to you and OAWH, GLP, the dashing RBT and Jordan-in-sprit. Dread has no hold on angels.

c at ddy.


we wrap our hearts around our Jordans, Bens, Georgias and Rufus' -- they do the same with us. we know how it plays out -- but i wouldn't change a thing. the ride -- it's the best.

Jean said...

Tears for you and for Jordan. It is a familiar story to me, that pain of letting go, that "what if..." , "maybe I should have...." , and "why didn't I notice....".

But the important thing to remember, to keep foremost, is that they are always with us, their spirits are always nearby, and they knew they were loved in life and are still loved now that their life is over.

Anonymous said...

Oh how traumatic to re-live the whole experience, I also have red puffy eyes now! How could you have possibly known. More loving and caring parents a dog could never wish for. Please be gentle on yourself. Fran xox

Anonymous said...

Oh boy,

I am snivelling as I write...

Each day I wonder, "is this the day?"

One day hound wont be able to use his legs any more and we will have to do the same.

It sucks,

and it's human to grieve,
so go easy on yourself.

Pamela said...

Ok, now I have to go back to work from my lunch break with mascara stains all over my face. What a precious, beautiful, and sad remembrance. Everyone who has ever loved another creature has asked themselves all the questions you asked.

I lost Christie in October 2005 and Agatha in October 2007. We found out Shadow had bone cancer shortly after we adopted her and when October 2009 rolled around, all I could think was "please let her live through October because if I lose another dog in this month, I won't want to ever see October again."

We go through such pain every time we lose an animal we love. And that pain can resurface over and over. I know people who refuse to get another dog because they can't get past the sorrow.

The comfort I give myself is that I'm meant to have each of these dogs in my life. I'd never have them all at the same time so that means I'm going to outlive each one, over and over and over again. If Agatha and Christie lived forever, I'd never have met Shadow. And if Shadow was still with me, I wouldn't have Honey.

The pain is always worth the pleasure of having another dog in my life.

georgia little pea said...

Thank you for all your thoughts and understanding. It was a rough day and night.

You're right. We get a dog, knowing the final outcome, the probability that we will outlive it. But we do it over and over again, because it's too hard to imagine a life without them. Better to have known, loved and lost. It really is true.

BIG HUGS to all of you xox

Kristine said...

I am so sorry. It never gets easier, not really. My childhood dog died in January of 2005, six years ago and I still cry when I think about her and the day she left. I still feel bad about how I handled it, how I yelled at my father for not telling me, when he was even more broken up than I was.

I hope on this difficult day you enjoy the company of your dogs. It's okay to feel bad and to cry. You are not alone.

Chandra said...

I was catching up on some reading and ended up at a Pet Connection column by Christie Keith. She was addressing a larger topic but she made reference to this quote about euthanasia that I thought you'd appreciated on this dreadful date. Euthanasia is “the last great gift, when you take your animal’s pain and make it your own.”

c at ddy.

georgia little pea said...

Thank you so much for that, Chandra xox. It's a beautiful way to describe euthanasia and all of us who've experienced it, in one way or another, will appreciate the truth of that description.

I thought I'd accepted Jordan's death a lot better than this. I guess I was wrong.

Juliette said...

Try to celebrate his life on the anniversary, rather than blame yourself - get out some photos, hug the other babies and your other half and remember the wonder of this relationship and the fact that you will be together again one day. My baby Dougie westie is 9 next month....

uncle STeve said...

I read your Jordan memorial blog, and could tell that you were in a very sad place.

I'm sorry that February has such a grey tinge for you. I'm sure Jordan would tell you not to get tangled in the grief of loss. We're all just passing through. The fact that your lives intersected with such a good dog is to be celebrated. Every moment of every day - every song & every friendship, all these are to be fully experienced, lived and enjoyed to the max. Look forward not back, my good friends. Enjoy your lot & the 2 dogs you got.

Our thoughts are with you big hugs & best regards STeve

georgia little pea said...

@juliette, thank you so much for leaving jordan a bone and hug! that was incredibly sweet of you :) xox

AlbanyPets said...

So sad for you. I have to admit I still get teary over the dog I grew up with. She died when I was 16 and unfortunately I was at work when the decision was made. I am so grateful for all of the memories even if I have to grab the kleenex once in a while.

Peggy Frezon said...

I'm so sorry that this is such a difficult time for you. I know what you mean. Here is what I found to help me a little. After we had our lab put to sleep, I couldn't stop crying. And I felt guilty, even though he was old, in pain, and it was the right thing to do. I kept reliving that day, just like you do. Finally my husband took out old home video of when he was young and healthy. The more I focused on the happy times, and how we had shown him our love, the better I felt. I'm not saying it's that simple, but I hope this helps a bit.

Anonymous said...

via email -

I didn't need to be sad today, but I did read your remembering of Jordan.

It reminds me that I should appreciate and love, while those whom I love and are close to - are still alive.

Much love, Sister 1

AareneX said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I know what you mean entirely--my "February 9" is the entire month of December, which also happens to be the coldest, wettest, most depressing time of year in the Swamp.

Here's what I've learned: it never gets easier , but you can get better at making the decision . Unfortunately, the skill comes only with practice.

Ah, well. If the choice is between "love + loss" or "no love at all" then I guess we all know how to vote.

Shawn Finch, DVM said...

Oh, Georgia's Mom, I wish I had known you then and could have given you big (((hugs))) I can't even read through all the comments because losing Eb is still too recent, but I know all your friends here have said All The Right Things and will just add that Jordan was so very blessed to have are Georgia and Thumper Boy now. And (hug) and *sigh* and I am here.