Today I write to tell the world that it lost something amazing. Ti is gone.
He is gone.
I thought I could write this today. But I can’t stop looking at the words. He is gone.
I want to tell the story. Why is it so hard? Three days before, Ti started feeling very picky. Ti loves to eat. How can he be picky? But he was. I tried not to panic, and bought him some special foods. I remembered my friend telling me that her dog with cancer stopped eating, but it ended up being an ulcer from her medications, and with treatment, she started eating again, and lived on longer. On Tuesday, while I was out buying him meat, he vomited dark brown blood. During this time, I had also been questioning his breathing. It seemed sharper, quicker, louder, and more from the belly than the chest. I had hoped that the ulcer was the reason for that too. Perhaps he was nauseous, or just in additional pain from the ulcer.
I went to the vet and got him a script for Sucralfate. This was to coat his stomach where the ulcers were. I would know if it worked because he would eat dinner that night if so. He ate a few bites. That was good. Maybe it was working. If not, we would go to the vet the next day for an injection of anti nausea meds.
Instead, I woke up to blood all over my kitchen and dining room. Immense amounts of blood. He stood there, looking at me. He didn’t want to walk through it to get to me. I woke my husband and told him that he needed to get to the ER immediately. Ti laid down and watched me clean up. I was trying to make a path for him. He seemed stuck.
Once I had a path cleaned for him, I put him outside, so that he could go up to my husband and get in the car to go to the vet. I thought (as usual) that my husband was taking too long, and I thought if Ti went up to him, he would be forced to hurry. But Ti, my boy, he wanted his mama. He pushed the door back open with his massive head. I will never forget hearing the door open and thinking it was my husband and seeing Ti’s face instead. That was the last time I would see his face in the house. I wish I had been more affectionate then, instead of panicky.
I had to stay behind to get the worst of it cleaned up. At least the pools, and then get the girls to the vet with me. I was afraid I would come home to the mess, without him, and that was too much to bear.
I tried to keep hope in my heart that this was just a really bad ulcer, and that there was some easy fix for it. I drove there to the ER, trying to keep brave. When my husband called because the tech asked him if we would want to resuscitate him if he went into cardiac arrest, I felt my legs go cold and numb. I was afraid I would pass out, while driving with my kids. I was gulping air and trying to slow my breathing down. I know that this is a semi-routine question when your pet is really sick, but it shook me to my core.
When I got there, they took us back into a room, and they asked about X-rays. I told them that I had just had some taken within the week, because I had concerns, but the (regular) vet said they were clear. I didn’t think they looked great, but I am not a vet… so I tried not to worry.
The ER vet said that there was a lot of fluid in his lungs. I showed her the X-ray we had taken, and she could see some fluid in them. She said it was worse now. And it must have gotten worse quickly. My only option was to tap his lungs to buy time. How much time? I asked. Two, maybe three days, before they are this bad again. He would have to come off his pain meds. I didn’t see how that was possible. I did not want his last days to be in extreme pain while his lungs filled with fluid. How tempting it was though. Knowing that there was a way I could bring him home again. Even just for a while.
I needed to see him. I needed to talk to him. I asked them to take me back to him, and when I saw him I knew. He was so uncomfortable. Struggling so much to breathe. He lifted his head when he heard my voice, and I took the place of the tech that was holding his oxygen tube. I talked to him, but I didn’t even need to ask if he was ready. His eyes told me.
We asked to go to a private room and I laid down on the floor with him, we all did. We cried into his fur and we told him how much we loved him, that he was a good boy. The best boy. We laid all around him like that while the vet did her part. I told him that he could go “night night” now.. and he did. The labored breaths had stopped.
I did not want him to die at a hospital. I wanted him to be at home, in the grass. That was not to be. The one thing that was how I wanted it, though, is that he did not waste away. He was not emaciated, he was not a shell of himself. When his pain left his body and found it’s new home in my heart, his body looked as strong as an ox. It was as if you were to clap your hands and say, “up, up, up” as we often did, he would hop right up and be ready to go. The only outward sign of his illness, his labored breath, was no more. He looked like the most beautiful dog in the world. And he was.
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