- 7 years ago
- Wedding: November 2012
One of our dogs died yesterday. I’m never been a huge animal person, but I’ve embraced DH’s dogs over time, especially since officially moving in together a few months before our wedding. Even though she was old, this was a huge shock and I hate seeing DH so upset. I just need to share, so thanks for listening.
The longer story is below if you’re interested. It’s gets a little graphic, but I just need to get it all out.
DH had three dogs when we met. Two basset hounds – a mother and daughter that he adopted from a rescue program in 2006 – and a puppy lab mix that he’s training to be a search dog. I was never a dog lover, so it took some time to adjust. I don’t think you could now call me a dog-lover (which I realize in some people’s eyes makes me a terrible person), but I’ve grown attached to the dogs. The bassets are smelly and shed everywhere, but they are sweet. The oldest basset was 13 and she had a bad heart for quite some time. She had definitely slowed down in the past year or so, but never seemed to be in any pain. She kept up on walks better than the younger basset.
She was having some ear problems (common with those long ears), so we took her to the vet a week ago to get some new ear drops and meds. When we were leaving the vet, he had an accident in the lobby and was shaking a little and breathing heavy for a minute. She doesn’t like going to the vet, so we didn’t think much of it. Then over the last week, she slowed down eating. She would eat in the morning, but in the evening, would just sit there and now eat. We would eventually take her food away so the other dogs wouldn’t eat it and then could usually get her alone a little bit later and get her to eat a bit. She still seemed like a happy dog though.
Then Sunday morning, we woke up, fed the dogs, and sat down to eat our breakfast. She was sitting next to her bowl out on the porch. The younger basset was sitting next to her and wouldn’t stop barking so I looked out at them and she was rocking back and forth not paying any attention to her food. I called DH over and he went out on the porch and talked to her and tried to get her to eat. She started breathing heavy again, so he brought her inside and left the other dogs outside. She puttered around the house, then would sit and let us pet her, and then go off and explore some more. We tried giving her a treat and some other things to eat and she didn’t pay any attention to them.
She kept breathing really heavy off and on. Our vet is closed on Sundays, but has an emergency number and few offices that it is affiliated with that have Sunday hours. DH looked up a few of the other offices and looked at their emergency information. He found information about how to check her heart rate and got down on the floor with her and tried to check it. He looked up at me so sad and said that her heart was racing so fast that he couldn’t even count to get a pulse. He also looked at her gums and they were turning grayish – which online it said was a sign of bad circulation. He said that we were probably just going to have time find someone who could put her down.
He was so sad, but I tried to reassure him that maybe it wasn’t that bad and we shouldn’t make any assumptions until we got her in somewhere so around 11 a.m. DH decided to call the emergency number for our vet. The vet answered right away and DH tried to explain what was going on, but was too upset, so he gave me the phone. I told him what was going on and asked if he thought we needed to get her into another office that was open. He said that he could meet us at his office at 1 p.m. and he could run some tests.
She kept walking around and so we took turns watching her and getting showered and dressed. DH got a big fluffy pillow and made a little bed for her next to the couch. She went over to the door to the porch a couple times and looked outside at the other dogs. DH would try to let her out, but she wouldn’t go outside. So she sat down by us on her pillow while we decided to play a card game to pass the time until we went to the vet.
She was quietly sitting there and then started breathing heavy again. DH got down on the floor with her and said, “I don’t know if we’re going to make it to the vet” as she starting kind of coughing. Then he said, “Get a towel.” And before I could stand up from the couch, he said, “She’s dead.” I said “No, she isn’t,” because she was still coughing, but then saw that she had coughed up a lot of bloody fluid. He said, “She’s not here anymore” and I saw that her eyes were all glassy. She was still kind of spewing the bloody liquid from her mouth, so he picked her up and moved her to the kitchen and she was limp. I grabbed a towel and he crouched down next to her and she obviously was gone. He cleaned up her face and then put a towel over her. We stood in the kitchen and hugged really shaken up. It had all happened really fast. He went back into the living room. Then she twitched a little big again and made a few more noises. He said, “Is that her?” and I said yes, but then she didn’t make any more noise or move any more.
It was 12:15, so I decided to call the vet back since he was supposed to meet us at 1 p.m. I told him what had just happened and that she seemed to be gone. He said that he was just a few minutes away from the office now so he would meet us there as soon as we could get there. DH called his dad and told him what happened and his dad said that their family vet always made sure to let other pets see a pet again before the people take them away. So we let to the dogs in one at a time and they came and saw her. It was so sad watching the other basset come see her mom and say goodbye.
DH went outside to get some stuff moved around in his truck and I quickly moved things around so that we wouldn’t have to deal with cleaning up her food bowl and the pillow and everything when we got back from the vet and have it be harder. We loaded her up in a basket and headed to the vet.
The vet was really great and is taking care of everything. He said that he had probably had a stroke which is very hard to tell in a dog and that led to clotting. He was very apologetic that he couldn’t give us more of an idea of what happened.
I’m very glad that it all happened when we were both home with her and she didn’t seem to be in pain for very long, but the whole scene was very intense. I’m a squeamish person and have definitely never seen anything like that, but the hardest thing for me was trying to be strong for DH. I know it’s going to be hard for him adjusting to being without her.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I just don’t think I can share all of those details with a friend or my mom and I needed to process through it all.