Thursday, February 11, 2010

What Do You Say When the Unthinkable Occurs?

This morning, our wonderful and beloved Sally died. Just two weeks ago, I took her to the vet as she was out of sorts. Blood tests came back normal and we thought it was probably a back or neck strain from all of her jumping around, especially as dachshunds are prone to back problems. As the days progressed, her symptoms were minimal in the mornings, when she pranced around like her old self, but would come on more as the day progressed. The afternoons would find her sacked out on my bed, sleeping, with some tenderness and discomfort if you tried to move her.

Monday afternoon, when out in the yard to pee, she seemed to be experiencing a higher level of pain than I'd seen before. On her way back to the house, she stopped walking a few times as if it was quite painful for her to continue. Tuesday morning, she was extremely sensitive to any kind of motion, either her own or mine. That afternoon, I took her over to the Tufts animal hospital, which is a high-powered veterinary teaching hospital about an hour from here. We went there when our now-deceased dachshund Sadie needed back surgery. I thought we were in for back surgery in Sally's instance as well. The vets that examined her thought that likely too, as her symptoms were consistent with a herniated disc in her neck. They said she'd get a CT scan on Wednesday morning to confirm the diagnosis.

Sally needed anesthesia for the scan. About half an hour after the anesthesia was administered, she stopped breathing on her own. They breathed manually for her for about an hour, but she never took over breathing for herself. They put her on a respirator and set her up with fluids to help flush out the dye used for the scan, in case her problem was due to an allergic reaction. They also began treatment for her real malady, meningitis, that was identified as a result of the scan. But, as the day progressed, her status remained unchanged and the prognosis grew more dire. By early evening, we decided there was not really any hope for a recovery but had the hospital keep her on the respirator through the night. That way, I could go to the hospital in the morning and, assuming no miracle occurred, would be able to say goodbye and be with her when she died.

Two dear friends drove me over early this morning while a third stayed with Skip. When we arrived, the vet neurologist told us that Sally's situation had further deteriorated overnight as she was no longer able to control her electrolytes or blood sugar. Clearly, the condition was unrecoverable. We went in to the ICU to see our little Sally girl, stroke her, give her a kiss and cry while we said our goodbyes. They gave her the injections to euthanize her and, poof, in a moment, she was gone for good.

Goodbye, Sally, we will miss you more than you could possibly imagine!


Anne P said...

I am so, so sorry to hear this. I think I love my animals more than the people in my life, so I understand your pain.

Thank you for posting that picture, what a lovely little face!


Herrad said...

Hi Cranky, Hi Skip,

What a shock for you both.
Sending you big hugs.
Thinking of you.

zoomdoggies said...

It's always hard to lose a member of the family, and you guys have been through so much lately. I'm so sorry.

Rain said...

Oh, I'm so sorry Cranky. That was heartbreaking to read. Please take care. xxx

steve said...

To the tune of "Mustang Sally"

Dachshund Sally.
Why'd you have to slow that dachshund down?
Dachshund Sally now baby.
Why'd you have to slow that dachshund down?
She spread joy when I wanted to frown.
Now who's going to pick me up off the ground?

Go ahead and sing the blues, Cranky. I'll sing backup.

Bibliotekaren said...

I'm so sorry for Sally's sudden departure especially as you both have extra challenges now. That is a great photo of a sensitive-looking little gal. Again, so sorry.

Take care, Donna

kmilyun said...

Oh you two I am so sorry. It is so rough to loose a member of the family especially our loyal loving fur babies.


Muffie said...

So very, very sorry to hear about Sally. It's so difficult to lose a pet. I grieve over every one we've lost.


Cranky said...

Anne - I have similar feelings about our animals. They are so easy to love. If you like the photo of Sally, by filtering on the label "The Doted-On Pups," you can see some other great ones of both Sally and Ruby.

Herrad - thanks for the hugs. They were needed.

Zoom - thank you. You are right, we have been through so much and I thought I was already at my limit. Oddly, I feel less depressed around the general bs in my life because this puts stuff in perspective.

Rain - thank you. It was heartbreaking to write, but I wanted to get it recorded quickly while it was all still fresh.

Steve - I love your lyrics. And you are so right, Sally was a real spirit lifter.

Donna - thanks! I think that might be my favorite photo of Sally because it captures her liveliness so well. Yesterday, Skip's aide MW has taken more than 1200 photos of Ruby and Sally, so we're fortunate to have a treasure trove of wonderful pictures.

Jan - it is a heartbreaker. They are so loyal.

Muff - it's so true, the grieving is so hard, though.

Catfish said...

Humom told me that Sally is where Buddy Boxer went so I know she will have fun.

I send you and Skip lots of kisses!


Cranky said...

Thanks, Catfish. You type pretty well for a puppy!

Diane J Standiford said...

This is awful. You tried so hard. You may be cranky, but good Lord you have a huge heart. I know Sally had a good life with you and lots of love to the end. My deepest sympathies to both of you. (Poor Skip, what next?) sniff

Annie said...

Brother told me I should stop by and let you know that I am super sorry to hear about Sally.

Brother typed this for me because my paws are too darn big for the keyboard.

woof wuf wroof (lots of love)


awb said...

Sorry to hear of your loss, when it rains, it pours. You're both in my thoughts.


kmilyun said...

Just stopped by to say Hiya and Catfish and Annie wanted to pass some hugs and kisses your way.


Cranky said...

Diane, Annie/Jan, Andy - thanks for your thoughts and support.

Susan said...

So sorry to hear about Sally, I hope she didn't suffer too much - pets are so much a part of our families, it is so hard to say goodbye. Hugs and prayers to you all - Susan