I lost a good friend today.
Sophie. Our first baby.
It hurts so now to think of her this way. In all her glory. I'm not much of a crier, but tears are racing headlong down my cheeks just like that crazy dog on a dirt mound - and my nose is dripping along so as not to be left out.
Today was so hard. But just now I'm feeling it. The house is quiet. Jay and the boys are asleep - and I am here at the computer which is not at all unusual - except that I've just one dog laying at my feet tonight. And the other - will never do so again.
Most nights, Sophie - and her pal, Kota (who is here with me right now) - would spend "quiet" time with me. Sophie was the demanding one. I'd be working online - or settling down for a movie - or perhaps even heading to bed - and her royal highness would decided she was hungry (this was signaled by a sharp bark directed at her food dish) or she would like to go outside (this a sharp bark at the door) or she was thirsty (this a sharp bark at the toilet lid which someone - probably me - had put down). Yes, in spite of all the obedience and agility training we did with Sophie in the early days, she trained us.
But, tonight ... there are no sharp barks at the door, or the food bowl, or the toilet. And I miss them SO MUCH. What I wouldn't give for just one more.
Her body is cold and lifeless in the garage, wrapped in an old blanket which I offered to return to the vet, but was kindly told would not be necessary.
Today started out so well (this is what 8-year-old, Tobey, keeps saying), but ended up so sad (this is Tobey, too).
I had dropped the kids off at school and returned home to work. As I sat at the computer checking my mail, I heard Sophie scratching repeatedly at the desk leg. I was first annoyed (what does she want now?) and then mildly amused. She looked as though she simply could not get up. She was on her side, slightly on her back, and was flailing her legs in a paddling motion as if trying to right herself. It occurred to me that she was getting old and tubby - and as such, was having trouble rolling over.
I dropped down to assist her to her feet - and that's when I felt that her muscles were tight and stiff. She was having a seizure.
I held her body as her legs continued to paddle and the rest of her tremored uncontrollably. Soon she began to work her mouth frantically, opening it wide, and then her teeth chattered together violently - and finally, finally she relaxed and commenced to breath deeply before staggering to her feet (and I mean staggering, like a drunk who's lost his equilibrium) and tottering on uncertain Bambi legs across the room and towards the front door.
I let her out, but her legs continue to betray her, scootering about beneath her as if they were not her own. She falls down the stairs and into the snow where she relieves herself before falling and rising, falling and rising, and then finally staggering back up the stairs to the door which she leans against until I open it ... and she falls in.
I call the vet. I've made an appointment to update her shots on Wednesday - and am wondering how urgent this seizure is. Should I bring her in now?
"Is she okay now?" I am asked.
"Yes, yes. She seems okay now."
So, we make plans to look into possible causes on Wednesday.
But, then a half hour later the same scene plays out. Almost identical to the previous scene, except that this time I am at the computer and hear a crash in the bathroom followed by repeated scratching against the wall which I now recognize as the leg paddling associated with a seizure.
I run to the bathroom - and sure enough - there she is - again on her side. We repeat every detail of the first seizure, she and I, right down to her falling down the stairs and staggering back in.
This time, she recovers, but then again 15 minutes later, another seizure. And 5 minutes after that, another. And now she is bleeding. She's bit the tip of her tongue - and on her paw, a nail has ripped away from beating against the wall or the desk or the tub or something?
I call the vet back.
I'll be seen in 45 minutes. I'm to detail the seizures - how often, how long, what does she do.
By the time I arrive at the vet's, she has had 10 seizures in a 2 hour period - and is bleeding profusely from the hole where her nail used to grow, so I've bandaged her paw with gauze from the first aid kit. Her chest is damp from from the heavy drip, drip, drip of saliva during her seizures - and she either can't or won't walk, so I carry her in to the office wrapped in Tobey's fleece Jeff Gordon blanket, the one that she curls up in with Tobey every night on the lower bunk in the room the boys share.
I set her on the scale to weigh her - and she seizes. We move her to the exam room - and again she seizes.
The vet gives her a dose of valium to relax her. We decide that I'll leave her there until 4:30 (it is 1:00) and then pick her up. In the meantime, they'll study some bloodwork and a urine sample - and hopefully we'll know something.
At 3:15, I pick the boys up from school and tell them that Sophie is not well - and that we will pick her up later at the vet's. They sort of joke about it.
We get home and the phone rings. It is the vet.
Sophie has advanced diabetes. (What does that mean?!) It means that she's in bad shape. We can either send her to the University hospital for treatment after which (assuming she pulls through) she would require twice daily insulin shots - and a highly specialized diet administered at regular 12 hour intervals. The doc says the other option would be to put her to sleep.