Monday, April 23, 2012

Fina's El Fin

This was the worst day.  When we woke up on Tuesday, I was Sad.  Sad about sending James back, so sad for my sister.   Then it got worse.  Fina was twitchy first thing.  Her drugs had worn off again, we had upped her to the narcotics three times a day, as much as we could give her.  And she was still having rough days.  The weekend had been extra crazy.  It was nearing time to buy her more dog food, but we put it off, Just In Case.


I had been following Eric's lead.  I was never going to be ready to put her down.  But I knew in my head that there would be a time when her suffering would outweigh my need for her.  So we were waiting on a sign.  The last few mornings she was having trouble getting down the stairs.  Her back legs would skate out from under her when she'd get to the bottom stair.  She was going Very Slowly up and down the back steps outside.  When her drugs wore off, she'd just shake.  And I would sit on the floor and just hug her, and her whole body would have that vibrato.  If she stopped moving around, following us, she'd shake.  So she followed us.  Got underfoot, got her poor sore foot stepped on.  It was pitiful.  

On Tuesday morning, while we were going about our usual morning crazies, Fina lost it.  She emptied her bladder, flooding the kitchen, then her colon in 6 places.  Luckily, this time no one stepped in it.  But as I have been asking Eric every time she does something like this, Shall I make the call?  He said Yes.  

He had a morning meeting, so he wanted to set the appointment for the afternoon.  So I called Dr. Dan, and made the appointment for 2:30.  That left me most of the day to sit on that decision.  Rather awful.  It was weird.  By the time we set the appointment, Fina was back to acting Fine. 

So, Kathleen and I (and Emily, who was feeling a bit under the weather) drove thru Starbucks and came back here, to drink, watch Avatar, and toss cheese balls  for Fina to catch.   She was thrilled.  All the cheetos she could eat.  And she ate them all.  And she was back to her more spry self, to hover and shark around for Starbucks.  

Fina loved to slurp the leftovers out of a Starbucks cup.

After preschool, Eric came home, and we had Taco Bell lunch, where Fina helped along with some of our lunch.  Who cares about giving a dying dog Taco Bell?   What's it going to do, make her sick?  So, she got her fill of people food this day.

Then it was time to take our ride.  Eric stayed home with Sam, while I took Fina in.  I teared up as she eagerly hopped in the car.  She was happy as all get out to get in the car and go for a ride.

 I had the windows down a bit, and her head was out, and she was panting, tasting the air, but a little tired, just having a good time.  She even relaxed enough to lean on the chair, just like old times.  I have another photo around here somewhere of her doing the same thing.  Ah yes, Found it.

From back in 2005.  Look at how black her muzzle was.  Man, somehow 13 1/2 years blow by, and all of a sudden I have old flews.

For Fina's last trip, I took her to Starbucks.  I blubbered like a little girl when the gal asked me how my day was, and I ordered her a Really Big Pup Cup (and a tall iced caramel macchiato for me, for Strength).  And Fina was Thrilled.  She slurped right into it, and splew whipped cream froth all over my console.

I was determined to hold it together.  But as we were arriving, B* the nurse, met me at the door, gave a hug, and escorted me into a special room, I hadn't been in before.   There was  a blanket, and a portrait of the Rainbow Bridge on the wall.  Dan met me there, he's our vet, but I've known him since college, and he was being nice. I lost it.

Have you ever read the Rainbow Bridge?  I have.  I love it.  And hate it a little bit at the same time, but the thoughts are really comforting.  Here:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. 
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. 

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

Author unknown... 

Blessedly, they had a box of tissues all set out for me.  How did I forget that?   B* had a great idea.  She said, "It's a Beautiful day outside, would you like to do this outside?  We have a creek and a grassy bank out back."
That sounded wonderful.  It was a pretty day outside, and Fina loved the fresh spring air.  She never made a run for it out of the backyard except on beautiful spring and fall days, and that was that kind of day. So I said yes.  Dan took Fina back and put a catheter in her wrist, so the actual process would be as painless as possible.  She came sporting a highly fashionable pink and purple bracelet bandage.

So we took a walk outside.  They had a grassy knoll, a sunny spring day, a big strong breeze, and a comforter on the grass.  It was big and fluffy and pastel colored.  With a box of tissues in the corner.

Fina just stood there at the edge of the blanket, fluttering her flews, and sniffing all the smells coming directly to her on the breeze.  All the fun of going exploring a new area, with none of the work.  She was panting, happily, it was Peaceful.  So I sat down, and told her to sit down next to me.  I have her a hug, and told her to lay down.  She kept that head up sniffing the air, like a sphinx.

Dan must've had the supplies in his pocket or something I didn't see them, until Fina was ready.  Then he started pushing the meds.  He warned me, but I was just watching her, and she was happy.  She was at Peace.  It was so good.  She just kept panting, breathing in all the great smells coming to her on the air, and the breeze brought constant fresh air, and this God given Peace on the air.  I felt it, she felt it.  As the meds kicked in, it was like I could feel her body relax.  I felt her think, Ahh this is Good.  So nice.  I am just going to put my head down and relax.  She did.  She simply laid her head down.  And went to sleep.

It probably only took a minute or two, but it felt like a long time, because Dan had to check her heart twice.  It had slowed, but still beat so slowly.  He said she had a Strong heart.  He had no idea.  The Strongest.

I knew she was hanging on, I could tell, but I told her it was OK.   She could go, we'd see her later.  On the other side of that hill.  And she went.  In Peace.

No more suffering, just Peace.  And it was good, because that evil cancer wasn't hurting her anymore.  No more frustrations because her body wouldn't do what she wanted, and she's in a better place.  I have to keep reminding myself of that.

And that crazy woman, driving down the street, sobbing hysterically all the way home, looking like she just lost her dog.  That was me.

And I can't stop crying, whenever I think of her.  I miss my dog.

I am not adjusting well.  I can't sleep, because I miss her sweet subtle snore.  And I am so lonely in the evenings, because there should be a dog curled up at my feet, or by my side on the couch. I'm used to getting up from sitting and tripping over a dog, and there's no dog.  We leave the house, and there's no to lock up.  I return home, and there's no one to let out.  Our back door has remained locked for days.  It's too weird.  All my routines are off.  Don't get me started how messy the kitchen is after the kids eat, when there's no dog to clean up.   And there at the end  she was getting every uneaten bit from our plates.  What was it going to do, make her fat, make her sick?  Now there's no one eating our leftover bits.  And being in an empty messy kitchen makes me cry.  And going to the bathroom by myself makes me cry.

And don't be too nice to me, because you'll make me cry.

We'll get  a new dog.  In time.  But right now, I miss Fina. I want  my Fina.


Unknown said...

David just walked in from the HOA meeting and I'm sobbing at the computer. He was tried to reassure me that Dorito is never going to go to sleep.

Rachel said...

God bless excellent vets and their techs. We had decided it was Sadie's time, and she perked up an hour before the appointment; I think they know and God gives us one little last special few moments. I so, very much, know how you feel....down to going to the bathroom alone. Every black lab hurts my heart, and it's okay. I am ten months past that day, and I still ache for her and cry for her. You will be okay, too.

And, so you quit crying, your blog apparently thinks I am a machine and has me doing that stupid word verification thing. Turn it off, woman!!!!! :)

Elizabeth said...

I am so, so sorry Cathy. I'm a blubbering mess just reading about it. Dogs are very special members of the family.