I’ve been composing this post in my head for over a week now, and it hasn’t gotten any easier.
We celebrated Rosie’s 10th birthday on July 25th, with a new shirt, a cookie, and a meatball from a local restaurant. She was still recovering from surgery – she had had mammary gland tumors and “old lady” warts taken off – and was getting adjusted to being on Lasix, as she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, common in pups her age. She awoke smiling, as always, and had a really nice day.
Throughout the next few weeks, her breathing was still a little ragged, and she went to get checked out at the vet. Her sutures were removed from surgery and her doctor said she looked perfect, and that we had to give the Lasix time to work. The high humidity wasn’t helping, either. Rosie remained her usual cheerful self, barking at me when I arrived home from work and snuggling in bed for cuddles. She was even gifted a stroller to help her get around easier!
Still, her breathing just wasn’t good. We are fortunate enough to be able to text and call her vet tech anytime, and my “sister” is one, as well. Everyone said to keep her cool, so we lowered the air and kept her near fans. It became difficult for her to eat, and I think that it’s like when you get a really bad cold -you can’t breathe out of your nose so closing your mouth to chew is difficult! We spoon fed her and used syringes to give her water when she wouldn’t eat or drink.
On Saturday, August 6th, my parents took her out for a Puppuccino from Starbucks, which she enjoyed. But she just wasn’t right, and I had hoped to take her back into the vet the following week. I came home Saturday night to stay with her and she had a really good evening. She ate everything I fed her, and settled down on the couch between my mom and me, resting and breathing fairly well. She awoke, coughing, as usual, the next morning, and went downstairs for breakfast. In the afternoon, I decided to take a quick nap and asked my mom if she’d bring Ro upstairs so we could snuggle. That was at 1:24 pm. At 1:35pm, my girl was gone.
As I texted a friend whose dog had also been diagnosed with CHF, I felt something wet beside me. Because Lasix is a diuretic, I figured Rosie had had an accident – which was to be expected. When I turned to her to tell her it was okay, it was clear something was happening. I jumped up and called her name, asking her please not to go, then screamed for my mom. While the life left her sweet little body, my parents came running up and my dad and I administered CPR, but there was nothing to be done. It is apparent that she threw a clot, and with CHF, dogs can die just walking down the street. While I knew that she wasn’t 100%, this was still fairly unexpected, shocking, and tragic. I’m still in shock.
I held her the rest of the afternoon, telling her I wasn’t mad at her and understood that this was what she had to do, and how much of a sweet and good girl she is. We napped for a few hours, and I kissed her soft cheeks, rubbed her little ears that had been chewed up in her former life in a puppy mill, felt the curl on her chest, took inventory of her cow belly, her snaggly teeth, her nubby tail. We stamped her paw print in ink, and wrapped her in one of the many blankets I smuggled for her off of airplanes.
She was cremated, and along with her ashes I received a paw print in clay and a lock of her fur. Her best friend’s mom, one of my best friends, found a vintage pendant on etsy for me in which I will be placing some of her ashes, and my friends at the jewelry store where I once worked engraved her name in pink on the back of said pendant, and attached it to a chain so I can wear her close to my heart.
It is very quiet without her. She wasn’t necessarily a loud dog, but her joyful energy could fill the room. I miss her kicking me in the back at night, then throwing herself into my arm for cuddles and smiles in the morning. She was truly happy each and every day. I miss seeing her burrowed under the blankets when I’d come back from my shower, and her scratching and yelling at me for attention when I returned home. I miss sharing potatoes and cherry pie (her favorite) with her, and watching her play with her Lambchop. Because she was rescued from a puppy mill as one of the breeder dogs, she came to me not knowing how to play with toys. It was the best day when she finally learned to do so, and from then on, kept all of her toys and treasures (socks, underwear, tissues, toilet paper rolls – even bags of toilet paper! -, etc) in her bed, pulling them out to play. I miss seeing her run into the room when she was ready for bed, and how excited she would be to try on her new clothes (she genuinely liked them), ready to pose for a photo. The only time she would pout was during her baths, or if I was out of town for too long. Her happiness spread to everyone. I had several friends who claimed to not be “dog people,” or “animal people,” yet they would ask to hold her or comment on her photographs. We tried to make sure her life was as full as possible, to make sure she was so loved and appreciated. Rosie loved her electric blanket, spicy snacks, her Lambchops and hedgies, snuggling, popcorn, being blow dried (even when not wet!), shredding toilet paper, naps, having her photo taken, her belly rubbed and chest scratched, going on car rides, and licking inanimate objects. She had me wrapped around her paw, and could have and do anything she wanted. Ro was the best girl, always well-behaved and eager to please. Mainly, she just wanted to love and be loved, and she excelled at both. I’ve never seen a little creature touch so many hearts. She came to live with me on June 1st, 2012, and I was so lucky to have that little girl let me be her mama.
I know she’s at the Rainbow Bridge, but I miss her everyday and my heart aches terribly. There will be (and are) other dogs, other animals, but there will never, ever be anyone like my Ro.