Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Eesha Baby Girl

It's been almost 2 months, and I still catch myself looking at the spot between the refrigerator and the kitchen table to see if she has food or water. Or, I will move the computer chair in front of the garbage can so she won't be tempted to get into it and make a mess. Old habits are hard to break when your heart is already broken. I sometimes don't even realize I do these things, but when a dog as special as she was is in your life for 12 years, well, it's just hard.

I have had a hard time coming to grips with what happened in the days leading up to August 31, 2006. It started with my BF telling me that Eesha was thin, and that her ribs were showing. She was already showing signs of aging in her hips. She had problems getting up off the linoleum floor and we had rugs all over so she wouldn't slip, fall and hurt herself. But thin? Eesha was lab/husky/German Shepard mix. Large black dog, white spot on her chest and thick husky fur that if you caught her in the right light you could see the "saddle bag" so distinct in shepards, just an outline of it. She had been overweight (much like her family), and I had changed her food and tried to make sure she didn't overeat. Each visit to the vet brought news of "more exercise, only feed her once a day..." I realized that I had to bring her in, it could be worms, because she was eating and drinking regularly. I didn't think there was a problem, or if there was, it was fixable.

In to the vet we went on a Monday. They did an exam, drew some blood, gave her treats and we both waited in the exam room while they did the tests. I remember there was a cat growling somewhere in that office and he/she didn't sound happy! We waited, I petted her to keep her calm. Then the vet came in with a look on her face and I just knew before she spoke. "The results show she is anemic, and the blood cells are attacking each other. It's probably leukemia..." I think all the blood ran out of my face and I felt sick. "Are you ok?" she asked concerned.

"What...What can you do?" I tried to say, but it came out shaky and in a whisper.

"We can do more tests to be sure, but she may only last two weeks...a month at most. She will be in a lot of pain.." and her voice faded off. I knew this was the day I had been dreading since Dad and I picked her out at the Humane Society.

I had other dogs in my life, but they either were hit by cars, ran off or died of natural causes. I loved her and I didn't want to let her go, but I knew that I couldn't put her through all of that suffering. She would have hung on forever for me, if she could have, I know she loved me that much. But I loved her enough to stop the pain. So, I brought her home, and I let everyone say goodbye. She ate all the things she wanted to eat and then my sister Kelley and I went to the vet that morning of August 31, 2006. I can honestly say, it was quick. I felt her spirit leave and when I looked into her eyes I saw a look of thanks, not betrayal or confusion or fear. In a small way that was comforting. She is now buried under the willow tree, where she played as a puppy.

I have had people say that I should get another dog, that it will help me "get over" her death. I'm just not ready, and I'm not sure I ever will be ready. All I know is there will never be another dog like her and I miss her terribly.


Dorothy said...

Bless your heart, Laura! I can't imagine what you are going through. I've had Cassie for ten years and she's not getting any younger unfortunately. I will be so upset when she goes...I don't ever want that day to come. I'm wondering about something, though, if you ever get another pet. What if you got a small pet and kept him or her inside? For some odd reason, they last longer. I had a cat that had some type of cold infection for years, kept her inside and she just died last year...she was almost twenty years old.

I think the reason why you are rebelling against getting another pet is because your dog's passing is too new right now...too raw. You had Eesha a long time. I couldn't imagine replacing a pet with another, but you know, it does help and it won't be because you are deserting your will just ease the pain and you'll fall in love all over again. Hugs to you, my friend. ;o)

Theresa Chaze, Wiccan Writer said...

Eesha can't be replaced. She is a unique loving soul who brought you love, joy and a specialness only she could have given you. Merlin, my sweet puppy, died at age nine of pancreaic cancer. There is a specific cancer that grows very rapidly in dogs that it seems almost like lightning striking. Merlin stopped acting like himself on Saturday. Sunday we went for our last walk. I called the vet and got him appointment for Wednesday. but Tuesday he stopped eating. On Wednesday, we went in. He was dehydrated. They gave him fluids and did tests. At first they thought it was diabetes. By the next day the insulin didn't help. He was in pain and terribly afraid. I could have taken extreme measures to keep him alive for a few more weeks, but I couldn't do that to him. I would have rather be in pain instead of him. I also saw relief and love in his eyes.

But as much as I miss him as he was, I love him as he is now. He always thought of himself more as a cat and that is how he came back. That sweet soul returned to me and now is named Thor. The body changed but the soul remained the same.

When you are ready, you will find each other again. She is just waiting for you to heal through your guilt, anger and regret. There was nothing you could have done. It was her time. Six to eight weeks after you official declare you are ready, you will get a surprise. Just not in the way you expect.

unwriter said...

It's always sad to lose a family member, furred, feathered, or human. We have two cats, one is over 12 years old. I hope he breaks a record and makes it to 500. I don't want to be around when he goes. I will be though and it will be a sad day.

Our other kitty is just that, a kitten. On the horrid day Rascal goes, we will get another kitten so Rascals soul has a place to inhabit.


Sandy Lender said...

Laura, there's no rule that I've ever seen that says you have to get another dog. My family got another dog for me about six or seven years after... It's not the same and a new pet doesn't replace, only takes a new place in your heart. And for me, the new pet came too soon and the rest of the family was his owner, not me. It wasn't fair to anyone. Let your heart be your guide, Sweetie. And don't worry about Eesha. I have a feeling she's romping through some pretty cool fields having a pretty grand time...

Jeni said...

No animal you've ever had that has really made a place in your heart can ever be replaced.

As a child, I had a shepherd-collie mix my uncle gave me when I was about 6 months old and we had her for 12 years. She died shortly after my grandfather passed and we all believed she mourned herself to death.

A year later, I brought home a little black mutt - sweetest little thing that ever walked the face of the earth in my opinion. We had him for only 5 years before he got ill (I can't remember now what the vet told us was wrong with him) and died but I have never had a dog since Duffy that I loved as completely as I did him. And, over the past 43 years, there have been several dogs and cats that have come and gone in my life but none has come near to being as special as that loveable mutt was.

Today, our family has a cat, Gracie, who has been with us for 14 years now. She's a gem too and I worry how my daughter, who is the true cat lover in the family, will handle it when the day comes that Gracie is no longer a part of our household.

Losing a pet is no different, emotionally, than it is when a human member of one's family dies - you mourn the loss, and remember the good you saw and enjoyed over the time you had with the loved one, pet or human. And, just as you can never replace a parent, child or any other family member or friend who has gone, the same applies to pets.

Others come and go, but there is always a special place in our hearts there for loved ones regardless of what -person or pet.

Time is the only thing that heals the wounds and the memories last forever.