Saturday, December 18, 2010
Farewell Sweetie Pie
The hardest part of being a pet parent is knowing when its time to say goodbye. On Tuesday, December 14, 2010 we said goodbye to Sweetie Pie.
Sweetie Pie came into our lives in July of 1999. In February of that year, my Father passed away and in June, we had to say goodbye to my Mom's dog, Holly. Mom was completely alone and very unhappy. A small voice, which I think was my Dad, told me to go to the pound one weekend. There in one of the cages I saw her
She was a beautiful cream, brown and black. She was not bouncing like the other dogs. She seemed to be waiting patiently. She reminded me a bit of my brother's dog Sunshine, who had stayed with us years before. I took her into the walking pen and knew that she was the one. I filled out the paperwork and then went to Mom's house to tell her.
Mom was a little unsure at first, but all doubt was swept away when we went to pick her up from the vet. They had given her a bath, checked her over and microchipped her. They also guessed her age at about 3-4 years old. Mom was overjoyed. The vet techs kept talking about what a sweet temperament she had so Mom ended up Christening her "Sweetie Pie".
She and Mom were inseparable. She slept on the bed with Mom, ate cheetoes with Mom and really brightened her spirit. We discovered she was terrified of loud noises. During thunder storms she would try to hide behind the couch. As long as her head was covered and she couldn't see anything, she felt safe. She was pretty strong and if you were sitting on the couch when thunder cracked, you would almost get thrown off the couch from her diving behind it.
I would come over to clean house for Mom every week. Sometimes I would bring my cats Sayuri and MoMo. Sweetie was scared to death of cats and would cross to the far side of the room to get away from Sayuri. Sayuri knew this and would purposefully come and rub up on Sweetie. Mom was another story. He was still a kitten. He looked like a cat, but didn't quite smell like a cat. Sweetie would follow him around sniffing him. Sometimes she would be sniffing so hard that his hind end would not ever be on the ground anymore!
She also had a problem with gunk build up in her ears. Dr. Faber from our local vet clinic would make house calls to treat her and visit with Mom.
Sweetie did not have a tail, but when she was happy she would shake her whole hind end. With her long hair she looked like a hula dancer when she got going.
She was there for Mom after her stroke. Caring for her helped Mom stay focused.
Bob and I adopted Sweetie the day Mom passed away in 2002. I had gone to the pound a few days earlier to get a second dog to be a companion for Sweetie. They day we brought Honey home from the vet was the day Mom passed away. She never got to meet Honey.
Sweetie's life changed a bit after that. She was outside more because both Bob & I worked, but she had Honey for company. She continued to sleep on the bed for as long as she was still able to get up there. She also loved playing in water so we bought her a kiddie pool and she would splash all summer long. She would not fetch but would bounce and bark when you threw the ball for Honey. She also surprised everyone by stealing a whole tri tip at a bbq we hosted.
Time began to take its toll on Sweetie. Her muzzle became greyer and her steps a little slower. On Thanksgiving morning this year, she had a small seizure. We thought perhaps it was from the cold, but a week later she had a grand mal seizure. At first the vet thought it might be a brain tumor, but the blood work showed a pancreatic tumor. Sweetie had pancreatic problems for years. We had to add a special enzyme to her food to help her digest it. Now her body was producing too much insulin causing her blood sugar to drop dangerously low. For a dog the normal range is 100-160. Hers was dropping into the 30s. We began feeding her small meals every 4-6 hours but the seizures were becoming more and more frequent. She would sleep much of the day, and when she was awake, she would stagger aimlessly. We knew it was time.
We made that final trip to the vet. Dr. Faber was there with us. She was not sure she could do it, since she was so close to Sweetie Pie too. We all help her and loved on her as she passed from this world. I sat on the floor sobbing into my hands. It was hard to say goodbye, but I know as we bid her farewell here, she was bouncing up to Mom in the next.
I think the card my co-workers gave me sums it up best
"Dogs have a way of teaching us about love, loyalty, joy and friendship. The gifts your dog gave you - happiness, companionship, unconditional love - these will never leave you"