Monday, May 10, 2010

It is with a heavy heart....

...that I type the words, "Gaby died."
My mom went with me to the vet today. The vet said he had serious issues with his spinal cord, causing him to be unable to support his hind quarters. She could give him steroids, which would make his poor eyes even worse, and pain killers and it might make him feel a little better. If not, he would need surgery and very extensive medical care to ease his pain. The other option was to put him to sleep.
After watching him struggle to walk toward me this morning I knew that Gaby was in serious pain. Additionally, I have been able to feel Gaby's spine clearly through his skin lately. I figured this was due to a loss of appetite. The vet told me that those were slipped disks causing more pain to my poor dog.
I held Gaby close while she gave him a sedative shot. He did not like it. Not at all. In fact, he tried to bite her. He has never reacted like that to a shot. But being blind and nearly deaf, his other senses are heightened and he is more skittish.
He soon was feeling very woozy. I held him and rocked.
When the vet came back in the room Gaby was practically knocked out already just from the sedative. As soon as she started injecting the pink stuff into his little leg, his tongue flopped out. Just like kids do when they play dead. Lahsa Apsos have such long tongues.
The vet stood there with her stethoscope and listened for his heartbeat to stop. He was very peaceful. I know he was in so much pain before. There isn't any more pain.
We buried him in my parent's back yard. I never thought I would be able to hold a dead dog. Even while taking Gaby to the vet, I had no idea how we were going to get him home. But watching the whole procedure, it felt like he was really just sleeping. So I wrapped him in the blanket Sparky and I got him for Christmas, and held him. I got to my parents' house and rocked him. He was still warm. He held him far longer than would be deemed appropriate. But he was so peaceful. The weight of his warm body was just what I needed. When Sparky finally arrived we put him into a different blanket, in a bag (so animals won't smell him and dig him up), and into the hole. 
But now there is an emptiness. Inside me and inside my house.
I gathered up his little clothes. His blankets. His toys. His little bits of leftover bones. His bowl still half full of food he hadn't eaten. His beds that were scattered in nearly every room of the house. I put it all in the garage.
I still keep looking for him. While I type here on the computer I am used to him sitting at my feet. So before I shift positions, I keep looking down to make sure Gaby isn't there. When I walk in the front door I look to the white chair, his throne, where he always waits for me. I even stepped in a puddle on the kitchen floor and immediately took my sock off, because normally puddles mean pee (this one was just a melted ice cube).
I miss him. I miss him so much it hurts. But I will go on and it will get better.
Over time I will stop looking for him. I will get used to sleeping with only Sparky. I will stop longing to hold him in my arms.

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