It’s been a while since I’ve written, sorry about that. I’ve moved to a new apartment that has a yard, and I’ve had a lot of transcription work to do in my free time, so there hasn’t ‘been much time to write.
Also, as the title of my post shows, I lost my little Osito. Last week, it was a “shit show” as we call it sometimes at work – three euthanasias all pretty much at the same time. My hospital only has two visiting rooms, set up to look like a living room of sorts, where parents can say a final goodbye to their loved furballs. Then I came home. I went outside with Morgan for a few minutes, to the back yard, as I always do. When I came in, I said aloud, “Okay, where’s little Osito?” It’s normal for her to sometimes sleep through my initial entrance, but usually she wakes up by the time Morgan and I come back in. I looked at all of her various beds spread out around the kitchen and the bedroom and didn’t see her, which started to get me worried. I then went over to her favorite bed area, and that’s when I saw her. She was clearly dead.
Words can’t describe very well how I felt. This little girl has been a major love in my life for the past four years. I adopted her when she was 12, thinking I might have only 2 years or so left with her, and then I learned chihuahuas can live til about 18 or 20, sometimes. I hoped she would be one of those rare exceptions and make it to 20, or hey, even live forever. One can dream, right? She was turning 16 this year.
During the past few weeks, I had noticed she was squatting a lot more and it seemed like not much urine was coming out. I also noticed she was having less control of her bladder. Whereas before she might have tried to wake me up at night to put her down from the bed onto her pee pads, it seemed like she was just peeing in her sleep, and then I’d wake up to find both of us lying in it. Yep, eew. Not good.
So I took her to my vet and she diagnosed a urinary tract infection, and did some blood work. Her kidney numbers were a bit elevated, and so were her white blood cell counts. I expected the higher level of white blood cells, since her body was fighting an infection. But we weren’t sure if the kidney disease was recent, or something that had been underlying for a while. My vet prescribed Clavamox, an antibiotic that I could give in liquid form, since her teeth are pretty much, well, she had one. I think.
Osito normally loved her sleep, but I’d been noticing lately that she seemed to sleep even more. I ascribed some of it to her lack of appetite from the antibiotics. So we tried to give her an appetite stimulant. It was only 1/4 of what was already a very small tablet, but when your dog has basically no teeth, it can be hard for her to “gum” a pill pocket and get the pill that way, and if i just put it into her food, she would lick around it.
So I started giving her Royal Canin’s Recovery food on Friday night, heated up. She seemed to really like it, and it probably helped that she hadn’t had a pill in about 24 hours. My vet also gave me Covenia, which I could give to Osito in injection form, having learned how to do Sub Q stuff when I was an animal caregiver at Best Friends. That would eliminate the need for oral meds, or so we hoped.
Earlier last week, I had taken Morgan for a walk to one of the Open Spaces that is located close to the Rio Grande. I carried Osito in my “Outward Hound” pouch and she seemed to enjoy the walk. Well, until the wind kicked up, and it started to drizzle a bit, and then I was partly running back toward the car, so she was jostled around a bit.
Last weekend, on Saturday, we had a really sunny day. So I took her along with me and Morgan on our walk, again in her carry pouch. She had so much sun on her face, which I know she always loved. She was content to be carried around. I remember wondering how many other walks like this I would be able to have with her. Maybe a part of me suspected what was coming.
The next morning, she ate ravenously from the heated up food, and then she fell asleep on my lap, her belly full with good food. I’ve always loved those moments, looking down at her and knowing she trusts me enough to allow herself to be at her most vulnerable around me. One of the best feelings I’ve been fortunate to have in my life is to look around the room, see all of my animals with one glance, and know that they feel safe and content. Maybe that’s how human parents feel. I’ll never know for sure, but for me, it’s enough. Some of us just weren’t meant to be parents to humans, only pets.
I just always wish I had been able to be with her at the end. To hold her and kiss her and let her know how much she was loved, and still is. But some suspect that she may have waited for me to not be around, and spared me that pain. All I know is, it still hurt. And does now.
I ran Osito back to the hospital where I work, and she will be privately cremated, which means I will have her ashes back shortly. I picked out an urn that is in the shape of a heart, and have paid to have her paws impressed into clay. The words “My Little Baby O” will also be on that plaque.
Osito will join Bonkers and Sebastian, Chloe, and my paw print of Daisy (my foster dog from Best Friends), and my picture of Clara in their place of honor. (Clara was buried out behind the house I used to share with my now ex-husband. My parakeet was also buried out back.) They are always close by me that way, physically, and in spirit. I don’t think your animals ever leave you, honestly. For Osito, I know that is especially true, as I will explain in my next post.
Osito, before you, I never understood why people could love little dogs like they do. Now, I totally get it. You were the main inspiration behind my leaving my job in Harvard to work with animals. You changed my life.
You are missed, more than you could ever know. I love you, baby girl.