Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My friend came home one last time.

I didn't expect to pick Joey up from the vet so soon. It was really difficult trying to hold it together enough to pay. I was praying they had made a mistake and that my bouncing baby dog would come prancing through those doors. I knew it was delusional but I couldn't keep myself from going there.

The worry I was going through Saturday night and all of Sunday. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat. I was in knots worrying about my precious boy. When the phone rang at 3:30am Monday morning, I jumped at it. It was dread but for a flash of a second I was hoping for, Joey made a miraculous recovery.

Now, how do I look at my other dog the same? It was an unfortunate accident but he took something from me that I can never get back. This world is filled with so much darkness but Joey, Joey was pure light.

I keep looking in his favorite places for him. When I come home and he's not on the couch in the basement it hits me again. Again and again. Every time I let the dogs out he doesn't coming running with his panty breathing. I'm not going to be able to wake up in the middle of the night to comfort him through his reverse sneezing.

I'm hungry but I can't bring myself to eat. Going to work helps and I can claim some sort of semblance there. It's still hard driving passed the vets where we left him.

I struggled all day Sunday with what should I do? I wanted to go see him but I didn't want to interrupt his healing. I mean, he was so nervous and if he'd see me he'd get all huffy. Would it have helped or hurt? Would they have even let me see him?

I woke up at 1:30am Monday in knots. The worry was killing me. I couldn't sleep and at 3am I couldn't breathe. I tossed and turned trying to get some air. A few minutes later I started getting chest pains myself. The worry was literally eating me up. At 3:30am the vet called and said he had tragic news. About 15 minutes before, Joey went into cardiac arrest. He said they gave him everything a human would have and they preformed CPR but that he just couldn't pull through.

Why? What happened? When we arrived on Saturday night the vet said that the x-rays appeared to show his trachea had been cut. He said the repair would be beyond him. We could try rushing him down the highway to Woburn about 40 minutes away but he didn't think Joey would make it. WHAT? I can't have this dog die. Not in my arms on the way to help! Not ever! My only other option was to try to get him stable and then try to bring him to Woburn. I opted for them making him stable. His tongue was purple. He asked if we'd give him permission to send the x-rays off to a radiology specialist to check the results. We immediately agreed and they said they did not see anything wrong with his trachea. YES, a small victory.

I asked if we could see him and he said let me intubate him first. He's shocky and not getting enough oxygen. They put him on Propofol and intubated. His vitals came right back up to where they were supposed to be and he was getting 99% oxygen into his lungs. Another small victory. They let me see him on the table. His wounds, although, they looked bad, I didn't think they were non-recoverable. Seeing him like that I sort of lost everything I wanted to say to him. I was a bit in a daze from all the bad news and seeing him on the table. I got to pet him and told him I loved him and that he was a good boy. I just kept repeating those two things for a few minutes. I wish so bad that I had said more or done more to comfort him.

Joey had never been away from us like that ever. My mom would babysit him at her home but he'd always have Avery with him and he knew my parents. If my mom couldn't watch him my brother and his wife would watch him with Avery, still. If neither of those options were available my mother-in-law would come to our home and stay with him. He'd never been away from home or family for that long. What if he let go because he thought I wasn't coming back for him?

Why did I have to lose my best friend? Especially, over something so stupid as 4 carrots. I was supposed to have at least 10 more years with him. He was incredible.

The worst part now is not only the pain but the pain my husband is going through. I can't help him and it hurts even more. I wish there was something I could do to ease the pain, even if just a little bit. I find myself breaking down at odd times over odd things. Mostly, when I'm missing him the most. Like in the mornings when I'm showering, or when I'm coming home and the routine is changing because he's not there doing his quirky things. He would almost force you to greet him because he would bark and bark. I didn't mind it one bit. He was welcoming us home. Ken would sometimes say enough, Joey. I'd always encourage him. You go Joey! I'd always say, What? What Joey. He'd just go on talking and talking.

It's tough because you don't realize how much something means to you. You don't understand what you're going to miss. You can't even comprehend that they're no longer going to be a part of your life. Yes, you'll have your memories and the love for him will never die but it's just not the same.

Life will never be the same without you Joey.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My life is now incomplete.

One of the brightest days of my life started sometime in February 2005. I was able to pick up the sweetest, happiest, most scared dog I had ever seen from the airport. I had named him Joey. It was love at first sight. At least on my part. He was in his crate tilting his head, petrified. I tried taking him out but he didn't want to move. He was too nervous. We brought him home and we tried coaxing him out of the kennel with food, with calling him, with everything we could think of. Finally, after some trepidation we decided to have him meet our German Shepherd, Coral. When we picked her up 6 years before from the rescue league they told us she'd never be good with other dogs. So, we were not sure what to expect. We put her on a leash and into a down. We put Joey's kennel in the room with her and he came shooting out of the kennel and right into her face. Licking and licking and licking. I look at Ken and we were both thinking, well that settles that. Joey may not have loved me at first sight but he sure did love Coral.

From day one that dog was a joy. He loved me so much. Out of the 5 dogs we have/had that dog loved me the most. I would give anything to be with him and to have more time with him. He always had a smile on. Every time he thought he was coming for a car ride he would stand on his two back legs and throw is front legs together and push them down. I called it praying. He was praying he could come with us. Sometimes he did and other times he couldn't. He was so nervous. Every time he saw a bug in the house he would shake. If we were watching TV and I'd notice Joey shaking I'd immediately know there was a bug around. I'd make Ken pause the TV to find it. Just the mention of the word bug and he'd shake. We had to start calling them bibbits.

The nerves were pretty bad. He couldn't eat if Ken was in the kitchen. He'd be too scared of banging dishes or just any form of noise as he got older. We couldn't cheer for our favorite sports team or clap if something was worthy of it. We recently put him on Prozac so that he would be able to enjoy life. I was so looking forward to see how confident he would get as the meds started to work.

Always, huffy. That poor dog because of his nerves was always panting heavy. Always. He would run and try to be in the bedroom or in the basement away from everyone and everything. I now feel badly for keeping him out of his favorite places. I shouldn't have forced him to be with us. I wanted him near me for my own personal benefit.

This dog was so amazing that he cured himself of Thyroid issues. I mean, I know he probably didn't but he was on thyroid meds for a long time. We ended up running out for about 2 months and when we finally went in to have him checked out his levels were normal. His fur was growing back beautifully, and his tail was becoming glorious again. For a long while he had looked homeless. My homeless Joe. I sometimes put t-shirts on him to look cuter but he was still beautiful to me. I was excited to see how he'd turn out.

Joey was always so hot at bedtime. He didn't want to cuddle much because he'd be too hot and he'd want to go to the end of the bed so that he could be cool. Still, when I was lucky, he'd push up against my back and it felt amazing. My lower back has pain sometimes and him laying up against it made it feel so much better. No other dog does that.

Every morning Joey and Avery would eat in the bathroom while I got ready for work. When he was done eating he'd sit in front of the door in the corner and he'd wink at me. So I'd wink back and he'd wink and I'd wink back. Those days I'd end up late for work! I mean you have to wink back! What if he knows a secret.

When we would go to the vet he'd always bark at the receptionist and people checking out. I'd try to distract him by putting him in a down and he would always always always rollover! It was so funny and filled my heart with joy. I tried so hard teaching him that for puppy kindergarten. We had to teach our pet a trick and I tried high-five (which he excelled at, after the class of course.) I gave up on high-five and decided to try rollover. When he finally did his first rollover I praised him so hard and petted him like crazy. The thing is, before he'd actually roll, he'd spin and spin and spin until finally he'd push himself over. So adorable.

In puppy kindergarten we had to do a recall from across the room and everyone was doing so well. It comes to Joey and I call him and he runs over so excitedly and right before he reaches my hands he starts doing the puppy 5000 in circles around me. Just out of reach. What a ham. He had the best recall though, if I called his name he'd come running. Well, unless he was running away around the neighbors house.  He loved being outside. He would run around with Coral and just be by her side while she was chasing sticks.

Sometimes Ken would forget him outside in the dog run because he'd just be sitting there enjoying himself. I'd ask Ken, where's Joey? We'd have to go back and call him to come in. You'd think he'd be in sleeping in our bedroom when in fact he was just hanging out under the sun. Every single time we let Avery out she'd wait and peek around the corner until Joey would come running. All you'd have to say was "outside" and he'd be off and running! It's one reason he lost his beautiful tail. Avery would latch on and take a piece out of it. Almost every time they'd go out. He never seemed to mind. He was just so focused on getting outside.

I'm not sure when he started becoming more and more scared of things. He never played. We got Avery and she was always running around with toys and Joey just wouldn't. It was very rare that he'd pick up a toy and start playing so when he did I'd stop whatever I was doing just to watch and enjoy his merriment.

Joey loved every dog he came into contact with. People he was petrified of but dogs, man he didn't mind them at all. We went to the dog park once and there was this one dog that wouldn't leave him alone so he screeched and the owner came running and said his dog had never done that before. His dog hadn't done anything and I was about to tell him that before he scolded me and told me Joey belonged in the small dog park. Joey wants to run. He's 20lbs of bunched up energy. He doesn't need no small dog park!!! We left but brought him back a few hours later after that dog had left and Joey had a ball running from one end to the other. Stopping at various people to do his little man bark. He had this ruhr ruhr ruhr that he did that was so freaking adorable. It was reserved for when we'd just get home and occasionally when I was lucky.

Mr. Brightside by the Killers was his favorite song. He'd "sing and dance" with me while it was playing. Every time it would come on after that I'd tell him. Joey!!! It's your favorite song.

"Hands" was his favorite game. It's the only time he'd always play. Ken and I would be laying in bed and Ken would move his hand real fast under the blanket and Joey would chase it and do little puppy growls and try to catch it with his paws. He'd roll and try to grab them. So fun! And fun to watch! He was like a little kitty.

Cody our old ragdoll was a great play friend to Joey. They'd always wrestle and play together. They were both the same size so it was interesting to see them play. No one ever got hurt but they played well together. Joey, however, always left kitty alone. It's almost like he knew she didn't want to be bothered. Cody would terrorize her but Joey would just pretend she wasn't there. Joey knew just what everyone wanted/needed.

Sometimes he'd escape the house and Joey and Avery would come running out. He'd circle the car like take me, take me, take me. We'd have to round him up and shove him back into the house. If Ken wouldn't shut the garage door tight enough he'd manage to push it open. He was so clever. One of the smartest dogs I know.

My best friend taught several other dogs to shred TP. Joey showed my mom's Pom how to check the bathroom trash for goodies. One time when we were visiting Joey shredded some TP in the garbage and ever since that day my moms own Pom does the same thing. He'd never even tried once before that day. Good on you Joey. I'm pretty sure he showed several of our other dogs the same trick. I would give anything to pick up shredded paper from him again.

He was my quiet companion. I would come home from work and after he'd settled down a little waiting for what we'd do next he'd just sit in the rocking chair with his head tilted slightly to one side and I'd walk over tell him "up top" and he'd put his paws on me and wait for pets. It's something I didn't realize I looked forward to until I couldn't do it anymore.

Oh that fun boy. He used to smell my Chapstick and I'd wait for him to lick. I'd just wait but he never did. He must have known I didn't appreciate dog kisses on my lips. He would smell for such a long time though. Sniff sniff sniff sniff. I'd think surely he can't still be smelling and yet he was. He would sniff for so long. All my other dogs try to lick it off but not Joey, no sir, he was such a considerate friend.

He loved going for walks and he'd have so much energy he'd spin while in front just to slow down and keep step with me. He was so fast. That dog could run! For such a small dog he had such a big life. How can such a happy dog be taken from us so soon?

There is so much I can say about him and it still wouldn't be enough. There is no way to explain how bright he was.

The hardest thing about losing him is the routine. Coming home you expect him to be there with his smiling face. Or when he's done going potty and he back kicks about 100 times. Or when you come home and he's kicking the rugs up under him because he's so excited to see you. I find myself almost calling out for him wondering where he's gone off too. He was so sneaky and would get himself locked into different rooms all the time. We'd have to go on searches for him. Joey, where are you!?

Joey was an amazing car rider. He loved them and he'd always sit on my lap to look out the window. He'd lean into and out of the curves perfectly. When he'd get tired he'd lay on my lap and put his head on the headrest. Especially, on the long rides to Lancaster, NH to see his "grandparents". My parents would babysit him and my mom would always say,  he tried running down the driveway to find you. He'd always be listening and waiting for us to return.

When he was younger, he'd shred the toys for their squeaker and just play with those. I'd find pieces of toy everywhere and him playing and chewing on the plastic. How can toys only last 4.6 seconds when they cost so much? I should have just bought him a bag of squeakers.

He was such a delight to have around. He made our whole world better. He loved being petted so he loved being groomed. You could never stop petting him. He'd grab your hand and pull you back. No! Don't stop petting me. Ken would always pet him before bed and if he stopped Joey would tell him NO. Ken would say, I can't pet you all night, buddy. So Joey would turn to me like, OK, your turn mommy.

Speaking of bed! He sure could make a mean bed. When it was time to change the sheets, we'd slowly pull the old one out from under him and Joey would run around the four corners as we made them.

My love for him will never fade. My memories may but he'll forever be with me. Rest in peace you magnificent dog.

Joey -  12/15/04-6/1/15

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