Last week I shared with you that my dog was not doing very well, and I ended my post by saying that no matter what happens next, I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend the weekend with her. This week I’m here to give you an update and to share my experience from the past week. This post is going to be difficult to write; I’ve been putting it off for a few days, but I know it’s important to share. My blog is called Authentically Alyssa for a reason, because I want to be open and honest with you, in both the good times and the tough times. It wouldn’t be very authentic of me to cover up the fact that this past week has been hard. Also, I think I need to write this regardless of whether anyone reads it. I just need to tell my story and put it out there instead of bottling it up inside. So here it goes…
I went home last Saturday after writing my yoga teacher training exam. We got picked up at the train station and as soon as we got in the car, my mom called to say that Chloe (my dog) was having another seizure. We were about 30 minutes away so we called the neighbours to go over and help my mom. When we got to the house, we found out that she had a second seizure within those 30 minutes. I went in and went straight to my puppy, I hugged her and cried. It was the first time I saw her in that state and it was tough. We had dinner and then around 9pm we were outside on the back deck when she had another one. We immediately took her to the emergency vet. That was a tough car ride, I was afraid of what they would say. When we got to the vet, they took her into a room and we waited for 1.5 hours for an update. That wait was painful, I kept having to go outside and walk around because it was too hard to just sit there. Eventually we got called into a room to talk to the doctor who gave us more of the medication and said there’s not much we can do other than continue to give her the medication and hope that it helps. We took her home that night and she was fine.
Sunday was a beautiful day. We spent the whole day laying out on the lawn in the sun because that’s all Chloe wanted to do. She was doing well and I felt at ease thinking that the medication was working. Then around 10pm she had another seizure. That really crushed all of my hope. I didn’t know what to do, I just wanted to be with her 24/7.
On Monday (it was a holiday) I was supposed to head back down to the city and go to work on Tuesday, but I couldn’t bear to leave. I sat outside with my puppy and cried all morning; I didn’t want to go. I had to get my work laptop at least, so I took the train back into the city but told my mom that I would be coming back up that same day. I came home, got my work laptop, and packed some clothes, not knowing how long I would be there for. But I promised Chloe that I would be with her the whole time, I wouldn’t leave her. My mom kept talking about having to make the hardest decision, but I just couldn’t imagine it. If this was the end, I just wanted her to go peacefully in her sleep. I kept talking to Chloe and telling her that I loved her and I wouldn’t leave her. I told her that if she was no longer at peace, that it was her decision if she was ready to go. I didn’t feel right making that decision for her when we couldn’t tell how she was feeling. Obviously, the seizures were not enjoyable for her, but in between she seemed to be doing ok.
I got back to my mom’s house around 7pm on Monday and as soon as I got out of the car, I found out that she had two more episodes throughout the afternoon and one was a cluster, which means she had a few seizures all within a short time span. My heart broke. That was what the vet had warned us about. The medication wasn’t working, I knew we were going to lose this battle, I just didn’t know when.
I laid with her in the grass one last time, and then we took her back to the emergency clinic. I knew she wasn’t doing well, but I wholeheartedly believed that she would return home with us that night. I pet her the whole drive as I remembered the first drive we ever made with her. The day we got her, 13.5 years ago, she was so tiny, only a few months old, she rode the whole way curled up in my lap, a little black furball. My baby. I wanted a dog so badly; it took me forever to convince my mom to get one. I literally walked a stuffed animal up and down the street to prove that I was responsible enough. My dream finally came true and I was so happy with that little puppy in my lap all the way home.
Now here I was, riding in the car to the vet, my puppy by my side. We went into a room immediately this time and she was doing well. The same doctor came in and basically told us that if the medication wasn’t working, there wasn’t much else to do. We knew it was the end, but we decided that we would just get some more of the medication, take her home, and spend one more day with her before calling her regular vet and making a decision. At this point she was walking around the room sniffing everything, and then she came to sit beside me on the bench. And that’s when she made her decision. She started to have another seizure and it was the worst one yet. It lasted a long time and we knew it was the end. We held her, kissed her, and said our goodbyes. It was heartbreaking. So painful. But I knew that was her telling us she was ready to go.
It all happened so fast, it’s hard to believe she’s really gone, but I’m so grateful for all the time I got to spend with her last weekend. I will cherish that opportunity forever.
Overall, I really am at peace with how it all happened and I know she is peaceful now as well. The part that hurts the most is the permanence of it all. It’s a bit easier to handle when I’m in the city, but I know that when I go to visit my mom, she won’t be there to greet me. I’ll never dog-sit her again. We were actually supposed to be dog-sitting as of this Thursday for 10 days, so it’s going to be hard knowing that she should have been here. We loved having her. I’m never going to hug her, or pet her, or play with her ever again. That’s the part that gets me. I miss her so much. She was honestly the best dog I could have asked for. I knew it from the moment I saw her, she was the perfect match for our family.
It still hurts, and I think it always will, it will just get a bit easier with time. But I will never forget her, all of the unconditional love she brought into our lives, and all of the memories we made. The 13.5 years (more than half my life) we spent with her were well worth these challenging days. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am so grateful for every moment we had. She left a paw print on my heart that will never go away.
“It's hard when you miss people. But you know if you miss them, that means you're lucky. It means you had someone special in your life, someone worth missing.” – One Tree Hill
With a heavy heart,