Thursday, July 10, 2008
It Wasn't Supposed To End This Way
Gumbo and his big brother,Bear.
We lost Gumbo Monday morning. I dreaded telling you, because so many of you cared about the little pup. I had to hold the sad news for a few days anyway, as Emma was out of town and I did not want her to hear the news indirectly.
Gumbo had been making such progress, and although there were still some concerns, we thought we had made it.
I have never lost a puppy before.
All the dogs I've had as an adult have lived to a ripe old age. In fact, they've lived long lives that I couldn't have dreamed of as a kid, before heartworm prevention, when your Florida dog was almost guaranteed to die by 6 or 7 with a hacking cough and a heart full of worms.
The Roll Call:
Ranger = 16 years
Lady = probably at least that, her rescue status makes an exact age impossible to determine.
Flounder and Feather = slowing, but going great for 12 years.
When an old dog dies, you can console yourself with the knowledge that it was a good doggie life, probably as good as it gets with much love, food, and play. They prep you for their leaving with a slow winding down somewhere in their teens so that the shock is not too much for you to bear when time runs out.
It's so different this time and to be honest, it's very, very difficult to deal with this puppy's too short life. I think, because he was so ill for about half of his time with us, that we all gave him more attention than sweet, goofy Bear. Not that we loved him more, but Gumbo had the underdog thing going on.
Gumbo was such a fighter, in the best sense of the word. He went through so much ... a twin, a runt, an autoimmune disorder that made it touch and go too many times, a spine that wasn't quite right ...and yet he had such a spectacular last month. That makes his leaving all the more difficult to accept.
Something, not his spirit, but something broke in Gumbo Sunday night and he went downhill fast. At first, we thought it was an episode like he had gone through before, but in the wee hours, things took a turn for the worse.
We held him close and kept him comfortable, planning to be at the vet with him when they opened the doors the next morning.
He died in our arms around dawn.
I can't shake the feeling that I failed him.
I'm not cried out yet, so I'm going to take a little break from Pure Florida for a few days, ... play with Bear a lot,hug Flounder and Feather's big old necks, go to sea, and try to get on with it.
I'll be back when I feel witty and semi-interesting again.
I'm just not there yet.
Note: This post would have been published early this morning, but sweet, goofy Bear chewed the phone line. God bless his furry head.