Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rosey's Diary: Good Night, Sweet Girl

In October of 1999, I was just a year out of college. I was working at my first ad agency, I was freshly single, and life's possibilities were limitless. And then I decided to adopt a dog. My parents cautioned against it, saying I'd never be able to travel around the world like my sister did, that a dog was a liability, but I was okay with that. Visiting the shelter weekly, sometimes daily, I waited for the right dog to speak to me. And then one day, she did. The shelter hadn't even fixed Pascha, they put her in the last kennel with four other dogs and had pretty much ruled her unadoptable. She wasn't a puppy, she was skittish, flashes of light put her into minor seizures, and her spine was injured from abuse. But the day we met, she looked at me, raised an eyebrow, and I knew that I now belonged to her and she belonged to me. I picked her up the next day, and proud of my first real adult decision, I decided to introduce her to my family. I loaded her in my Mazda and drove to Chula Vista. She was terrified during that first long car ride, so she crawled behind me.I reclined the seat and just leaned back on her and she proceeded to pee all over my back right around the Plaza Boulevard off ramp. But what could I do but keep driving and take her to meet my parents.

Her behavior was really challenging at times. I used to keep shoes under the bed and at least 8 pairs were chewed on before I got the message. For the first year, she would just hide under the bed whenever any guests came over, and once she got over that, she'd bark incessantly until the guest would give her a cookie, but it took several years before she'd make eye contact with someone new. At one point we were a family with three cats and Pascha, and she sometimes didn't realize her size and would play a little too rough with Boo and Monkey and Kiwi. But she was also awesome. She loved going for walks, to the park, in the car, or xozying up to me back to back when I'd stay up all night and sleep all day long.

My life now is wildly different than it was in 1999, and overall, things are pretty amazing for me, but I am definitely going to have puffy eyes and a heavy heart as I get over the fact that Pascha is no longer with me. She was an incredible dog, as most dogs are. She had been unhealthy, chomping off most of the hair on her back and tail this summer, but with Darren's care, she was going on daily walks, we switched to healthier food, and it seemed like she would be with me for at least a few more years. But suddenly she wasn't well. She was staggering around, having trouble breathing, gagging, and her stomach inflated and after a Google search, I realized that it was very possible that she had bloat, or gastric dilatation and volvulus. Basically dogs like Pascha get too much air in their body and their stomach just flips. In retrospect, I think it has happened before but she got better, but this time was the last. Thousands of dollars in surgery would've probably revealed that all the tissue in her stomach was dead. Realistically, even if I had the thousands to spend, I couldn't put my dog through that.

And so it was, Pascha was super sick and we took her to the vet hoping for a different prognosis, but in my heart I knew, and after laying on the bed with her for a couple hours, I think she knew, too, and I believe that she told me it was time. Everyone at Bodhi was great, and there was no upsell in trying to sway our decision, and in the end, Darren and I held her as she took her final breath and went to sleep forever.

No person on this earth has been closer to me than this dog. She saw me through the best and worst days of my life. She was there loving me when I didn't feel I deserved to be loved, on those days when I couldn't get out of bed, and for all of the rough patches. And she was there for all of the joy, too, and especially in the past couple years, hogging the bed, being a trooper after we had to move, sharing her love with Darren and Nova, and being my best friend through all of it. I think when you adopt a pet, you learn unconditional love, patience, and kindness in a way you could never understand without. And if you're a lunatic, as I sometimes can be, you prepare yourself for their death from the day you bring them home- what would I do without this being in my life? So with Pascha now gone, there is definitely a void in my life, there is sorrow, and this bewilderment, feeling the emptiness and trying to tell Kiwi that her best pal is gone. But there is joy, too. Because I will always be the girl who was loved by this dog. I am the girl who was chosen by this dog, the girl who saved her from being euthanized for being unadoptable, and the girl who proved there is no such thing.

No comments: