Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sadness and Loss: Farewell good friend, I'm glad to have known you Chuie

Two years ago, the girl was almost 7 months old when we had to euthanize our yellow lab Ella after she suffered a life threatening stroke. Here we are another child, another October, and another dog. This morning after serious deliberation John and I had our vet euthanize Chuie.  He was 10yrs old.  Chuie was our "special needs" dog.  He always required more attention than Ella, he had separation anxiety - such that he'd break out of his airline approved kennel during the day, he ate my favorite couch and love seat after escaping one day. He ate my roommate from hell's 400.00 pair of shoes. He ate my well worn Uggs - right before Ophra declared they were the best thing on earth and caused a run on them in the store and it took me 4 years to replace them!

Chuie and Ella - peas in a pod.
After extensive "boot camp" Chuie turned into a great dog.  He would walk off leash, listen to voice commands. He'd do anything to please us for some love.  He made grumble sounds when you hugged him. When he'd get excited and would bark - he made the wroo-wraa-wroo sound, that made him sound like Chewbacca.  As much as we'd like to claim we named him after Chewbacca - we can't.  We rescued him and his name was Pickachu - after the pokemon cartoon character.  So we shortened it to Chuie.

We thought we were going to lose Chuie 3 years ago when he suddenly became so ill he spent a night in the emergency vet for fluids. After many blood draws and tests, our vet discovered he was diabetic.  Out of the blue our "special needs" dog became very special needs.  We had to take blood glucose readings two times a day and administer insulin.  It took a while for us to find the right formula but we eventually fixed it and it kept him alive and happy.

Though after Ella's passing Chuie started to deteriorate. He just wasn't the same dog without Ella. His diabetes became harder to control.  He'd have good days, he'd have bad days.  On the good days he'd find a way to sneak out of the yard and take himself for a walk around the neighborhood.  On the bad days he couldn't last a whole day in the kennel without an accident while we were at work.  Hunger always drove Chuie, especially with the diabetes, he'd try to open doors to get at food, we couldn't leave things on the counter because he'd pull it down and eat it.  One time he ate a whole stick of butter.  He's eaten loves of bread too. He's been caught taking steak off the counter.  He's also been known to steal tomatoes straight off the vine, eat kale and collard greens off the stem out in the garden. I could never figure out why my tomatoes never ripened, when the were always so close.  Something kept stealing them, a raccoon I figured but I found out one early morning it was Chuie!

So, it shouldn't have been a surprise when two Saturdays ago, the chow hound that Chuie is, found and ate a 1lb bar or dark chocolate.  I really didn't think he'd make it.  All that sugar coursing through him, as well as the chocolate didn't make for the best combination for his diabetes.  He became extremely sick and our house smelled like hot coco mixed with bile - not a pleasant smell...I don't know when I'll ever be able to eat or smell chocolate again.

snoozing with John
Eventually he began to recover from his bender.  By last Tuesday - he was his old self again.  He was bouncing up and down, demanding his food, demanding to go out.  He was interactive.  Then suddenly this past Saturday - he started to slow down.  He didn't eat all his food.  So we put bacon fat in his next meal and he at that willingly.  On Sunday he only ate once.  His blood sugar was sky high, even with his insulin.  By Monday - he wouldn't eat or drink water and he needed help to get out of his bed so he could go out side to go to the bathroom. The realization sunk in yesterday afternoon that it was probably time.

A girl and her dog
So John and I had a long talk about Chuie.  Of course we wanted more time with him - but at what cost? How would making him comfortable bring value to the remainder of his life while he starves to death because he won't eat?  So we made the decision, as hard as it was for us, we know it was in the best interest of Chuie.  Coming to this decision was harder with Chuie, than it was with Ella. I'm not exactly sure why.

family fun!
Besides making the decision to let Chuie go, the hardest thing will be trying to explain to the girl that Chuie is gone.  How do you explain to a 2.5 year old their beloved dog is gone, died, won't be coming back, is in heaven?  How does a 2.5 year old grasp the concept of death?  John and I will do our best to explain it to her. I'm sure for the next week she'll ask about Chuie.  Where is he? Where did Chuie go?  Is Chuie still sick? Will Chuie get better, will Chuie come back?  She'll probably always remember Chuie, but will soon forget that he's gone.  Life and death.  It's all a circle.  Everything that lives eventually dies, even though we don't want it, it happens.  We'll figure out how to get through this as a family.

I love Chuie mommy
This morning we told the girl to give Chuie and big hug and a kiss, then we loaded  up the kids in my car and I took them to day care, while John got Chuie ready and loaded him into the truck.  We caravaned to the vet.  Dr. V met us as we brought Chuie in and we discussed all the options.  She felt we were making the right decision, especially since Chuie wasn't eating or drinking.  Our Vet and her staff took us back to an exam room, and helped us make Chuie comfortable. He laid down, and put his head down on the blanket - the old man seemed tired and weary of life.  He was ready to go, he only needed our permission. Dr V administrated the drug and Chuie's breathing slowed and he peacefully drifted away.  He's now playing with Ella in the summer-land of doggie heaven.  He will be cremated and we'll bury him in the back yard with Ella's remains.

The question now is when will we get another dog?  I'm already to begin the search for a new dog.  I know it will take time to find another labrador to rescue who's 3years old, good with kids under 2, who's active, and likes to run and retrieve.  I'm not sure how long I'll be able to last without a dog in the house but it will probably be a while given our criteria, and its probably best to wait to ensure we can incorporate a new dog into our life and home.

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures and tribute to Chuie. He was a good 'old boy' and we were also glad to know him. We are sorry that he is no longer around and that we won't see him at Christmas.