It had been a quiet day until an hour ago. My daughter called – she had to put her dog “to sleep.” She was driving home and in tears. All I wanted to do was hold her and rock her like I did when she was a little girl. But I couldn’t – she’s almost 29 and lives 6 hours away.
The dog was, according to his papers, a full-blood Papillion. As he grew, she decided he was a mutant, because he got to be about twice the size you’d expect a Papillion to be. But he was cute and smart and just a little bit crazy. Perfect for my daughter.
She took him for all his shots and fed him the best food. He seemed to always be in good health, at least for the past 7 years. But Saturday night (actually very, very early Sunday morning) he suddenly was having trouble walking and got very sick.
She took him to the “on-call” vet in the middle of the night. They decided he had arthritis and gave her some pills for pain. The pills made him sick all day Sunday. When I talked to her Sunday, neither of us could figure out how arthritis would come on overnight.
Today she took him to her regular vet. They did x-rays and an ultrasound. It wasn’t arthritis – his liver was enlarged and he had a huge amount of fluid around his heart. They sedated him and drew the fluid to be able to see what was really going on.
That’s when they found it – a tumor the size of a fist on his heart. Short of a heart transplant, they told her the best option was to euthanize him.
My daughter is devastated. She’s single and, while she does have cats, the cats certainly don’t provide company the same way a dog does. He was her companion. She’s stunned by the speed at which all this happened. I know how she feels.
You may think you can’t compare loss of a dog and loss of human life. If you did, you’d be wrong. I lost my father when I was 12. He was fine in the morning and dead in the afternoon. Just like that. No warning. It pulls the rug right out from under your feet.
She had plans with friends this evening that she’s going to try to go through with because they were really looking forward to them and she doesn’t want to disappoint them. She’s having trouble with the idea that you can have your world changed in one instant and the rest of the world goes on the way it was, as if nothing had happened. I know that feeling too.
Funny thing is: I’m sitting here in tears still. Not because I’m grieving the loss of the dog. I’ve tapped into the pain that’s still there from the loss of my father. And I’m in pain because I can’t comfort my daughter. The best I could do was to tell her that the dog was probably already having fun playing with her grandmother.
It seemed to help a bit.