…that life without the patter of four paws around the house is awfully quiet and lonely.
Sparkle’s last day looked a little something like this:
We’d been letting her sleep at the foot of our bed. She’d been having trouble getting comfortable, her breathing getting rougher as each day wore on. So there, on the foot of a soft bed, stretched out at our feet was just fine for her best night’s sleep. I woke Sunday morning to her head resting on my ankle, hesitant to move at first, but she politely ignored me while I crept out of bed to get ready for my run.
Later that morning I got back from a long run to find her little moved: She’d spent the morning relaxing in the living room, trying to stay cool and enjoying the extra attention from Claire.
We had lunch. I made a grilled cheese sandwich from my latest loaf of homemade bread. She wasn’t too sick to mooch a few slivers of cheddar though. She could smell that package opening from wherever she was in the house.
I washed the truck in the front yard. She stood in the driveway watching. Just standing there mostly, but sneaking in the garage every few minutes to nab a treat from the treat bucket. Normally she only got one a day, but it was the kind of slow burning weekend where I didn’t feel right to deny her any extra indulgence.
We retreated to the house after that. It was warm. I turned on the TV and I napped for a bit on the couch, still worn out from my long run. She followed suit, but stretched out in a small beam of sun on the floor.
After dinner we tried a family walk in the park. She was excited to go, but that excitement faded quickly as she tired quickly within a few short steps. The puppy we once knew had long left the slowly sauntering animal who plodded along at the end of a slack leash now. She could walk a few meters then pause to sniff the grass and catch her breath.
Claire readied for bed, and Sparkle sat on her bedroom floor as I read another few pages of our latest bedtime book. She had that habit, watching over Claire as we put her to bed each night. Nine years of stories. Nine years of patient routine. It might have been something bigger, but mostly I think she just knew that she got her treat after Claire had lights-out.
She was hot and tired. It had rained a bit. The house was cooler, but still quite warm. I think she was hurting or unable to get settled or it was just easier to hide her pain from us that way. I think this is why she spent this particular Sunday evening stretched out on the floor of our bedroom. She didn’t really come fetch us for bedtime or bother much when we forced her outside for her nightly bathroom routine and then right back to the floor where she had been most comfortable.
I was just barely dozing when I was startled back awake by the commotion. She had jolted up and stumbled out of her own bed, crashing into the wall in the process. We jumped out of bed, too, and lifted her from the floor up there in our place, setting her softly onto the plush pillow she’d been sleeping on for the last year. Her body shuddered a few times, quaking as we held onto her and petted her head and back. Her breathing slowed and then stopped. And then she was still.
Good bye my dear friend.
I may as well tell you all now:
Our pup, who’s life has been chronicled on this blog in sporadic detail for the last eleven of her twelve too-short years: she is sick.
She has been sick for a few months, but it wasn’t until the last two days that she really started to look the wreck that she has become.
Karin took her to the vet yesterday for the third time in as many months. Exam, x-rays, diagnosis: she’s got a heart condition, swollen and congested, the organ which should be the size of an orange is bigger than a grapefruit, expanding her chest out like a skeletal balloon, compressing her lungs making her wheeze and cough and struggle to do much more than a short walk. It’s probably pressing on her stomach, making her eat too little. She’s lethargic and hesitant. Quiet and reserved. Unable to get comfortable in any position no matter how soft the pillow or bed or couch.
And there’s nothing that can be done.
Days or weeks. Maybe a month, tops. Pushing on is for us to get our heads around this now, not for her benefit or comfort.
Sleep was a rare commodity at our house last night. And I needed a really big coffee this morning.
Photo of the Day Theme
A bokeh photo of something indoors.
The focal object is obviously my lazy, dozing dog, but the razor thin depth of field from an f/2.8 on my macro lens pulls a nice bokeh effect from the background, particularly noting the sharp focus around her eyelashes… which was really why I picked this pick from the thirty-odd that I took.
June 22 – Something You Want To Understand
aka. Post 22 of Those 30 Posts in June Blog-Every-Day Posts
Around midnight last night I was woken by the sound of an extended wet fart noise at the foot of my bed.
Before you let your imagination run wild I’ll fill in the rest of the story: the dog had vacated her bowels with a substance the consistency of a chocolate milkshake on the middle of our bedroom floor.
We spent 45 minutes steam cleaning the carpet and then airing out our bedroom before we finally got back to sleep. It was not how I imagined my night going when I crawled into bed last night… not the first time, anyhow.
The episodic diarrhea continued in the morning so Karin took her to the vet and was given the most likely diagnosis: she’s stressed.
Plenty of food. Daily walks. Love. Attention. Toys. And her very own chair to curl up in. What could a dog be stressed about?
But I will admit, there are days when you can look into her eyes and see absolute peace and contentment. And there are days, like today, when she seems haunted and troubled. Stress, maybe.
The daily thunderstorms haven’t been helping, I’ll give her that. And there was a bee nest in her run for a few days until I removed it: a bee nest in my bathroom would have stressed me, too. I get it.
But some days I just wish I could understand what is in her head. After all, maybe it’s something simple and we can fix it. Maybe we changed something and she’s upset. Maybe she doesn’t like our taste in television, or perhaps my cooking doesn’t smell as good as I imagine it might.
What is it, Sparkle!? What?
The mind of a dog… a mystery attached to projectile feces.
Photo of the Day Theme
A photo of nature.
Birds are usually very uncooperative with me when I try to take their photo. In fact, if I had to rank them, I’d say they have been one of the most uncooperative subjects of my photography career.
Even worse than small children.
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This bird wasn’t particularly cooperative either. But when I wandered over to the ponds to look for some “nature” to shoot (a’la my photo assignment of the day) this bird was not exactly pleased to see me. I spent a good ten minutes with it swooping and diving at me. Squawking. Cawing. Generally telling me to get lost in any way it could figure.
I’d cranked up the setting on my SLR to a moderately fast shutter speed and started snapping with the lens puffed all the way out to 105mm, as much of a zoom as I’d thought to bring along for my nature walk, and I managed to nab fifty or so shots of it before I decided to give it a break.
The light doesn’t always cooperate. Neither does the weather. Or your subject. Or the dozens of freshly hatched mosquitoes swarming above your head as you’re trying to snap a photo.
In other words we’re calling today an exercise in what can be accomplished with less than five seconds of planning at the end of a shortened walk. We’d wandered over to the green-space beside the highway hoping to get a nice wide angle shot with some visual interest along the horizon and a storm cloudy sky above.
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The dog came along because, well, she’s a dog… she didn’t have a choice. The kid came along because, well, she’s a kid… she also didn’t have a choice. Both were impatient, restless, and borderline uncooperative because, well, they are a kid and a dog being dragged along on an evening photo adventure in mosquito country.
We snapped about a dozen pics and dashed home. This was the best of the lot.
That I still don’t have a pet velociraptor.
From the “You know you’re running in Canada when…” files comes another tale of wildlife encounter.
Add moose to the list of wild animals I’ve stumbled across on my foot-based adventures through the city trail and beyond. We were barely two klicks into our Sunday run, a ten klick casual wander through the suburbs, swooping along the fringe of a new-ish neighbourhood that borders the southernmost end of our creek valley adventure land, and there they were.
Moose are big and a little bit aggressive, so when two eight-foot-tall wild animals decide to have a staring contest with you as they contemplate their escape options, fight or flight, you keep your distance. Well… at least I kept my distance. We had rounded the corner pretty quick and that had startled at least one of them into dashing into the trees as fast as it could, but the other was just hanging there probably wondering if it should turn tail too… or show those puny bipeds who really owned the creek.
The lingering presence of six of us probably helped make up its mind –I wouldn’t have wanted to face it down alone– and barely two minutes later, and one carefree stomp right through the thick woods, we were all pretty stoked at the random meetup.
Anyone who ever made a rude pose with an elf on the shelf would have some explaining to do…