After crying off and on all day yesterday I thought I was pretty much cried out, but, of course, I was wrong. Today I went to visit Buffy in the hospital and the tears started in the car before I ever got there. Such is grief; such is love, so it’s fine but it’s not over yet.
I wanted to see her, comfort her, knowing she has to spend all day in her crate because there’s no vet in the office today so they won’t euthanize her until tomorrow. Since there were no other appointments in the office today it was quiet where Buffy was. She was sitting in her crate, an IV in her arm, still shivering some and her eyes were focused far away from where she lay. As soon as I said her name her head popped up and she was totally present. “Hi, Mom!” “Hi, Miss Buffy, look what I brought you!” I had stopped to pick up a cheeseburger and a dish of ice cream so she could have a treat. No longer worried about her cholesterol or her weight, I figured this was the ultimate splurge day. I broke up her cheeseburger into small pieces and she ate about 1/2 of it, but she physically turned her head away from the ice cream. Guess she’s just not a dairy kind of a girl. The tech said she had given Buffy something for nausea but was concerned that she had not eaten at all today and she was thinking she’d have to try some baby food and see if Buffy would find that more palatable. Nope. Buffy is a cheeseburger maven, and even though she didn’t eat it all, she did eat and we saved the rest for later. I also took her 2 Puperoni sticks and a Greenie for later in the day. I gave her a taste of the Puperoni (one of her previously favorite snack foods) but it just wasn’t what she wanted at the time.
It so happened that right after I got there that Ronnie called me so I put him on speakerphone so he could talk to Buffy. She perked up and started looking for him but finally decided he wasn’t there and the moment was over, but I couldn’t have planned anything more perfect.
Buffy had an appointment set up to recheck her blood work tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 so we will use that appointment as her time at the gallows. I decided that I couldn’t let her go through this alone so I will be there with her, something I’ve never done before and thought I could not handle emotionally, but I can’t let her face forever alone. The veterinarian who will euthanize her is, ironically, the vet from the ER that diagnosed her kidney failure in May and who euthanized Maximus. She is a quiet, sweet woman who makes you feel loved and listened to. A fitting doctor to lead Miss Buffy’s trip to the Rainbow Bridge. Fortunately all the vets at our preferred clinic are just as nice and caring; we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Losing Buffy, while not a good thing, is hopefully allowing me to put some closure to losing Maximus. The night we had Maximus euthanized at the emergency clinic they asked if we wanted him cremated or did we want his remains to bury. The thought of either was not manageable in our brains at the time. I did want his collar and it has been on my desk since May 28th, but after time to process the grief, and to get Buffy well after the attack, I wished I’d had Max cremated and had some kind of memorial of him and all he meant to me. After all, I’d had him since he was 8 days old and had bottle-fed him. He was my child in so many ways and his loss devastated me. I had finally gotten to the point where I no longer cried about him every day and now the tears are for Buffy’s demise, but they’re also still unshed tears for my baby, Maximus. I miss him terribly! With all his faults (which actually were few but serious ones nevertheless) he remains my big, clumsy baby who at 90 pounds still thought he was a lap dog but snored like a drunken sailor when he’d sleep on the couch. I remember the softness of his fur, like baby’s hair, that we thought would coarsen with age, but never did. At 2 years old his hair still felt like a baby’s and I’d rub his ears while he slept with his big head in my lap. I so loved that part of him, the baby part so opposite of the demon part of his brain that would flash and dole out pain and blood to the other dogs he was around. It’s hard to understand the Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde transformation he’d make. One minute he was Maximus, the next he was the demon, the next he was Maximus with no idea of the destruction he’d dealt. That was why euthanization was the only choice: he didn’t know what he was doing when he’d snap like that and consequently had no remorse when it was over. Even on 3 Prozac per day he was still having those personality shifts and he was too big and too dangerous to allow to continue his path of destruction. He wasn’t getting better; he wasn’t going to get better, so, like Buffy he had to lose his life. Perhaps some time in the future there’ll be ways to treat Max’s brain problem and Buffy’s kidney failure in other suffering animals, but until then we will have to be content to remember them both with love.