A few weeks ago, We Live in a Flat wrote about Donna–one of the best-photographed dogs on the planet–being an embarrassment, and I thought “GASP-not DONNA!” She’s only delightful.
When the dogs aren’t ours, and we’re perfectly happy to observe these dogs we feel we’ve come to know from afar, they’re all angels, right? But when they are ours…
My dog screams (yes, screams) if another dog looks at her at the dog park. It is the sound you might hear if she was being slaughtered, only she’s just been looked at. Of course, it only attracts more unwanted attention, so then other dog parents rush over to see if their dog is attacking mine (“he couldn’t be!”) Nope, he’s not. It’s just my drama queen dog.
Sometimes she’ll even do it at home if I introduce her to a new friend. We let canine friends come stay at our house for sleepovers on occasion. N.A.S.H.A. Loves to play with friends, but not when they are strangers, so I have to be careful about how I introduce them. Naturally, the new friend is most curious about N.A.S.H.A., so that new friend will follow her around. But if new friend gets too close…she screams. She hasn’t even been sniffed, much less touched. The new friend then either backs away in fear of being accused of gory murder (mission accomplished) or becomes so alarmed that he wants to be helpful and pursues the matter further. That’s not good, because then the slaughtering sounds get louder. On rare occasion, this actually provokes an attack. The new friend is trying to put her out of her misery, I assume.
And then I wish someone would put me out of mine.
So I’m that pet sitter that can’t really take her dog out in public. Well, heck. I never said I was a trainer!
Please don’t make me feel alone. Have your pets embarrassed you?
I don’t really feel like writing right now. In fact, I don’t really feel like doing anything. My eyes are practically swollen shut, and I’m suffering from a crying hangover. And I haven’t slept hardly at all in the last twenty-four hours. Last night a client’s dog died in my arms.
I’d only known her for a day. Just a day. But she made an impression on me. She was little and sweet and cute and loved to cuddle and liked to lay in the sun. Her tags jingled so we’d know her four-pound body was approaching. And she had a heart condition. We just didn’t know how bad.
She was walking along and she just keeled over. She let out two little yelps. I thought she just passed out, as her owners said she might, so I laid next to her and pet her and told her it would be okay. I didn’t mean to lie. I stroked her head, and she laid there, breathing, and then she seemed to stop breathing. I didn’t think it could be. I told her “no,” but she did not obey. She just kept on not breathing. So I started CPR. And she just kept not breathing. And her heart stopped beating. I picked her up and she twitched. I held her and told her “no” again. She twitched a couple more times, giving me hope, and then she just went limp. And she didn’t come back from that. I tried to breathe into her mouth again, but she didn’t come back. I gave her a pat and a shake and told her “no” once more, but, still, she didn’t listen.
We called the vet, the emergency vet, and my friend and client, who is a vet tech, but there wasn’t an emergency to help with any more because she was gone.
Before I married my husband, I told him “we’re going to have lots of pets, but I can’t do the dying part, so you have to be the one to handle that.” He still married me, thank goodness, and he has kept to his word. He tried CPR, but I told him to stop. So he wrapped her in a soft towel and held her for me while I cried and while the kids cried. And he took care of her body for me while I made the necessary phone calls to her owners, my unbelievably supportive vet tech client friend, and he held her body while I went for a short walk, just to clear my head.
My head is not clear. I still can’t believe it. I want to rewind. I know I can’t change it, but I want a rewind anyway. I always wanted to be a vet but opted out because of the sorrow. As a pet sitter, I didn’t think I’d ever have to hold a client’s dog in her last moments. What are the odds? I only knew her for a day.
All the pictures I took of her yesterday keep popping up. I keep thinking about yesterday, before it was like this.
I’ll never forget Mona Chica and how she died in my arms last night.