Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Sunday Mourning

It has taken me more than two weeks to get up the courage to write this post, and I'm not even sure that I'm entirely capable now, but here goes...

Puppalina 
July 3, 1992-January 11, 2009

Two days before, she spent the majority of the afternoon in my arms.  It was unusual for her, she normally didn't like to be handled, but on this day, she would bark unless she was in my arms.  (And I was standing.  No sitting allowed.)
The day before, Cadence spent much of the day dragging me to the pantry and demanding milkbones.  When I'd deliver, she would seek out Puppalina where ever she was, and give it to her with a hug, nudge, kiss, pets...
Saturday night, we all went to the coffeehouse at our church.  Dad and James performed, Kelly was an emcee.  It was a great night, James even did an impromptu performance at the end of the night that we were all extremely proud of him for.  Afterwards, James, and I came home early to put Cadence to sleep.  Pup was in her Little House, then she came out, greeted us, was her normal self.  We said our goodnights, Cadence gave her a goodnight hug nudge as she always did, and we went into our room to put Cadence to bed.  When James and I came out a short while later, mom greeted us with tears in her eyes.  "It's Puppalina," she said "she's not doing well."
Evidently sometime between when we said goodnight and when Dad got home, she'd had a stroke and a grand mal seizure.  He found her on the step in the hallway, and gathered her up and was sitting on his bed cradling her when we went in.  She was more alert than she had been, and in fact continued to recover, at least in terms of strength, to the point where she didn't want to be held anymore.  We tried to make her comfortable in one of her usual spots, but she needed to walk.  She seemed perfectly fine, as long as she was walking, but she couldn't see, and would run into corners or other obstacles without being able to get out, and then she'd yelp and cry horribly.  For hours, she walked, and walked...she would take water, and she was fine as long as she was moving.  I tried holding her and walking, but she wanted to walk herself. We made a big circle in the living room, lined it with blankets, (and gave her access to her little house,) so she could walk in circles, free of danger or corners to thwart her journey.  We gave her some Tylenol and hoped she'd settle down, but she just kept walking.  I called the vet at 2am, and he said to try benadryl, but that did no good either, she fought the drugs.  She started stumbling more, but just kept going.
Around 4am, I had a glimmer of hope, she suddenly showed interest in food...in fact, she ate 4 whole pieces of pot roast - more than I had eaten for my own dinner - happily, and seemed to be her old self, as long as she was eating.  But after a good meal and some water, she resumed her travels.
I stayed up with her all night.  By dawn, I knew she was suffering far more than she deserved to be.  I called the vet when the sun came up, and asked if they made house calls.  They did.  Right after I made the call, Pup finally settled down, in the kiddie pool which we'd brought in and lined with her favorite blankets, towels, robes...I got in, too, and got to lay there, holding my sweet little puppy, for the last 45 minutes of her life.  
A husband and wife team, the vets arrived together that sunday morning.  It was very brief.  She went very quickly, very quietly, very sweetly, in her own house, surrouned by family.  There was nothing gross, nothing...just peacefully, finally, rest.  I had my hand on her...it was so hard to let her go.  I felt something from my throat and chest surge out and envelope her, going with her.
It is uncannily quiet around here these days.  It's amazing how much ambient sound she provided throughout the day...click-clacking down the hall, snoring from the other room...evidently she was a noisy breather, because I miss her sounds in every moment.  We've all heard phantom murphs and snorts.  Every morning James and I still look for notes from mom about whether or not she's had her pills yet that day.  The bench in the kitchen still has the grooves from her younger days, her claws marking the soft wood as she jumped up and down.  Cadence's nap no longer coincides with Pupup's afternoon outting and snack.  Seeing certain colors in close proximity sets me off.  Not having her here has left something decidedly hollow here.  We all miss her, terribly.

Pepper with Puppalina's ashes.
We couldn't get her to move or leave them.