Apologies to my most wonderful readers for my long and unannounced break from blogging over the last month. There were several reasons I took a short little “sabbatical” from the blogosphere. The biggest being that I wasn’t sure how to write the difficult post you will see below. I needed to process and move on for myself before I really wanted to share with the rest of the world.
I’m sure you will all remember my recent post detailing Stewart’s strange illness, and my efforts to put some meat on his bones. From the time of that post Stewart’s health declined very quickly. He went from eating chicken bits every day, and begging scraps off of plates, to no interest whatsoever in consuming any type of food or drink. His eyes began to sink, his strength began to leave him, and it was all I could do to not pull my hair out in frustration. The veterinarian became my best friend over the last few weeks in July, and between the two of us we tried our damnedest to recover little Stewy, but in the end-illness won out. Our veterinarian was clueless as to what the illness was that so brutally took out my little foster. He believed that due to his low immune system, and poor health; he caught a bug which otherwise may have only made him sick for a couple days.
I knew when I became involved with rescue work, that I would see my fair share of trauma and loss along with all of the successes, but I didn’t think that the time would come so quickly or so harshly. I have watched other fosters from my rescue go through some pretty rough breaks in the short 6 months that I’ve been involved, but there is nothing to prepare you for when it happens to you.From the time I realized how grim Stewart’s odds were, I planted in my mind that I would put every fiber of my being towards healing and restoring him. My brother and I made several visits to the vet to put him on IV fluids (which always seemed to perk him up and make him ravenously hungry); we prepared about a million different varieties of chicken & rice-hoping that maybe Stewy would be tempted to eat by a new smell or flavor; we even let him eat whatever he asked for off our dinner plates!! Finally-out of desperation-we pureed a disgusting mixture of canned dog food, chicken, chicken broth, and rice, and force fed him via syringe.
No matter how much food he ingested, he continued to wither away. His skin hung on him, and a little skeleton began to emerge. I finally knew it was time to let him go when he began to wobble as he walked. I spent the morning before our last trip to the vet clinic, sitting on my bathroom floor, holding his weightless body-sobbing, and wishing there was anything else in my power to do for this dog. I knew that ethically it was better to let him go than to make him suffer while we attempted to figure out a cure for his sickness, but I my heart still broke. When the rescue’s veterinarian asked if I wanted to be there when he did the euthanasia injection, I almost said “no”. I’ve put this block into my mind that euthanasia is not an option, but decided that I wanted to stay so Stewy would have a familiar voice and smell surrounding him in his last moments. I’m now glad that I chose this option because I was allowed to see my little dog be at peace again. I didn’t realize he was gone because he stopped breathing-but because he had stopped shaking, and that is when I knew: this was the best end. Peace rather than slow torture. I still stand in my belief that euthanasia should never be administered as long as there’s a better option for the animal. In Stewart’s case-allowing him to continue living would have been inhumane.I’m proud that I was this dog’s last “Momma,” and that he lived the last of his days in a home where he was cared for better than he had ever known before. Spoiled with love and affection, and adored by myself and my family. To us he will always be “Super Stewy” (we saved his little shirt so he could pass his super powers on to a future dog who may need them).
Our house felt empty for several weeks after Stewart left (this is in spite of the little Tyson-Terror running around stealing socks). Unfortunately, because we have no idea of what Stewy’s illness could have been, Tyson was put under quarantine for several weeks so nothing could spread to any of the other rescues which sometimes come into the facility un-vaccinated. This has given us an abundance of time to work with Tyson individually on some of his more “unsavory” behaviors: constantly licking faces, eating poop, going potty in the house, stealing food from the table, biting, and general insanity. I can tell you that we have successfully trained most of these out of the Terror, and he is on his way to being a perfect gentleman. He now sits and waits before going through doorways, at the bottom of the stairs after going potty outside, before scarfing a meal, and any other time we ask for him to sit. He has also learned a few new “tricks” like lie down, go into your kennel, etc…which are pretty basic, but huge successes for him.
After spending several weeks with just each other; Tyson and Big D are now best pals, and play together on a daily basis. Delilah is rough and bouncy, but Tyson is so dodgy that they kind of make the perfect pair. I often find them curled up together on my bed or on the outside couch enjoying the rays of sunshine.
Thankfully, life moves on, and while I’m still heart-broken over Stewart (and found myself in tears several times over the course of writing this post), I still have lives to save, and my dogs have hearts to win.
STAY TUNED TO MEET THE LATEST ADDITION TO OUR FOSTER FAMILY!
Thanks to all of you guys who showed your support while I was away.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your words of encouragement.
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