If you’ve never experienced the love of a pet, you may possibly be missing the purest form of loyalty and unconditional love. Likewise, losing a pet is emotionally devastating and should be viewed as significantly as any other loss of love.
It’s funny that I post about love in all forms, but it’s been rare that I showcase or talk about the love we get and give to our pets. The love of a dog is unconditional. Much like the way a newborn baby loves and needs his mother, dogs depend on us. They don’t judge us or call us on our bullshit. They don’t throw our mistakes up in our faces. They just love us. Exactly. As. We. Are. For many pet parents, our animals are like family. As a single woman who miscarried and never experienced childbirth, my Yorkies were like my kids.
My Bubby (left) made a peaceful transition just before 3 AM on 3/20/2021. He really was one of the great loves of my life.
I adopted my 2 Yorkies on May 17, 2019. They were both senior dogs who ended up in the shelter after their owner passed away. I remember that day because it’s also the birthday of my late boyfriend, KB, whose love story I talked about in my book. I kinda felt like that was his way of reminding me of the promise he once made me make, that even if we didn’t end up together that I’d never forget him. I kinda felt like he was in the mix of me finding love again.
My co-workers would always I was a saint for rescuing them from the shelter. The truth is, these two souls rescued me. And if you ever met them, even once, you’ll know exactly why I say that.
My Bubba * * ChewBear * * ChewBaby * * ChewyLamar
Back in October, I shared of via Facebook that Chewy received somewhat of a grim prognosis. He was diagnosed with PLE which is a protein-loss enteropathy which is not a specific disease, but rather describes a group of diseases that cause the loss of proteins from the bloodstream into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. What I neglected to tell you guys was that Chewy’s partner in crime, Ms. Noonie Baby as she was affectionately called, took a fall down a flight of stairs and had to be put down the same month. So there I was, prepared to lose Chewy after finding out about his condition and unexpectedly having to euthanize my other beloved, Baby.
Stages of Grief
This is probably the reason I held on to Chewy for so long. The vet starkly warned me when I first heard the news that he had “at best, a few good months, rather than years.” But I wasn’t ready to let him go. In months that followed, I would schedule several appointments to have Chewy put to sleep, only to cancel them the day before, either because he had made what I deemed to be a significant turn or simply because I hadn’t received the “sign” I had been praying for. When I made this last appointment, however, I had peace. I noticed Chewy’s chipper disposition leave him and I felt guilt that I had let his quality of life get to this point. He wasn’t in a terrible state, but he wasn’t the same fiesty, playful pup I met. Granted, he would have been sixteen-years old this year, but aside from that, the effects from the medications he was on made him more lethargic than I was used to seeing. My mom encouraged me to put him down sooner, telling me that he looked like he was “just holding on for you, DeJ.” She was right, but I was still praying for a sign that he was ready. I didn’t want to play to God and those little bursts of energy that I saw in him gave me hope.
The week leading up to today, the day I scheduled to be his last, I let him indulge in whatever his heart desired. He loved grilled chicken nuggets from Chic-Fil-A so we perused the drive-thru often. It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon, around 2 PM that my Bubby started throwing up. The first couple of times I attributed to an overindulgence of his dog food. I told him that he would feel better soon after getting it off his stomach. But he got worse, quickly. I called the after-hours line around 8 PM after six straight hours of him not getting better and constant vomiting, to the point where all he wanted to do was drink water but couldn’t even keep it down. I swaddled him in a blanket and held him in bed for hours, telling him it was okay because he would get to see Noonie and his original owner again and I encouraged him to “go to sleep,” but he fought. Finally, as I laid down for the night, around 2 AM, hoping he would just sleep through the night long enough to hold out for his appointment at 11 today, but he was restless. We got in the car to make a trip to the ER and just before 3 AM, he transitioned.
Finally at Peace
Thank God, it was quick, unlike when I put Noonie down, it seemed like forever as I watched the life leave her body. But Chewy was ready. I mean, it happened so fast that I didn’t have time to…do or say much of anything. Thankfully, I’d said and done everything I could and I had peace. I’m just relieved that my Bubby has his now, too.
Featured images by Jacob Slaton