Biographical Non-Fiction posted July 27, 2011

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Grieving a loss

Say What You Will--Day 2, Pt 2

by Rdfrdmom2

Pets are family members--at least they are at my house!
“Do I understand that you want him euthanized?”
“No, that’s not what I want but I know it’s what I have to do for him.”
“I understand. You come when you can get here but be safe. Ask for me when you arrive and I will meet with Mac and you. We will proceed from there. I am really sorry, Mrs. Holland.”
“I know. Me, too.”
Cindy, seeing my distress, simply said, “What did they say?”
“Mac is in the final days of end stage fibrotic liver disease,” I cried. “There’s nothing they can do for him.”
“Lexi, go give your nanny a big hug.” Lexi had slipped from my lap to interact with her mom while I was on the phone.
My tears fell on Lexi’s head as she gave me her best bear hug. She looked up at me with those wonderfully innocent eyes, gave me a kiss, and said, “Sorry, Nanny.” Although she didn’t understand the cause, she clearly felt the sadness in the room.
“Mom, what can I do?”
“Call your dad to see if he can come home to take care of Lexi. I need to go to the clinic to be with Mac. All they can offer if I bring him home is something that might keep him comfortable for a couple of weeks. I cannot do that to him. I want to be there with him so he’s not alone.”
Lexi crawls back into my lap to snuggle while she watches the Disney Channel. Cindy goes into another room to talk to her dad, returning shortly to report he was coming home as soon as he makes the bank deposit for work. I’m anxious to get to my precious puppy as soon as possible, but I also have an obligation to keep Lexi so Cindy could meet with her colleagues to work on a group project. I tell Cindy to go on to her meeting as I will be okay until her dad arrives. She is obviously torn but I need the time to regroup before I get on the road and she has deadlines to meet.
After Cindy leaves, Lexi and I go into the computer room so I can do a quick Internet search for fibrotic liver disease in dogs. I need reassurance I have not made a hasty decision about my Scottish boy. I am also wondering how I could have missed the symptoms as Mac was becoming terminally ill.
Fibrotic liver disease is to dogs what cirrhosis of the liver is to humans. “But I always served him the finest Scotch,” I whisper to Lexi as she sits in my lap oohing and ahhing the different objects which appear on her father’s computer monitor. She isn’t impressed with my feeble attempt at humor.
I am both saddened and relieved to learn dogs stricken with this disease normally do not show symptoms until they are in the end stage. Of course, by then, it is too late to save them.
Aubrey arrives home shortly after I finish reading that information. I relay what Dr. M  discovered via the ultrasound as well as what I had just read on the Internet. I say I will be stopping somewhere to buy Mac a bed for his burial. Aubrey’s raised eyebrows hint of displeasure but he has the good sense to not voice it.
As I prepare to leave, Lexi kisses me goodbye and asks, “Bring Mac back?” Brokenly, I respond, “Yes, sweetheart, Nanny is going to bring Mac home.”
I buy Mac a new bed on my way to the clinic. His old bed had been ruined by his recent flooding of our kitchen floor. I also purchase a small rope pull toy, one of his favorites. He loves grabbing rope pulls by the end and shaking them as hard as he could. Every now and then, he and I would play tug-of-war with it. He always won because his teeth and jaws are much stronger than mine.
When I arrive at the clinic and give the receptionist my name, it is obvious she is expecting me. She takes me to the room next to where Mac and I were the previous night. I place Mac’s new bed on the floor and sit on it while I wait for someone to bring my boy to me.
My precious Mac is brought to me approximately fifteen minutes later. His eyes light up and his tail wags wildly as he comes over to greet me. He gives me a couple of kisses, licks my hand, and then lies on the bed beside me for about ninety seconds. He rises, paces the room, panting as if he is too hot, and then comes to sit with me another five minutes or so. I hold his head between my hands, gaze into his trusting eyes, and tell him how sorry I am the veterinarians cannot save him. I assure him I will not allow him to suffer. I thank him for the four-and-a-half years of unconditional love he has given me since that cold 2007 January night I brought him and his twin sister, Gwen, home. I whisper in his ear I will be with him until the end, then take him home so he will always be with his family. He cocks his head to give me that sideways glance he has perfected that says, “It’s okay, Mama,” and begins licking the tears from my face one last time.
Mac gets up and begins pacing again. Through my tears, I notice how slowly he is moving around the room. I reflect on how he did not bound into the room when he saw me this morning but entered more at a half-trot. I realize the reason he cannot be still is he is miserable because he is so terribly bloated. Although I will never be ready to let him go, I know his time is now.
I tell Max I will be right back as I get ready to leave the room. It is very telling when he does not try to come with me. I approach the receptionist in an attempt to tell her it is time for Dr. M. to come do what has to be done. When I am unable to speak, she asks the impossible question (am I ready) I just nod in the affirmative.
Mac does not rise from his bed when I return to his room. I sit down next to him and begin petting him. He moves closer and places his head in his favorite resting position—on my right knee. I have no doubt he knows what is about to happen. I continue to pet his head and talk softly to him as we wait.
Dr. M. enters and kneels down where Mac and I are. Mac looks up at her, wags his tail, and puts his head back on my knee. I continue to pet him as Dr. M. begins to talk.
“Mac is such a sweet boy. I am really sorry things turned out this way.”
I can only nod in agreement. She then asks if I’ve ever done this before. I nod yes. She says she wants to explain the procedure anyway. I nod okay as I continue to pet my buddy.
“First, I will administer a sedative to relax him. This is followed by the other drug. His eyes will not close. His body may give an involuntary reaction when it is over but he will be gone. Do you understand?”
I nod yes.
Mac flinches ever so slightly as the sedative is administered. I continue petting him as I repeatedly whisper to him, “I love you, Mac.” The second shot is injected into the proper site and it is over. My faithful companion is dead, at my request, his head on my right knee.


Fast forward ten years, Gwen is getting closer and closer to crossing the Rainbow Bridge. I will try to begin posting her story tomorrow - if I can see to write it.
A special thanks to Susan F.M.T. for the use of "Local Scotties."

(**On a positive note, Gwen has tested negative for this disease; however, she continues to search the house and grounds for Mac every day. Thanks for reading and understanding. Love, Jan)** **This was from the original post!
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Susan F. M. T. at

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