On February 22, 2008, our family became guardians of a second chance dog named Static. He was a little black Pomeranian, almost 2yrs old, born with a deformed foot, a heart murmur, and a skin condition that caused him to be partially bald. Despite these issues, or maybe because of them, Static and our eldest daughter, Aubrey, had a connection like I’ve never seen before. He was Her Dog, and She was His Girl, and that was that.
At 4:30am this past Tuesday, I heard Static coughing. This was not unusual, as in his 12yrs of life, he’s always had allergies this time of year. However, this time, the cough was different. He wasn’t able to “cough it out” like a cat coughs out a hairball. Instead, I could hear fluid moving as he breathed in and out, and his breathing was labored. I’d already made the decision to take him to the vet when my husband awoke shortly after.
When Static and I arrived in Cypress Lake Animal Hospital, the man that greeted us had a look in his eyes that told me my dog was much sicker than I thought he was. You know how people working in the business can just tell these things? This man knew, and my heart sank a little.
As I waited for the test results, I kept thinking “Maybe this isn’t really that bad. Maybe it’s just his allergies.” Then the Veterinarian came in and said: “Static has congestive heart failure and his lungs are filled with fluid.” Wait, what? Where did this come from? What did we do? What can we do now? How much time does he have? Months? Weeks? Days?
The vet gave me a few options for interventions that could keep Static going a little longer, all of which involved him staying at least overnight in the hospital. All I could think about was how terrified our sweet boy would be, all by himself, feeling sick, possibly thinking we’d abandoned him, leaving him to die alone! Given that he was in full crisis, and there was no guarantee any medical intervention would be successful, my husband and I made the difficult decision to let Static go that very day.
When they wouldn’t let me take Static out of the vet office, as distraught as I was, I screamed at the Veterinarian “You’re NOT keeping my dog! I have to let my kids say goodbye! You’re NOT keeping my dog!” God Bless him, in the calmest voice, he kept repeating back to me, “You can’t take him, he’s drowning in his own fluids.” Despite this truth, I had visions of dodging everyone in my way, busting through the front and back office, grabbing my dog, and running out the back with him! Fortunately, in a moment of clarity, I said to the Vet very calmly “I’m going to get my kids. Please don’t let him die before my kids say goodbye.”
It was the longest drive of my life, first picking up Static’s Sydney, Then Statics Favorite girl Aubrey. It felt like it took us hours to get back to Cypress Lake Animal Hospital. My husband was there waiting for us when we arrived, and they let the four of us take Static to a room. We had one last hour with our sweet boy, during which he took turns saying goodbye to each of us. First to Aubrey, His Girl, the Love of his Life. Then to Sydney, even doing the “puppy” pose, the one and only trick he knew that she’d taught him. Next, he came to me for our ritual brushing that he absolutely loved. And, finally, he cuddled with my husband Eddie. Once he’d made his rounds, Static looked over at me and smiled his smile, as if to say “I’m ready.” I snapped a photo of that smile.
We let the Doc come back in, and while Static was surrounded by his family, he received a medication that made him fall asleep very quickly. The second medication stopped his already worn out heart. It was all over in just a few minutes. We wrapped him up in a towel. He didn’t look any different than just a few moments before, but he felt limp. I rocked him in my arms, “ssh, sssshh, sssshhhing” him like he was a crying infant, wanting to comfort him, tell him “I’m sorry”, unable to shake the thought that maybe I’d made the wrong decision. Sydney left the room first, as he was gone to her now. Aubrey stayed a little longer, and told him everything she loved about him, and how she’d remember all the crazy times they had together. The room fell so quietly after that, and it was time to go. We carried Static’s body to the front desk, and we left because we were supposed to just move on.
The house just doesn’t feel the same. He didn’t even weight 8lbs, but Static’s presence could be felt, and it sure is missed. My daughters have waves of grief, each experiencing it differently. Sydney is more expressive, while Aubrey prefers to be alone with her thoughts. As for Eddie and myself, we are both more heartbroken than we thought we’d be. I mean, we’d had to put a dog down before, but she was REALLY old, blind, lethargic, and we had made the decision some time prior to taking her in. This was so sudden, so final, and we weren’t ready to let him go. But maybe that’s the way Static wanted to be remembered. Not old and worn out, but happy and peppy, and HIMSELF! My heart wants that to be so.
Now, I hope that as a family, we heal. Sydney, my youngest, keep saying “I know it’s corny, Mom, but he’s gone, but will never be forgotten.” And she’s right. Static is gone, but he will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace, Good Boy.