I think I was asleep by 9:30 last night. I went to the thai restaurant straight from therapy, and I went to therapy straight from the vet, where I had Chloe put down. Not a fun day in a not-so-fun week in perhaps the saddest month that I have ever had. Rhonda was there with the girls and with Chari. I tried to eat, tried to talk, tried to listen. Honestly, I don’t remember one thing that was said. All the way home from the restaurant I was nodding off, trying to focus on the icy road and not having much luck. When I got home I was just done. I told Rhonda that my brain felt like an empty yard and I just couldn’t let anything into it. I remember the girls being in the bath tub, then later I heard the dogs barking and knew the people who come to plow the driveway were probably here. But that’s it.
Losing Chloe was brutal, but not unexpected. She’s been decompensating for months now. But lately it’s been rather rapid, her descent. She’s been functionally blind, deaf and just generally falling more and more out of it. In the last week her back legs were sliding out from under her. Not good. A month or so ago we took her to the vet because she appeared to not be able to maintain fluids. She’d drink and drink and drink, then she’d pee and pee and pee. The doctor diagnosed her with Cushings disease and gave us some options for tests, medicine, etc. But I just kind of scratched my head and asked what the real value was. I mean, she’s 15. Isn’t kidney failure imminent? Aren’t other things imminent? Yes, she said. I just couldn’t justify that path. Now that I’m leaving for two weeks for my dad’s memorial, we really thought it was important to take care of this. Otherwise, there could have been a very bad outcome at home. Chloe didn’t need that, Rhonda and I didn’t want that and my two girls sure didn’t need that.
Speaking of the girls. Dealing with them has got to be the hardest thing in this whole event. I’m not the type of parent that believes you need to have supreme honesty with your kids. Sometimes you need to lie to them. And given that they have just lost both grandfathers, for different reasons, and are trying to recover and make sense out of it all, there was no way I was going to sit down and tell them that we were putting Chloe down. That’s just too much death for a four and five year old to deal with. Instead, we called them to the dinner table and talked about how Chloe has been lately. We said that she was reaching an age and needing a level of care that neither Rhonda and I are able to give her. So… we are taking her to a place where they know how to take good care of puppies. There will be other dogs and they get baths and a massage every day…and they can eat whatever they want. There was more to it, but that was the basic gist of it all. They both listened intently, then they cried. Us too. And I could have sworn that Ava’s eyes – across her little purple stuffed elephant and thumb poking out of her mouth were gunning me down and saying “You sir, are a fucking liar.” Today they had a special lunch with Chloe and gave her sloppy joe’s and chicken noodle soup in their room. Then this evening we tried to take some pictures before I took her, but that didn’t work out so well.
Now that I am feeling a little numb from the morning, I can think about the actual event (a little). It was really quite peaceful. I laid with Chloe on the floor, Rhonda sat in front of her. They gave her a sedative at first and she fell into a deep sleep. It was nice watching her stop shaking and listening to her breathe deeply, finally beginning to snore. Then, they gave her the kill shot, whatever that is. And she just gently slowed down and faded away. No strange breathing, no muscle jerks. And that was that. We wrapped her up in a blanket and left her there, peaceful
Then I went to therapy and cried. Then I went to dinner. Then I crashed on the bed, fully clothed.
All night I dreamed about my dad, my dogs.