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LIFE IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND
13 March 2006
This is a puppy I named "Dandy." I called him Dandy because he was as fluffy as a dandelion--and just as fragile. Today I held his life in the palm of my hand.
Walt and I were set to go to a party/memorial in San Francisco on Saturday when Ashley called to say she had a puppy who needed mothering and was I willing to take him.
Of course I said yes, and told Walt that I would stay home to take care of the puppy and he could go to the city without me.
I didn't realize how sick Dandy was, though, until I went to Petco to pick him up.
Before I went to Petco, Sheila and I went for a walk along the University arboretum, the area of land that runs on either side of Putah Creek. Beautiful place, full of ducks, great place for walkers, runners, bikers, and dogs.
We reached our halfway point and I took Sheila over one of the bridges to the opposite side of the creek and we started heading back to the car.
We came to a wide spot in the road, where there were lots of ducks. Sheila decided to run at the ducks, I wasn't prepared for her to lunge, the leash came out of my hands, the ducks took off and landed in the middle of the creek. Sheila took a flying leap and landed in the creek as well.
You never saw anybody look so surprised in your life. Oh how I wish I had a camera with me! She's never been in a puddle, much less something so deep she can't stand up. If she could speak, she would have said "what the hell was that?"
She paddled to the side of the creek, but it has a perpendicular concrete wall with a bit of a lip to it and while she could get her paws on the ground, she couldn't pull herself up. It was a great way to catch her. I just grabbed her collar and dragged her to land, trying very hard not to laugh at her indignation. She shook herself off a lot, but it was hard to be nonchalant!
She had dried off by the time we got to the car, I took her home, went shopping and then went to collect my puppy at Petco.
I expected to be given a dog in a carrier, but Dandy definitely did not need one. This little ball of white fluff curled up inside a blanket on the front seat of the SPCA van. He hardly responded to stimuli, didn't open his eyes.
Ashley asked me to wait around until one of the medical people could look at him. I cuddled him and sat in the middle of the Saturday adoption frenzy. Naturally everybody was interested in him and we had to shoo them all away. He moaned all the while I was holding him.
When we came home, Sheila was incredibly gentle. It was as if she knew there was something not right about this little guy. I let her sniff him all over and then I put him in the crate, where he slept for awhile.
But then he started to...I wouldn't exactly call it whining. It was more like pathetic yeowling. I took him out of the crate and decided I would treat him like a sick baby--I would just let him sleep on my chest, where he could get warmth from my body, hear my heart beating and maybe that would help.
He settled down instantly. It was great. I was "working" but I was also able to get caught up on a lot of the stuff I'd recorded on TIVO while doing it. When I had to get up for something, I'd put him down and he would yeowl again until I came back to pick him up again.
I waited for Ashley to come, but she didn't come for a long time. In the meantime I wondered how I could help this little guy. I was supposed to force feed him, but he was already vomiting periodically, sometimes a lot. I was also supposed to learn how to inject him with fluids, since he's so dehydrated, but he was still leaking fluid from when Ashley injected him earlier in the day. As the day stretched into night, I began to wonder if this little guy was going to make it, and if he would live through the night.
Ashley came, bringing food, and we managed to get a bit into him. She felt that his vomiting had been a reaction to his medication and hoped that the nausea would have passed and he could keep some food down.
He went to sleep, but didn't want to be anywhere but in my lap. At one point he started wailing and I realized he had pooped all over himself and me. I got us cleaned up. He was much more limp after that. He slept for a bit more and I realized he was kind of drooling all over my stomach. He also looked like he was struggling for air, though it didn't sound like it, but his mouth kind of hung slack.
It had been about 2½ hrs since the last time he was fed, so I fixed him some more food. He made a half-hearted attempt to swallow a little bit and then when I went to give him a bit more, he seemed even more limp and I realized he wasn't breathing.
In the blink of an eye he was gone.
Part of me feels like I failed him. I
wanted to see him stagger around this morning after a night of food and TLC. But I
suspect he was just too sick. If there is any consolation, it's knowing that he died
in my arms, not in a cage somewhere.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Good bye, little Dandy.