Christmas should be the happiest time of the year but it can also be the saddest. The Bridge should be closed during the weeks before Christmas but it doesn’t work that way. There is still a steady stream of dogs leaving heartbroken parents in their wake. This week one of those dogs was my friend Smores.
Oh Smores you cute faced little dog. Bringer of happiness, provider of smiles, her Mom’s morning alarm clock, her Mom’s official front door greeter with the wagging tail, her Mom’s best friend, you tried to keep the Bridge’s Siren Song at bay but you could not, and this week you arrived, met by your sister Marcie, and after the usual ceremonies and wing fitting you and Marcie were off running in the hills together until you found yourself at Tommy’s house where you could watch over your Mom together and Marcie could teach you how to be your Mom’s angel.
Our lives are always too short and sometimes the end of our life is too short too. I went from living large at home to going to the Bridge in a week and, at least as indicated by her Mom’s post, Smores’ parents did not have much of a warning that her song was ending either.
Every parent knows their dogs and can tell when they are struggling. Smores was not herself and her parents took her to the vet where the news was as bad as they feared. Tests showed her kidney levels were high and her pancreas was inflamed. The vet told them that the levels and inflammation needed to come down or Smores would not be going home.
And thus began to roller coaster ride that all pet parents take. The fear of the outcome, the worry about costs, the joy of having them come home, the relief when they eat, the sorrow of them not eating, and finally the joy of gradual recovery or the crushing heartbreak of no recovery.
On the first day Smores was admitted to the hospital. On the second day her parents got to visit her at the hospital. Poor Smores was very confused and had to be sedated. Her parents sat on the floor with her and she fell asleep on their laps. Despite this the vet did report that she was showing more energy which was an encouraging sign. The roller coaster climbed higher.
Day Four: The roller coaster continued to rise. Smores was doing much better. She was alert and eating, her fever was down as were her kidney levels. If she responded to oral meds she would be going home. Her parents visited her bringing her favorite snacks: Apple slices and turkey which she happily ate.
Day five: Smores returned home to her happy parent.
Day seven: Smores did not have much of an appetite. Her Mom made her chicken and rice but she did not eat it. Her Mom did not know what to do. She said she had gone too far and spent too much money to give up on Smores but she didn’t know what to do. Roller coaster going down.
Day eight: Smores ate better but she was not the dog she once was. She was fading before her parents’ eyes. They knew they could stretch it out, get more days, but it wouldn’t be with Smores. Her Mom thought about the Animal Aid Society that had allowed her to adopt Smores and how much she owed them. And she thought about every good day because this was the last one.
It never is easy saying goodbye to your long time friend and most loyal companion but the holidays do make it worse. We are praying that just once this Christmas that the rules could be bent and when Smores visits her Mom in her dreams her Mom will be able to remember it and will know her little girl is waiting for her.