by Christina Custis
It's been 6 days since I had to make the agonizing decision of putting my baby boy, Papi, to sleep. He had been diagnosed with Mitral Valve Dysplasia. We had been treating him since April of this year and had hope that we would have a few years more with him with his medications. He was my world and I would have done anything for him.
On Dec. 4th he was having trouble breathing, like he was the last time we rushed him to the emergency vet at the university. I was terrified and he yelped out on the car ride there. I knew at that point it was worse. Once there, the oxygen and heart failure meds weren't working like last time. They couldn't stabilize him and his body couldn't take it much longer. They said he needed a ventilator to have a chance, but said it would be unlikely that he'd come off of it. It would be $8-12k to keep him on it and if he did come off, we could only hope for a year. I didn't want to feel like I made the decision because of money but with the outlook, I couldn't rationalize that much money and leave the hospital without my baby. The cardiologist reassured me that if money was no object, and it was his dog, he'd let him go. He had a chihuahua with the same heart condition. There was essentially no hope. I had to decide upon the unthinkable, and let my best friend/soulmate go over the rainbow bridge. As they administered the life ending meds, I held his head in one hand, stoked his head with the other, kissed his face, and told him it would be ok and I loved him so much, as he slipped away from me. The vet said he'd moved on and I sobbed as I continued stroking his beautiful little face. I couldn't leave him.
They called me the next day to tell me the radiologist said he had multiple blood clots in his lungs and there wouldn't have been anything they could've done to save him. This at least eased my guilt.
I miss him so much. He was my constant companion for 10 years. He was a birthday gift for my son, but he loved me most and became MY dog. It's hard being home and not hearing his wheezing or him kicking his bowls around the kitchen when he's hungry or thirsty. He's not waiting by the front door when I come home from work, or napping on his throne of pillows. His annoying white hair isn't all over my black clothes, but I keep finding it in other places... it just makes me sad. Sad that it reminds me he's gone, sad because I was ever annoyed with it, and sad that at some point soon it'll be gone forever. I wake up and go to call for him, only to remember he's gone.
I think I see him out of the corner of my eye, but it's not him. I go to grab a pair of shoes from under the bed, and expect to see his face there.
I knew I'd be devastated when he was gone, but it is so much worse. The only pain worse is when I lost my mother. I pray that I can heal and let go of my excruciating sadness. My insides feel like they've been ripped out. My heart is broken. I have other pets (cats and dogs) that I love dearly, but he was so different and special.
I will love you and miss you for the rest of my life, sweet boy. RIP Papi,my best friend and love of my life.