Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tales of the Tail: In Loving Memory

It took me a while to get through 13 years' worth of memories and pictures, to be able to choose the photos for this video. I put them in mostly chronological order, so you can watch us all grow up together.

The year Kip found us, BD and I were college students. He was with us for all the biggest milestones of our life - college graduation, engagement, wedding, moving across the country, buying a house, having a baby... he was right by our sides through it all.

{click through for video if you're in a reader}

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tales of the Tail: How We're Doing Without Him

*Today is Day 10 without Kip. We are missing him every minute of every day. Every place I look, every direction I turn...there is something that reminds me of him. He just took up such a large space in our lives for so long. And now that he's gone, that spot is so very,very empty.

*I guess we are doing about as well as could be expected for people coping with broken hearts. I think the initial shock of losing him is starting to wear off, and we are beginning our "new normal" without him. I didn't have much appetite for a while, and I wasn't sleeping well, and now some of those early stages of grief are beginning to fade away. I slept well last night for the first time since Kip died.

*Subconsciously I listen for him: the sound of his collar jingling, the sound of him jumping down off our bed, the sound of him getting settled on the couch -- all the little sounds of him that are so deeply embedded into the minutiae of our life.

*Automatically my eyes look for him around the house as I move through my day: the couches in the den, our bed, on the floor by the back door -- all of his usual spots.

*It's often the little things that hit the hardest - open the dishwasher and he doesn't come running; start a load of laundry and he's not automatically standing behind you hoping for a treat; he doesn't interrupt our morning workouts, asking to go outside or begging for breakfast. BD says he misses Kip the most when he comes in the door, and Kip doesn't come running with his tail wagging.

*I haven't been able to vacuum. I know that as soon as I'm finished, the entire house won't already be covered in another layer of dog hair. And as many times as I wished that would be true before, I'd give almost anything to have it happen again.

*Our little MC is very confused and missing her buddy. She talks about him and looks for him frequently. We have been very careful with our words when we're explaining to her. She's old enough to realize he's gone but not old enough to really comprehend the situation. Depending on what she asks us, we tell her that Kip died, or that he's not here, or he's not coming back. (We consciously avoid any reference to "going to sleep" or "going to the doctor" or "going bye-bye" etc.) 

*We were able to pick up his remains the other day. So at least now he's back home with us again, where he belongs. He came back to us in a beautiful, small wooden box with flowers carved on one side.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tales of the Tail: Saying Goodbye

Everything transpired so quickly that it was hard for us to process what was happening. On Sunday he was fine and on Saturday he was gone. We knew he was sick, and we knew it was serious, but up until Saturday morning we were treating him with meds and hoping for a recovery. To what extent we were unsure; we were just hopeful.

On Monday we knew he wasn't feeling well - lethargic but still eating, and then he seemed to perk up on Tuesday.

He wouldn't eat on Wednesday morning, so BD took him to the vet. The physical exam didn't reveal anything, but when the blood work came back on Thursday morning, the vet diagnosed him with a bleeding ulcer, most likely caused by the nsaid he took for knee pain/arthritis.

Once again on Thursday he seemed to feel better; we started his course of meds, and he was willing to eat some boiled chicken and steamed rice that I made for him. By Friday he had some additional symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea), so BD took him back to the vet. His blood work on Friday had actually improved from Wednesday, so we were encouraged by those results. His symptoms were indicating that it was a small bleed, and he was producing enough new blood until the meds could really kick in and heal the ulcer.

However, on Saturday things went downhill quickly (most likely the ulcer ruptured), and he showed us that he was ready to go. We were in contact with our vet several times throughout the day on Saturday, and he supported us in the hardest decision we have ever made. Unfortunately, our vet doesn't work on the weekends, so we had to take him to the ER. Thankfully our vet called them ahead of us going, so they were aware and understood the situation when we arrived.

It was a long and emotional day for us, but we were with him until the very end, so he was surrounded by love. We said the same words to him that we've said for 13 years: "We love you, Kip. You're a good dog, Kip." And then he was gone. It was very peaceful.

We miss him so much.