Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gone--Part II

Jake and Scarlett

Thank you for all of the kind comments of support about Jake. I know he was "just" a dog. Really, I get that. I have always loved dogs, but I was raised to think of them as sort of expendable. There's always another dog. But there have been a few dogs in my 34 years that are more to me than just a dog. Those few dogs have dug way down deep into my heart. Somehow, in less than a month, Jake managed to do that.

The thing was, I expected him to die during the first few weeks. We prepared the kids for it. But he was doing so good. He was developing in ways I never thought he would. He responded to his name, and came when he was called. He stopped having seizures. I had finally decided that I thought he was going to make it after all--this cuddly ball of fur that nuzzled in the crook of my neck to sleep each night, and much of the day as I sat here in my chair working...

Yesterday afternoon we left at about 4:00 to do an errand and pick up Eric. Then we went to the dollar store and to eat burgers, just for fun. Before we left we put the dogs outside. Taevy ASKED me to let Jake stay in his crate, but I said he would be fine outside. He'd learned the lay of the land (knew where the dog house was); the grass didn't knock him over anymore (he was even running and jumping through it!) and there was food, water, and shade. But he wasn't okay. It was over 100 degrees. I made a mistake. He wasn't ready, and I pushed him too fast.

We walked in at about 8pm last night and I asked the kids to let the dogs in. Samren went out first with Taevy close to follow. The two big dogs barreled in. It's not unusual that we would have to go and get Jake out of his doghouse, so they headed out to get him. The next thing I know Taevy is screaming in terror, over and over, "He's dead! He's dead!" She's covering her eyes and in complete trauma mode.

When she screamed it, I knew it was true. It crossed my mind in a flash that he must have had a seizure and died. But when I walked out I didn't see a peaceful scene. My puppy. My sweet innocent puppy was lying in the middle of our back patio in a pool of blood about 2 feet by 5 feet. It was traumatizing. More than I expected to see when I walked out there. We were just howling. I can't imagine what our neighbors must have thought. I grabbed a rag and ran out, hoping somehow he was still alive. But he wasn't. His body was still warm and limp. It was just like him (not some sort of gross "dead" feeling)...except there was no life in him.

The littles didn't understand. Samren avoids things like this. They all retreated to our bedroom. Taevy and I are sobbing uncontrollably. Poor Eric can't see anything in the dark and didn't know how to help. I just sat, holding him, sobbing, in this pool of blood. And at that moment I HATED our dog Kilo. How could she have done this to him? I wanted her gone. I couldn't stand to look at her. And without me saying a word Taevy came to the same conclusion. Last night the children slept on our floor (as they often do) but Taevy at first said she would NOT lay on the floor if Kilo was in there. She didn't want to be anywhere around Kilo.
We put Jake in a box and Eric tried to start digging a hole for him--a burial place. Except the blindness. He wasn't able to see to dig in the same place. Samren wasn't strong enough to help, and Taevy and I were an emotional mess. I could not bring myself to do that. So we had to leave Jake in the garage until first light this morning. [This is one of those times that it definitely sucks to have a blind husband.]

The best we can figure, Jake probably did have a seizure. During seizures he wails. Dogs don't "get" this. We figure Kilo ran to him to investigate this totally "wrong" behavior and didn't know how to respond. She responded by shaking him until she broke his neck. There was a small puncture wound in his neck that caused all of the bleeding, but I have a feeling that occurred after he was already gone.

I know in my head that if Jake couldn't tolerate extreme temps he probably never could have lived long in Oklahoma. I know in my head that Kilo didn't intend to do anything wrong (even if she did intend to put him out of his misery). But that doesn't stop me from feeling responsible for his death, and a little bit standoffish towards this other dog, that I also love deeply.

[Today both dogs have gone to Jake's "crib" (the wodden magazine bin he's pictured in on this blog). When they went out this morning they both sniffed all around his death area, looking for him for several minutes. I know in my hear that my dog did not intend to do anything "wrong."

I hate that my children saw that scene. It has haunted me pretty much every minute of this day. Still, as silly as it is, I break out and cry randomly. Taevy has had a very rough day too. It hit her very hard to think about Jake not having a soul--that this isn't going to be like deaths of a saint, where we will spend eternity with him. Taevy and I woke up with eyes very swollen from all of the crying. When we went to a family gathering today my in-laws asked what was wrong with my eyes! I'll spare you my eyes, but this is what Taevy looked like this morning. Maybe morbid to document that, but anyway.

Samren internalizes and puts it out of his mind. Kendi doesn't get it at all and doesn't seem to miss him. Bright (who was absolutely obsessed with this puppy and had him in his possession pretty much every moment I didn't have him) is learning what death means for the first time. He keeps asking where Jake is. He can tell you he's dead, but he doesn't get that it's permanent.

So now I've written a novella about Jake's death, and I hear my daddy's voice in the back of my head saying, "Nita, this is JUST a dog. You can get another one." And I know daddy, you're right. But he was a special one. For whatever goofy reason, Jake meant more. So I'm writing way too long with way too much detail for this type of audience, because this blog is my place to vomit my emotions sometimes. And right now, I miss my puppy. I don't want to lay my head down tonight and not feel him nuzzling in the crook of my neck. I wish I could sleep away the next several days rather than FEELING.



Rachel 8:44 AM  

I'm so sorry he's gone and that it happened in such a terrible way. I completly understand why you are upset and will be praying for all of you.

Robin Dodd Photography 10:40 AM  

REALLY STINKS Anita. Don't be ashamed to love a dog like a person. The two I have now, are two of the best friends I've ever had... they are 13 and 9 and I keep telling Shawn.. I'm so glad they're both going to live to be 20.. Love is love is love, I say.

Amy 10:02 PM  

I so wish I could hug you right now. What a terribly awful, heartbreaking experience for all of you. I am so very sorry. I love you and wish you weren't all going through this pain...


Chalene 10:20 PM  

I am so sorry about Jake! It is so hard with an animal passes away. I feel your pain and wish you guys didn't have to go through this especially how it happened. Just know you love a special puppy and he loved you back!!