It’s been a horrible few days. We have two dogs – a 12 year old pug and a 9 year old French Bulldog, and, on Wednesday, we made the difficult decision to put the Frenchie to sleep. His health hadn’t been great for awhile – he had a spinal compression which meant he couldn’t feel his back legs properly and struggled to get up and down stairs. This condition had gradually been getting worse although he braved through it. Then about two weeks ago he had a seizure before bed one night.
Jared noticed he was deteriorating – legs more wobbly, collapsing a lot, not as responsive as usual – and took him down to the vet on Tuesday. They said to take him straight to a specialist where he stayed overnight. The next morning he had another seizure and was struggling to breathe on his own. They did a CT scan and found a very aggressive form of brain tumour that had already grown to 2cm (a big tumour for a small dog) and, while they could operate, they said he’d only have a 50% chance of waking up after the operation and they couldn’t say what his quality of life would be like after that. Also, the type of tumour it was meant that it would have grown back in 3 – 6 months.
I took the two calls from the specialist vet in the morning and had to relay everything to Jared, which was difficult because I was trying not to cry. The second call was basically the vet saying to come and say goodbye unless we wanted to put him through the surgery, which we didn’t. We both cried on the phone when I relayed what the vet said. We cried on the way over, when the vet re-told Jared everything because I’d been crying too much, when we saw him in the animal hospital. There were so many tears. It was so hard seeing him splayed out on a stainless steel trolley with all these tubes coming out of him. The vet let us have some time with him and then we were also able to stay when she put him to sleep. Because he’d been sedated pretty much since he got there, he never woke up but we at least got to be with him when he passed away.
We spent the whole of Wednesday just hugging each other and crying. One of us would start crying and the other would comfort them and then they would cry. At one point, Jared dozed off and woke up with a start, remembered Ami was dead and started crying. It was so fucking rough. The littlest things remind you that he’s gone. I’m still tearing up when certain thoughts or memories occur to me and I expect it’ll be that way for a while. Text messages from friends about their memories of him. Tears. Calling our local vet to cancel his upcoming check up and grooming appointments. Tears. The vet sent us a card and bunch of flowers for his passing. All of the tears.
It was all so sudden. Just the day before (Monday) he’d been out with the dog walker and he’d sent us a video of Ami running around the park and then two days later he’s dead. I can’t really believe it. I keep expecting to see him at the bottom of the bed in the morning or struggling up the stairs behind me in his usual wobbly but determined fashion. I keep wondering if I’d paid more attention to him would it have made a difference but I have to remind myself that the tumour would have come back. And there’s no use making myself feel like shit for something I had no control over.
I keep thinking of how scared and shaky he was when we left him at the hospital. He’s scared of vets so I know he would’ve been anxious while he was there. We weren’t there for him in those last few hours before they sedated him to keep him calm, before he had his seizure, when he was struggling to breathe. Fuck. I don’t want to remember the Ami on the table at the vet’s, being helped to breathe by a machine. I wish he was here. I wish I’d known how sick he was so I could’ve made his last days extra special for him instead of being frustrated when he couldn’t get up the stairs fast enough so I could get to work on time. These things just seem so unimportant when you consider that they were your last moments with someone.
So I want to finish this post with the things about Ami that made our lives so much better:
- He just wanted to be near you – anywhere you were, there he was too – whether it was waiting for you to finish showering or bathing or just following you around the house
- He was a fiend for a snuggle and was a huge slut – kisses, belly rubs, anyone got them and was encouraged to give them (unlike our other dog who’s very selective who he kisses and lets rub his belly)
- Loved, loved, loved the water and going for a swim. At one point, he also had an obsession with pooing in the water (we called them aqua turds). Jared would often throw sticks out into the water and he’d swim out to get them even though it would nearly kill him to do so (Frenchies are generally not very good swimmers)
- Despite loving the water, he hated baths and would often sit and shake and look miserable before trying to launch himself out of the tub
- When we first moved into our current apartment, he’d never seen a bath before and, when Jared and me had our first one, he freaked out and jumped in with us (we assume because he couldn’t see us properly)
- On the first night we had him as a puppy, we woke up to find him out on the balcony howling at the moon. He had the most mournful howl and, because he had the whole snub face thing going on, he had to put so much effort into making that much noise. He would also sometimes howl when fire trucks when past
- He hated being tied up outside a cafe or something like that while we ate. If he could see you from where he was sitting, he’d make these weird ‘ee-ruf’ sounds to get your attention. Not a full bark but just a ‘hey, I’m supposed to be in there with you’ sound.
There are so many more. He was a such a sensitive and loving dog who just wanted to be near you at all times. I sometimes wonder that I favoured the pug because he was more independent and standoffish so you felt like you had to court his attention whereas Ami was always right there just wanting to be loved. I kind of took him for granted because of that, I think. I miss him so much and it’s only been two days. I know the pain will fade eventually but, right now, my heart hurts for that silly, smelly, wobbly dog.