By: Kerrie Olejarz
Finally I was with finished work, off on three weeks’ holiday, then off to India. It was surreal to be this close to the grand finale. We were busy trying to check off our lists of last-minute items. Not knowing the baby’s gender or size made packing a challenge. If we were having this baby at home it would have been so much easier.
We had to pack preemie clothes and newborn sizes, gender neutral, and of course some special boy and girl items. We opted to pack about 250 diapers, 4 supersized packs of wipes, 300 bottle liners, 8 nipples and bottles and caps. We chose to take the Playtex drop-in bottles to minimize how many pieces we would need to sterilize since it is India and water can be an issue. I purchased homeopathic colic remedy and Calendula cream for any diaper rash. I had been given all the standard diaper rash creams but opted to stick with what I felt was best for baby and stay as natural as possible. A ziplock bag contained 5 various kinds of soothers. We had hats, socks, mittens, burp cloths, face cloths, a bassinet, and a bouncy chair. There seemed to be barely any room for OUR stuff!!
I spent my time off just enjoying the days…until our poor little dog showed signs of decline. This was my baby, a Chihuahua we adopted from a rescue organization many years ago. The poor little bugger had had five surgeries on his bladder for recurrent stones and in the last four years somehow picked up Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus! His skin was a constant mess and we tried everything to fix it. After a couple thousand dollars at the canine dermatologist’s we knew that the last chance for his skin was a medicine called Chloramphenicol. This medication is super dangerous for human contact. The dermatologists explained to me the severity of the side effects – like a non-treatable anaemia in humans. Three times a day I would suit up to give him his meds. Every dose caused my mind to go into chaos; I would get instantly itchy and have a horrible taste in my mouth. My psyche played with me despite not having touched the medication at all. After months and months of this we saw no improvement. The poor little guy looked worse, worn out from heavy medication, and, since the infection was so heavy on his back legs and feet, simple walking became difficult. It was a sin to see him not enjoying life, not running through the forest chasing squirrels and thinking he was such a tough guy. Then, he started having bloody urine. That was it; I knew he was being kept alive for me, and as much as I could not bear to lose him, it was time. He was somewhere between 16 and 18 years old and really had a great life with us despite his somewhat questionable disposition!
I remember it clearly: Week Two of my holiday vacation, on a Tuesday, I asked Mark to make the call to the vet. That evening we went to say goodbye to Peeky, or Dr. Peeky Gonzales Rodrigues MD, as I called him. It was awful, awful. All the staff at the vet office came to say goodbye to him. They all had wonderful words and funny things to say about him. See, Peeky was aggressive, and well known at the vet’s office. He was muzzled for every visit and his patient profile on the computer screen said in large red letters “MUST MUZZLE”. It’s a funny thing to have such a small and cute dog that caused such fear in some of the girls at the vet’s.
It was done and I was crushed. Mark was equally saddened which could seem odd, as the dog had tried to bite him every day for the many years we had him. Mark’s gentle soul always tolerated this irrational and damaged dog –a real saint in my eyes. The ride home was painfully sad. Even as I write this a few months later I am sad, crying and wishing he were still with us. I knew he was in a better place, yet the sadness was overwhelming. I spent the next two days in bed, sad and crying. We had to go pay the bill at the vet’s and the thought of going there so soon sent me into a deeper tailspin. Thank god Mark went by himself and took care of that as I lay in bed weeping.
I felt awful and wondered if my state of sadness had more to it than just losing my beloved little dog. Was this a culmination of emotions flooding out of me? Who knows, but after a few days I was able to pull myself together and start getting back to normal, whatever that was. Again, with my guilt, I worried that I did this because of the upcoming baby arrival, but the rational side of me knew how much the poor little guy was suffering and really not enjoying his days. Losing a pet is awful, heartbreaking, but this little guy had filled a void in my heart and his loss really did break it. I am not a crier in general, but this had me sad, crying and feeling so horrible. As the days went on I started to recover emotionally; it was not easy but slowly I was able to move past this awful day.
I had so much to look forward to and it was time to start rejoicing in it.