1 1/2 weeks ago our beloved 12 year old pooch, Pickles, got very I’ll. We stopped everything and took her to the vet, blood work and results were not as anyone including the doctor ever expected. What was thought to be kidney failure or something was much more severe with low blood marrow. 3 possible causes and 3 terminal situations. No treatments would be successful the doctor said, only increased suffering and side effects with no certain chance of recovery. Our choice was clear and we needed to find a way to tell our girls.
We waited for a the next night after fun day Saturday last weekend. As we broke the news we knew Johnna would take it the hardest. That’s here up in the pictures. Pickles’ favorite after me. But sammy… we just weren’t sure. As Johnna belted out in sadness and disbelief, Sammy internalized and shrunk into the couch, quiet and fingers to her lips. Both asked good questions between silence and Johnna screaming. Could the doctor fix the dog? No… and we said the details. How long will she live? 1-3 weeks. Could she just get better on her own? Not likely but she did eat and entire leather shoe and lived.
An hour and so later Sammy started processing and bolted to her room. Johnna continued wailing off and on, holding pickles and all her snuggles. It was Sammy’s turn to scream and cry. She yelled that she didnt want to look at her because it was too sad. She would not accept hugs and she was mad at us for telling them. Another hour later and she was wanting to join in on snuggle time but only touched Pickles on the head and curled up in her own blanket cocoon. We tormented our own emotions about telling the girls but felt it was right since we are pretty open.
Although Johnna continued with tears off and on the next day, Sammy was up and cheerful, saying she felt better. The next five days Pickles was almost her own self and we gave her extra loving and treats and snuggles. Sammy would kiss her on occasion and talk to her. We had talked about how her body and habits could change any time and we needed to enjoy the time we had. Then Thursday night after both girls and my husband were asleep Pickles gave out.
She appeared to have a stroke and I woke my husband frantic. We both knew what it meant and we started calling our jobs and giving Picklea cuddles, lunch meats and loving with tears. We mentally prepared for telling the girls there would be no school but we would be saying goodbye to our sweet dog. Johnna cried and sat with pickles on the floor talking to her and hand feeding her bacon and eggs. Sammy said ok and she wanted to go to grammie’s when we went to the vet.
So we took our time. We talked about Valentine’s presents which coincidentally was a black lab build-a-bear for johnna and light fury for Sammy. We obliged as we took sammy to grammie’s as she requested and the toys were stashed. Johnna clung to her Pickles look alike in tears. She went with J and I to the vet and we shared our tearful goodbyes there together. I got myself as composed as possible to join my youngest and husband in the lobby. I held her clay paw prints and vial of fur and clenched it close as we drove home before picking up Sammy who had been asking about a new dog earlier and throughout the past week . We talked as a family.minus one… about Dammy being sad and expressing it differently, internalizing and maybe looking dismissive to us on the outside but sad on the inside. With that said Johnna asked that we go pick her up.
Sammy looked at me with tears in her eyes as she hugged her light fury. It was done. Pickles was gone and there was no turning back. A piece of their innocence disappeared before me and tears in my eyes met Sammy’s. She sat down and as tears flowed she refused a hug or kiss or any physical contact despite my asking for myself from her while so sad. I stead she asked grammie for a brownie and both girls sat and ate and laughed.
We looked at pictures from pup to today. Above is her first sniff of Johnna coming home. These sisters have been buddies. They have spent all their lives with Pickles. Johnna even felt it wasn’t fair because I had Pickles for 12 years and she only had her for almost 8 (johnna will be 8 next month). So we will continue with stories and pictures and hugs. I have cleaned up her dog dishes, blankets and put her puppy collar on the new toy Pickles and her paw prints up on the shelf. Now we wait. We wait for the moments her.missing presence effects us…. walking into the house to barks and kisses. Begging as we eat our dinner. Whining if she felt her food had to happen Right Now. As I miss the clicking of her nails as she follows me with laundry swapping and chores back and forth. When I go to bed tonight without my legs being snuggled and leaned in to. Now we remember how lucky we were to have had her in our lives and what a precious doggie she had been, full of kisses and love every day. She will always be our good girl. And despite the emotions of the day Sammy wants to go to her therapeutic weekend away that she has missed due to her tonsillectomy. Its risky but she is adament and we are allowing it while we stay on call 8f needed and we updated her team of the situation. No one knows how it will go but we will be ready for her, for Johnna and for ourselves to mourn and grieve our lovely poochie fondly referred to as Pickly Poo.