Sunday, September 6, 2009

A very sad goodbye..

I am re-posting this part as a history of our beloved Mocha:

12 years ago, we lost a dog that got hit by a car. We had only had her a year. That was so traumatic. As a result one of my kids, Heather & I went to the Humane Association right away and found the cutest dog ever-Mocha. The woman who was showing us around said, "Oh, and this is her sister" pointing to a black dog huddled in the corner in the kennel next Mocha's. Oh god, how can we NOT adopt this one too? Heather & I decided we could not split these 2 up-I mean what kind of person would split up siblings? So we went and adopted both of them but they had to get fixed so we didn't bring them home that day. I got home and told Hartley we adopted 2 dogs-sisters! he flipped out-"No I won't have TWO dogs, ever!" So Heather & I schemed and she went with him to the shelter to pick out which dog we wanted. Well, Heather turned on her Heather charm and guess what? They brought home 2 dogs (Hartley muttering something about not being able to choose). We have had these dogs since they were puppies. (Yes that is pee stain on our carpet-they loved to do that-we did not love that).

So these dogs have gone through raising 4 teenage daughters (well i think the 2 older ones were gone by now), 2 houses, building of one cabin and many, many trips to Chama. We thought we lost them once when a bottle of Tylenol was found empty on the floor and we thought it had been full. They were puppies and of course eating everything-they even ate holes in the wall in picture above. The Tylenol scare ended up to be nothing or they never reacted I guess. They once ate a whole bag of chocolate Halloween candy. Now there was some serious diarrhea after that. We think the neighbor was poisoning our dogs because Midnite became really sick and almost died in our last house. She was on steroids for years for the autoimmune disorder she supposedly had but funny how she could get off of the meds after we moved (I hated that neighbor). The steroids made her one crazy hungry dog. She once ate a hundred dollar bill, 2 tickets to the biggest basketball Lobo game ever, and loved tissues and papers. Once we moved into this house things calmed down a bit.Mocha and Midnite were now inside dogs! They loved it. We kept them in the kitchen at night, they hung out with us all the time. By this time of course they were very attached to Hartley, whom they followed everywhere. He, of course grew to love both our puppies over the years and they are "his dogs". So the last 6 years we have been in this house and kids are gone, they are really like our children. just enough a pain in the ass that you wonder why you have them, then as loving as can be and you cannot imagine life without these pets..

Imagine how difficult it was in September when the vet finally said it was time to let Midnite go. She had a tumor in her head, we had her to the vet many times, all kinds of meds. They are now considered geriatric dogs and each day a gift. I can't tell you how hard it was to see Midnite in the vet's office fully awake, about to go to doggy heaven. Her last act was to come over to me and bury her head in my lap. Kind of like saying-oh I am not sure I am ready. Or maybe saying goodbye. Hartley, Heather & I were there. We watched her go to sleep, painlessly and it was the hardest day i think I have ever had, except maybe when my mom died. Hartley and I can still barely talk about her. We took her to the cabin her last weekend on the planet. We knew it was time when she could no longer run and chase animals in the woods. Here is our sweet, neurotic Midnite with Hartley that last weekend.

Sometimes I can feel her in the house still. Of course Mocha was a bit confused after Midnite was gone. She couldn't understand why she was able to eat her food, un-harrassed. Midnite was the dominate dog and now Mocha had the whole space to herself. She didn't know what to do! She really didn't seem to skip a beat until she got out of the kitchen one day and tore down a bunch of our wooden blinds-this from a dog that has never had an act of aggression in her life (except toward other dogs). An expensive acting out for Mocha and us. i must admit, it was a bit of relief to finally have daily walks where Mocha did not go after other dogs, they did not fight with each other anymore (that got to be a problem later in life). So there really are positives in having just one dog. But we miss that black part lab,part chow dog.

Here is Mocha-the remaining canine in the family:

Mocha is now 12 years old. She is not eating these past few days, has some blood in her stool. She is still very excited to go for walks-that is a good sign. We are taking her to the vet tomorrow-dreading the worst but hoping it is a passing thing. Hartley and I can't stand the thought of putting another dog down right now, our last "child". But we know it is inevitable someday soon-we just are not ready yet. Are we ever ready to say goodbye to our pets-those furry animals whose only goal in life is to comfort you, protect you and serve you? I think not.

Here I sit more than 2 years later and cannot believe Mocha pushed her little soul to live another 2 years. The rest of this post is really sad so if you do not want to read on..

Last weekend, we watched Mocha romping with the children (well, romping is a bit of an exaggeration). Here she is again, "taking a walk" with Ellie. She simply could not get enough "walks" that day..

I am amazed she was even able to walk that much and she seemed so happy. The last few months we have watched Mocha deteriorate to the point her walks have become ever so short. She was falling alot, having trouble with her legs locking up under her. Her appetite seemed to be good especially after we switched her to the ever so unhealthy cheapass canned food! I suppose when you are with a pet 24 hours a day it is difficult to see the deterioration. I know at some point last spring, we did make "the appointment" and then cancelled when she apparently got worried when she heard us talking about "the last visit" and rallied. We never thought she would make it through the summer. Last time I picked her up at the kennel after a weekend gone, I got the sense they thought we were nuts for keeping her alive...I felt guilty..

We realized that at some point we would need to put her to sleep before our 2 month trip. I would never put a dog through that separation at the age of 14, esp. when she appeared to be suffering at this point. She still followed H into his room every night to lay on his floor by his feet. When she gazed longingly up at the couch (which we let her get up on after Midnite died), we would lift her up to what seemed to be her favorite spot at times...She still "watched TV" with us. One time in the last month, she even barked when the doorbell rang, something we had not heard in a long time...Hartley started telling her about a month ago Please make this easy on us. We have been good to you. Please let us know when to let you go..and she did...

On Tuesday, she did not eat anything and was drinking water like crazy. On Wed, we noticed a huge lump over her right eye. This was the same exact thing that happened to Midnite when the vet had told us something is obviously growing there. Her whole face changed. She started labored breathing and we knew it was close to the end...her last walk was Wednesday and she got confused and started wandering into the woods. This is when we was time...Oh man the sadness is indescribable as we were calling people around the area to see what the hell to do..I called the mobile vet to see if he could come and do the deed but when he mentioned the word carcass I said no way! I talked to DP on the phone, crying and telling her that we had Midnite's ashes up at the cabin. We had never been able to open the urn, it was glued shut. I walked over to see and sure enough the urn was completely unstuck and I saw Midnite's ashes for the first time in 3 years. I thought H had "unstuck it" but when I asked, he had not. It was like Midnite was giving us the OK to finally let Mocha join her..

H finally got a hold of a vet in Taos, 1.5 hours away, who could not only put her to sleep but do the cremation and give us her ashes. The drive to Taos was the longest, saddest drive of our life. It was excruciating..

We finally arrived. Heidi and Jack were there, thank God..Mocha would not even move from the back of the car as we "checked her in" Of course the vet's office was full of lively pets and people and it all seemed so wrong.. I had really wanted our vet, the one that has known Mocha for 14+ years to give her the "last shot" but alas it was not meant to happen that way. We could not imagine driving her all the way back to ABQ, plus we wanted to stay in Chama. Whatever..we were there...The woman at the front desk was very sweet and sympathetic. She had a 16 year old dog named "Mochi"-something I called Mocha all the time. So again another sign I guess. Finally after 45 minutes, I picked Mocha up, (she cried) but with dignity, walked into the vet's office. He gave her the first shot to relax her and she immediately ran out of the room-great! Jack went and got her and of course she came over and buried her head in my lap, just as Midnite had done..I was balling pretty hard by now and Jack told me he would stay with her until the end..I left..maybe I should not have but I just could not take seeing another dog put down. I told her she had been such a good dog and I loved her and thanked her for staying around so long...After about 5 minutes, Jack came out and said it was over...We all cried forever it seemed, then went to pick up Avery and have lunch with her sweet little 3 year old face, which perked us all up even in our shocked state.

So H and I headed back to the cabin and it was so quiet! Mocha, mind you never made any noise, it just was so quiet! H and I cried and threw out all the doggy items...and cried some more..Don't think I have cried this much since my sister died 8 years ago..

We kept hearing the dog..Mocha sighing, dogs barking..H thought he almost "tripped over Mocha"-really weird stuff. We were suppose to have company again for the weekend but by yesterday AM, we knew we had to get the hell out of there. The memories of her being so sick, the whole thing..we thought distance might help...We did manage a mini triathlon on Friday. We swam in the lake, rode our bikes and were going to do a long run until we almost got hit by lightening and decided the 2 mile run off the bike was enough.We ran yesterday AM and did OK until we walked up the driveway to the house and the memories came flooding back. We are outa here!

We got home yesterday, went to some friends' house for dinner, where we related the whole thing, did some laughing and generally forgot Mocha for a bit. Last night I went downstairs and realized we had never been in this house without dogs..I looked out the back door, half expecting to see Mocha wagging her tail to come in..ahhh,....the denial part of grief..

Anyone who says losing a pet is not like losing a person is dead wrong. Maybe not the same type of grief? A person is not with you 24/7 except maybe a spouse. Mocha was always with us, giving us unconditional love. She had the sweetest spirit ever and anyone who ever met her, fell in love with her. So now she is in doggy heaven, Midnite probably fighting with her over who will be dominate dog up there..who knows?

We will get her ashes in 2 weeks and go up to Chama a spread both their ashes over our land up there. A place they loved the most.

We will go on with our lives. No pets for now. We have some sense of relief that we can now travel, be more spontaneous with our lives without the responsibility of pets. We still would rather have Mocha back any day though...Indescribably sadness here still but it will get better. We will keep training and living life and hopefully someday see our amazing dogs, who lived so long with us, again..

Goodby my sweet Mocha, Mochi, Mochi-bug, Mochachica, Mochapottomus,Mochster..all the names we called you and you always were there....