a99kitten's Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

Has been cloudy and windy and cold all day. In June. Smokey would have loved it. Normally I would have too.

When you tell yourself that you can move forward.

And you can make a life better. But you are not quite ready.

And you stay busy. And active. And try not to be sad.

But then you remember your best friend is gone.

And another best friend lied to your face. More than once. But oh well – oops. And now cannot even confront you. Does not even care enough to deal with it. OK…

So what does that mean for next week. Next month. Next year. No clue really.

My brain is so tired.

Smokey left me on the same day as my brother.

Stormy left me on the same day as my divorce, birthday and R’s bday.

Angelus left me on my wedding anniversary.

Seriously…what the fuck?

Decided to be a lazy good for nothing loser today. I literally only changed from my pajamas after my shower to a different pair of pajamas.

Woke up tired. And never left that state. I’d like to blame daylight savings (which I hate with the heat of a thousand suns) but pretty sure it was just energy-sucking sadness. Sadness makes you tired in a way that can’t be slept off. Or binged-TV off. Or exercised off. You are just tired.

It was snowing when I woke up. And snowed for like 2 hours while I watched it. Just super light flurries, but it was snow. And I so love it. I do not winter to end. But also am so sad at winter.

Went to dinner last night and it was fine until the inevitable subject of loss came up. And I kept it together for the most part. And tried to play the part of listener. Came home tired. But still turned the TV on, lit my candle, drank glasses of water and gave myself 20 or so minutes before bed. Because that was our routine. Well…minus the candle.

Did zero exercise today (which I felt like a day off was needed anyway even though my brain hates my fucking watch rings.) Bailed on a dinner invitation.

At dinner last night, someone said something about when you tell people you are OK after a very obvious sad event, when you are not. And I said don’t. Just say “I’m not OK. I feel pretty shitty.” If they can’t handle that communication, that’s fine. But you should not have to lie or pretend if these people are your friends. So that’s why I bailed on dinner.

Instead I played my games, listed some toys for sale, watched Young Guns, did laundry, just watched the new episode of The Dropout and now am starting tonight’s The Walking Dead.

Still as tired as when I woke up.

I’ve come home from my afternoon walk and shoveled the back deck for 2 days now – Monday and Tuesday. I cleared from the sliding glass door to the front of the BBQ, and a path to the stairs and railing. Like I would for Smokey. But not as much as I would for him, but started. Plus cleared about 1 foot off the giant pile that was his.

It’s been the first time I’ve gone out there since he left me.

I got very sad yesterday after doing it so decided not to do it today. I decided that already on my walk. But I still looked out there tonight.

Then I saw them. The paw prints. In the newly-shoveled, topped-off snow pile. So I went out there. The snow was soft, so I know they were new. I touched the snow – yep. Soft. But paw prints all around. I looked at the pile of snow on the stairs and see them there too.

I know they are not Smokey’s. I don’t live in a fantasy world. I would imagine a coyote. Although that seems odd since that has never, ever happened and they are so skittish. But with Smokey gone, and a snow pile highway right up to the deck, maybe they smelled a buried treat and felt brazen enough? Smokey loved to bury his treats so I am sure there is at least 1 out there.

I know they are not Smokey’s. But I am not going to lie and say that when I first saw them, I didn’t look around for that milisecond before my analytical brain kicked in.

Or maybe they were Smokey’s…

Not gonna lie, last night and today – I didn’t get out of my pajamas. I was sad. I wanted to try for a walk this AM and pulled my clothes out. And then said no. I cried last night. I cried this morning. Weekends just suck. I do not have the routine of my “work” week. So then it highlights the loss of my real routine for the last 8 years.

My neighbors invited me for dinner so I geared myself and told myself I had to go. So mid afternoon, I did some work on projects for about 2 hours and took a shower and finally put on outside pants.

Dinner was nice. We chatted, ate yummy food, drank bubbly. I keep trying to convince everyone I know that we need a compound. I feel if I push this enough, someone will agree with me lol.

But I also got to skoosh 3 buddies. This makes me sad and happy at the same time. I want to cry, but smile at the same time.

All that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity (says Shakespeare).

It’s not easy to remember that. Or be OK with that. But it just is.

This time 8 years ago, I was driving around the Sacramento Valley area meeting huskies/mals to consider adopting. My first visit was with a “husky-mix” named Smokey. He was at a foster home in Woodland with several other dogs. We walked in and sat on the sofa with the foster mom and he immediately jumped up on the sofa to sit down too – to be part of the conversation. He was super sweet and while the other dogs were running around and going in and out completely ignoring us – he stayed there calmly with us.

Honestly, I wanted to adopt him right there but told myself go and meet the others who were set up to meet me today. Don’t just jump on the first adoption because he is sweet – they will likely all be sweet and this is an important decision. Went and met 3 other dogs – all super cute and in need of adoption. But I kept thinking about Smokey. We had not eaten all day so decided to grab some food around 5pm. Rodrigo asked me – would I be sad going home without Smokey or without a dog? I said Smokey – without even thinking twice. That was it. Called the head of the rescue org who organized all these meets and told her. We went back to Smokey’s foster home and adopted him. I never, ever doubted it. And smiled every day since then.

Plenty of people have called and left me messages, sent me texts, sent me DMs via all my various social media asking what happened, how was I doing, etc. I have answered very few. But to respond to everyone at once best I can – Smokey was doing great. He got past his liver scare in October, was back to his normal self. His blood work was perfect – the vet was actually shocked how well he was doing at his age (he was a big dog turning 14 or 15 this spring) after such a scare. She called him a super hero and said she tells everyone about him.

We went for a walk just like normal on Saturday AM. He asked for his walk treats just like normal. Was hanging out post-walk just like normal. And then he had a seizure type event. He could not stand, he could not get up. We spent the day at the vet testing and discussing all possibilities and options. Brought him home Saturday evening thinking he’d be more comfortable. And I hoped to see some form of him wanting to get up, go outside onto his deck even to just sit in the snow which he loved more than anything. I stayed up all night watching him and hoping. But he did not. He did not want water, food or his favorite treats. Or to move at all. The vet came over on Sunday afternoon and Smokey left us, while he was in my lap/arms and I told him stories of all the fun he led us on. How many coyotes and bears he scared away from his momma. The snow hikes and adventures he led us on. All the fun we had.

2.5 weeks later and I’m obviously still broken-hearted. Still sad every day. It will take a while because every day for the past 8 years has been Smokey filled. And now it’s not.

I told him every night as I skooshed good night that I loved him, that he was my best friend and that tomorrow we will have more fun. And every day we had more fun.

A lot of people have told me how they looked forward to his pictures every day because he made them smile. While I am very sad, it makes me happy that Smokey was able to bring smiles to people that we know both in real life and through social media. And while I did not want to write anything, or even get on social, he deserved his “birthday” adoption day post.

He was the best.

All Smokey ever wanted was to be next to me. To know where I was. To always see me.

I always knew he was right there. Looking for me. Not going to lie, there were times when I’d say “dude…relax. I’m right here. Relax.” But he was always there.

Huskies are not loud dogs. Smokey was even quieter than that. But his presence was huge. I always knew he was here. Always.

Now he is not. And it hurts.

I had a feeling deep in the pit of my stomach that 2022 would suck. Even worse than 2021. It’s kind of why I was not too excited for Christmas. Because then it was the end of the year. And 9 days in, I was right.

I am heartbroken right now. Truly feeling lost. I appreciate all of the kind words about how people loved Smokey but it makes me cry non-stop so I need a bit of time before responding to anything on social media or texts. A couple of neighbors came by to offer condolences – Smokey was well known and loved here. And that was very hard. People want to know what happened – he was always so active, healthy, full of life. And now he is gone.

Smokey has been doing fantastic. Unbelievable really. He had a liver scare back in October and the vet was honestly concerned he would not recover at his age.  Not only did he recover – all of his blood values went back to completely normal ranges which they said was actually a miracle (and probably would not happen) for a dog his age and where they were. He truly was a wonder. 

On Saturday, we went for our AM walk like normal, ate our walk treats like normal – he was visibly 100% fine. Then about an hour after we got home, he collapsed into the snow on the deck.  I got him inside and laid him on his bed – he was sitting up and panting heavily (likely stress) but could not and did not want to move.  This was not Smokey behavior. Then he laid down and was shaking/twitching.  I got him to the vet – got a neighbor to help me carry him to the car which is also not Smokey-allowed behavior.  Also, he gets car sick – which is why I always let him ride in the backseat so he had the windows – and I think the ride there with him laying in the back made him nauseous – he tried to sit up but could not move his legs well enough to get them in the position to sit up and was crying. I also get motion sick so I understand this feeling.

At the vet they ran all of his bloodwork – which came back perfect (which they were also amazed at from his liver scare). No fever. His eye reactions were fine (not old dog syndrome which he had before), but his leg reactions were not – his right front did not react and he did not care when the doctor handled his feet and toes (this was very much not Smokey behavior – he hated his feet touched, especially by anyone but me.) We gave him some anti-nausea meds to see if that feeling was making things seem worse. And fluids.  

To know Smokey – anytime we went to the vet – his first mission was to get the heck out of there.  And he was just lying there, not even trying to get up. This worried them and me. They love him there, and know his desire to get the heck out. He peed himself which he has never, ever done.  Even when he was sick from this liver stuff, or when he hurt his paw years ago, he did not care – he had to potty – he was going outside.  He loved outside.

The vet said that without an MRI or more advanced imaging (not available locally), there was no way to tell for sure but all symptoms and behavior pointed to a stroke/brain clot or possibly brain tumor. Either would need drives down to Davis (Smokey hated long drives or being in the car long) for the advanced facility and he was stressed anytime I was not with him. I asked if after getting any diagnosis like that, would there be any type of quality of life solution to this. I was not getting him brain surgery at his age nor would I start him on chemo at his age. Both vets at the clinic said no. Other than home care such as making sure he was fed via syringe, trying to get him to walk for potty or managing pee pads, etc.

So I took him home in the hopes he would feel more comfortable at home, and maybe after a full night sleep, he would show me signs of trying to get up, move around, some fight, Anything that gave me hope that he could be happy. Because he had now gone 8 hours without showing any interest in even moving. 

Smokey’s true joy in life was being outside (with me). And hiking in the snow (with me). And sleeping the snow when we had it on the deck (as long as he could see me).  I left my deck door open for him to go in/out all the time – even during blizzards because if I ever closed the door – he instantly wanted to go out there.

I slept on the couch and watched him all night.  He never once even tried to move, I hoped he would try to get up in an attempt to go out to his snow on the deck. He did not.  He didn’t even move his position. When I’d pet him, he’d open his eyes but that’s it.  He peed on his bed while laying down a couple more times and when I would move his lower body/back legs to change out towels and pee pads, he didn’t even care. I didn’t know if it meant he couldn’t move them at all, or just didn’t want to.  Either way – I knew it was not good. 

He didn’t want string cheese (a favorite treat) or even water. 

Then on Sunday AM, he started shaking uncontrollably. He tried moving his front paws a little to maneuver himself in a new position but really couldn’t and was in clear distress. I helped him to try and get his upper body into a more sitting position and he just collapsed in my lap where I held him. Smokey was not a lap dog.  He had only crawled into my lap 1 time and that was after his dog sitter lost him and he was lost in the woods for 3 days and I found him. So him crawling into my lap and arms showed me how bad he was feeling. At this point it was more than 24 hours with him not moving on his own, or showing any interest in moving, eating, drinking or anything. 

He had to pee again (I think this is why tried to move) and his shaking/shivering slowed a little but never stopped. I had to face the fact that this was not a recoverable situation. There was not a magic pill, or procedure that would allow him to run in the snow again. or even move himself to go outside and sit in his snow & enjoy the fresh air and some kind of life. If he had showed me any signs of sitting up, eating or drinking anything, or any interest in anything, I would moved the world for him. But I would not allow him to suffer like this.  We made an agreement when he got sick with his liver stuff (for 2 days he was very sick) that I would do anything for him, but if he needed to go, he should not worry about me. And to let me know. And I asked the universe a long time ago to never let him suffer or be sick for a long time. If it was his time, he should be allowed to be having a great life until the very last minute. No long sicknesses, no long-term pain. 

The vet came over and Smokey went in my arms with me reminding him of all the times he had fun in the snow, chased bears away from him momma, played with his friends and had his favorite treats.

I am heartbroken. Smokey was literally the reason I woke up every morning. He came in and woke me up every single day to tell me it was time to get up (crack of dawn.) Our AM hike was our favorite part of the day.  I am currently feeling lost. I planned everything in my life around him and our routine. My friends and neighbors knew inviting me to anything, meant inviting him. And they all loved him. Smokey was loved by so many. But none more than me. I am thankful for having him in my life. But I am currently feeling very lost. And sad.

I am glad to know he was so loved. The best ambassador for dogs, wolves, creatures of any kind. I hope he knew how much I loved him.  I told him many times every day. Showed him by any walks he wanted in whatever weather there was.  If he wanted to go – we went.  And if he wanted to sit outside in the blizzard – have at it. 

I never ever wanted to make this decision again in my life, but I felt allowing him to just lay there, not really knowing the extent of his suffering as he could not tell me, but could show me he was not normal Smokey, not happy or feeling well and was miserable, was not fair to him. It would only be allowing me to not make that decision which would break my heart.  And if he declined further and faster throughout the day or the next day that was not fair to him. 

I know he lived a long life for a big dog.  I was hoping we’d make it to 16+.  He was either turning 14 or 15 this spring based on the paperwork I had from his rescue. I know he had a full life.  I’m glad more of it was with me and here than whatever he went through before he was in the rescue where I adopted him from. I hope I made him forget all of that.

In so many of my pictures of him, he is smiling and I hope he truly was that happy. I think he was.
It hurts me (and angry at the universe) thinking he was perfectly fine on our walk and then an hour later our lives were made worse forever. And I wish I could go back to that walk and let him have all the extra treats. But then I think, maybe that was the universe doing what I asked – no long suffering or sickness. I don’t know. 

But I do know that my days will not be filled with his smiles. He was always there. Next to me. And now he is not. My life feels very, very alone right now.

Not even worth the humbug. I hate 2021.

I try every day to remember what to be happy and/or thankful for. I do. And I am. But it has been harder and harder.

Most importantly, Smokey and I are healthy. But he has definitely slowed down a lot. But in a weird way. Like..the other night when it was dumping snow and dark out – he still wanted his walk. No slacking off! But then he goes into the bedroom and sleeps for hours after dinner. He’s literally never done that. Ever. I am OK as long as it’s simply what he needs.

I know I can’t have him forever. But it’s still hard.

And then my indoor Humble Bumble no longer lights up starting tonight. This is after my outdoor Humble partially died. Seriously? My Christmas decorations die on me?

Oh..then my friends – family (but let’s face it, your friends are family until they have their own family to take care of. It just is.) – who come to spend the holidays – might have been exposed to Covid. So…do I trust the tests that I think are 50/50 at best? Do I say no and be sad over the holiday. Sigh. I could go on with other petty life annoyances but meh. Fuck this year. Seriously And you know what – if you voted for Biden – fuk you too.

I hate 2021.

I’m trying.

This is my favorite time of year. Winter. Cold. Snow. Traditions. Christmas.

But I am stuck. Trying to be my festive self. I’ve never had a problem. Fuck. My Mom died at Thanksgiving years ago and I still mustered fn Christmas spirit.

But today? I’ve decorated my tree. I play Christmas music in the car. I even put on Die Hard. Nothing.

My traditions were blown this year. No one cares. Whatever. We have no snow. It’s fucking sunny and warm. If I could nuke Mother Nature – I would at this point. I’ve tried to be cheery. We’ll see how it goes. But this sucks.