I just buried my face in the hound dog’s fur and cried. I told her I need her to be strong and healthy for a long time. I let her lick my tears. Totally gross, I know, but the hound dog has been with me since Sara, Matthew and I adopted her in early 2002 and last week when we took her in to have an odd growth removed from her bottom, Scott brought Maddie along too because she’d cut her nose.
I had no idea that 10 days later Maddie would be emaciated, unable to eat, and in full renal failure prompting our vet to call her kidneys “incompatible with life”. I had no idea that I’d be facing the harsh reality of losing a part of our family and explaining that loss to Delilah…while mourning that loss with Scott.
Scott works with other people’s dogs all day long. He trains them, he feeds them, he runs them, and then he comes home, and he still finds the energy to do all of those things for Sophie and Madden too.
Scott brought Maddie home from the pound three weeks after his one year old puppy Roxy was taken from us all too soon when she buried her bone in what turned out to be mulch of white oleander. Roxy’s loss was incredibly hard on Scott and it came at a time when our family was losing dogs left and right. Ricky went to old age, while Bruiser – my dear gentle giant of a Rottie who was found roaming the Silver Lake Reservoir and came into our lives via email – grew a brain tumor and died at 6 years old. Maegan’s sweet Billy ran into the street while on a walk with a friend on her birthday. It was a rough run, but it ended for us when Maddie found Scott on an impromptu visit to the pound one afternoon.
When Dee was born, Maddie – always a little aloof – was the one we were worried about. But our tiny runt of a German Shepherd bonded crazy fast with newborn Dee, sleeping under her bassinet in the early days – never leaving her side. Now I often find the two sleeping curled up together on the floor, and even yesterday as Maddie’s nose continues to dry and flake, Dee gently picked up her pup’s head and kissed her injured face.
I don’t want Maddie to give up. I haven’t given up on her. I’ll do anything to keep my husband and daughter from the pain of this loss. I found myself discussing idiotic measures like dog kidney transplants, but I don’t care how crazy that is, right now – today, I’d do anything to stop this from happening to my family.
Last night I hand fed Miss Mads chicken and egg whites, and she finally managed to get some food down. This morning I’m undulating between optimistic and sobbing like she’s already gone. Animals add so much to our lives, but fuck it hurts when they’re taken away…I don’t want to have to make this choice. And I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to say to Dee.