My dog Sadie died today.
That’s one of the last photos I took of Sadie. She was a highly photogenic dog, and I swear she used to pose quite frequently so one could admire her svelte figure.
We lived together for only seven years. Much too short a time.
Sadie was a stand out at the animal shelter from which she was adopted. Amongst the numerous shepherd mixes frantically barking, there was this dog that looked very different and quietly pawed at the bars of her cage, pleading to be let out. Ironically, Sadie was quite a barker once she got comfortable in her new home, but I liked how she warned me whenever a person came near the house. That was her job: to sound a warning and hold strangers at bay until I approved them to enter.
I lost her quite suddenly. I take good care of my dogs and she had a clean bill of health from the vet just a few months ago. All seemed fine this morning when we got up and went about the morning routine. About two hours later I found her weak and pale on the dog bed in the office. She had vomited her breakfast all around, but was too weak to move herself. I rushed her to the emergency veterinarian clinic where they did an x-ray and found that her pericardium (the membrane around her heart) was full of fluid.
The vet recommended that she have the fluid drained and that I leave her overnight to be monitored and assessed in the morning. It was possible she had a tumor on her heart that was causing the fluid to build up, but that wouldn’t be determined until the internal medicine veterinarian came in on Monday. So that was our course of action.
Two hours later, the vet called me to report that they had successfully drained the fluid and that Sadie was looking better. We planned to talk again around dinner time. But then an hour later she called back with a change in status. Sadie had suffered respiratory distress and cardiac arrest. They had resuscitated her more than once, but she just wouldn’t stabilize. By the time I got to the emergency clinic, she was dead.
Sadie was only eight years old. I had expected her to live until at least 12.
For some reason, over the past few months I had been much more aware of the little moments of pleasure Sadie and I shared. She loved the sun and in the summer she would stretch out in the grass and just lounge. (I used to joke that she was working on her tan.) A few times this summer I would sit down next to her and stroke her as she enjoyed the sunshine. Just the other morning I spent several minutes petting and stroking her as we woke up together on a lazy Saturday. She would stretch out and let me stroke her belly and her back, then eagerly jump up to start the day.
I don’t know why I had to lose her so abruptly and it disturbs me that I couldn’t be with her in her last moments. Just before B and I left the emergency clinic so they could perform their procedures we were given a few minutes to spend with her. We petted her and I hugged her and told her to hang in there. As we walked away she stood up and tried to walk to me. And that was the last time I saw her alive.
I love you Sadie. And I hope you had as much fun with me as I did with you.