Wednesday, October 12, 2011
The Best Dog Ever!!! (R.I.P. Willis 2/1/01-10/7/11
One day, my kids (then 4 & 6) were playing outside, & I noticed they had gone across the street & were playing with the puppies in the neighbor's yard. I got upset with them for crossing the street (even though it was a quiet Cul da sac) & went over to retrieve them. They were disappointed that I made them come back home.
Awhile later, Heather burst into the house with a 4 pound ball of fur, saying "Look Mommy, the littlest one followed us, isn't he cute! I remember being upset that she had brought him in the house. I told her to take him outside immediately in case he had an accident, and followed her out there. I took him from her arms and brought him to my chest and he was so soft and flop eared cute! We played with him awhile, & then his Mother Precious came over to nurse him! That was so sweet.
Phil arrived home later that day, & the kids were still playing with him out front. Vincent ran up to Dad the same time Heather did. Heather shoved that puppy right in his face as he knelt down to pet him. She said, "Can we keep him Daddy, please?" The look on Phil's face!!! He said, "Well, we have to keep him now!" LOL I will never forget that day.
That night Phil & I loaded up the kids, and the dog (whom Phil had affectionately and very appropriately named "Willis" because he always had something to say like the kid on Different Strokes) and we headed to PetSmart. We purchased Willis's food, a collar, his little dishes, and a quilted baby blue colored squeaky bone. (I still have that somewhere, lol) His collar didn't even fit! It was awesome though and we still have that too. It was leather and had little blunt end studs all the way around it. As we were leaving the parking lot in our car, I had Willis on my lap. Our windows were down in the car. I guess he was scared, and out he went! He jumped out the window! Yep. And because he was so long, he kinda toppled out. Good thing we were at a light before turning out onto the main street! Silly puppy!!!
The next day was Saturday, so we made an appointment to get him seen by our local vet.Her name was Pattie. We asked her how much she thought he would weigh or what he would look like. She said "I have NO IDEA what he's going to look like or how big he will be." We thought that was pretty funny and still do, considering he was verrrrrrry looooong once full grown! At 6 months, Willis's ears were at half mass, at 1 year, those adorable huge ears stuck straight up!
He learned to love tennis balls because a friend of a friend would visit, and showed him his first ball. His other favorite was frisbies. Also, when we would go camping, we trained him to bring us pine cones! This was great because then he wouldn't lose his tennis balls that he loved so much, and we could keep them at home, lol.
Willis was the People's Puppy through and through. Everyone who met him loved him. Never did he bite anyone either. People would come over, and as soon as they threw his ball once, he was their friend for life! Willis spent his first 3 yrs or so around my adopted parent's dogs Buddy, KCLyn, and Sarah. They remained friends to him for the most part. In fact, KCLyn is still alive, but barely. She will join Willis in doggie heaven tomorrow. Willis also loved cats, and rats! We have had many many rats and cats in the years of his life.
He loved kids and babies. He was introduced to each baby or kid that came along in our circle of friends. First was our kids, then Adam Jarid and Kendra Ball. Hayley Craig-Nicholsen, Then Beth had Malachi, and later Zephaniah. Cheyenne was born when Willis was 5. He licked her cheek and face when we brought her home. It made me laugh because she scrunched up as if to say "WHAT IS THAT?" Their bond was very very close as well.
I met Rosey Finley and her kids also fell in love with Willis. Michele came into Willis's life recently and her son Gavin bonded very closely with him. People came and went, but Willis always loved, always wagged, and always greeted!
Now some unpleasant things to hear: In the last few days, we were noticing that Willis was yelping here and there. We thought it was because he had injured himself playing with the kids. It got worse and worse. It was to the point in the last 24 hrs of his life where, everytime he would try to walk, he would yelp so loudly that we realized he needed to be seen. Last night (10-7-11) we took him in, and they gave him a shot of hydramorphine, and did xrays. It came back that he had a huge mass in his abdomen and in his chest. There could have been more, they weren't sure. Basically, they masses/tumors were pressing on his bladder and chest, effecting his ability to walk, urinate, and defacate properly, or lay down without pain. They could not 100% say that it was cancer, but I asked Kristen (the kind and sweet Vet) if she thougth it was cancer and she nodded her head yes and said "I am sorry, I know that is hard for you because he was your baby." She then extended her arms to me and embraced me and rubbed my shoulder.
At this point, Willis was in doggie drug world and was not feeling any pain and wanted to GO GO GO. He was whining. He wanted off of the table so Phil put him down. He wandered right to the door and began to really whine loudly as if to say, "I want out so I can explore and potty please." Ronald and I took him on a leash from the hospital outside and boy did he have to potty! He went everywhere he possibly could! Marking this bush and that pole until there was nothing left, lol. We walked him around a bit more and he fully enjoyed being blitzed and exploring! Upon leaving the vet hospital, Kristen told us that we would know when it's "time" and to keep him as comfortable as possible with the medication they prescribed.
When we left the hospital, I sat with Willis in the back of Michele's vehicle. He was anxious to get home! I knew exactly what he wanted! He wanted to go for a walk! (I think he knew he would never get that chance again) So, Ronnie and I took him for a walk up and down the canal, at his pace, unleashed. He fully enjoyed that hour and a half. He would stop every so often and sniff around or rest. (He was very wobbly) He even fully emptied his bowls. That was a good thing, so as to make him more comfortable. When we got back from walking the 2 miles, he still wanted out more but I knew he needed to rest, as his shot would wear off soon and he would start the Damperidol (mp?) by around midnight.
I went to lay down, but Ronnie spent the night on the couch by Willis's side, because there was no way the dog could get up the stairs again. (The night before, Ronnie had spent it on the floor in our room next to Willis.) It was a very difficult night. I heard Willis shift his body and yelp many times. I dreamed of that silly dog fetching balls, pine cones, and frisbies. Squeaking his toys, and running after the kids for a game of tag. I envisioned him as his active self again. I couldn't sleep, and woke many times, and came down stairs and gave Wibble a pat on the head, stroke of his ears, and kisses on his wet nose and told him I loved him very much. Then I returned to bed.
This morning Willis was able to urinate again, but would not eat or drink. He had returned to his painful state, even with the meds. His head hung low, tail tucked under his bum, and yelping loudly when he tried to move around. We didn't want him to suffer...
So, we called the hospital and let them know he hadn't got any better, only worse. They agreed with us on our decision to put him to "sleep". Our four legged baby was in pain and he needed to feel relief. Michele, Fushia, and I had all the kids say their goodbyes. There were tears, smiles of memories, and sadness everywhere. Phil was at work, and knew what we were doing, but could not bring himself to be there. I understood that, and respected it. Everyone handles death in their own way. . .
I picked up Willis in his blue blanket from Auntie Fushia, and he yelped in pain so badly. Once I got him in the back, I hugged my Heather, and climbed in. Heather was crying very hard. I had asked her if she wanted to go but she didn't and I also understood that. As we drove away, I watched her standing there alone by herself wishing I could somehow project myself there to hold her once again. Too bad I could not be in 2 places at once! She waved, I waved back.
Rosey had requested to join us, so she was on her way to the hospital too. She had baby Zoey in the car with her, which under normal circumstances would have excited me, but I was in no shape to hold a newborn! Anyway, I won't draw this out too much...but we got there, and you know how the usual euthanasia goes...We took pictures with him a few minutes before his death. He looked and seemed so happy in those moments. I think he knew, and was not scared. He was smiling because of the love he felt and was giving. He was smiling because he knew he would not be in pain. His tail wagged one last time. He was sad because he knew he would miss us and we would miss him. I could not smile. I just couldn't. My doggie was medically killed in my arms today. . .
When we got home it took me awhile to go in the house. His ball. His bed. His frisbie. His water and food bowls. His toys and collar and leash...You see, he was everywhere. Although I knew he was gone, I could not comprehend it nor was I willing to face it completely. I still havent! As I sit here, I keep listening for his bark. His toes clacking his nails on the floor. His powerful tail slapping against someone or something as usual. Heather rang the doorbell just for kicks. Normally, our precious Dog would have barked, but there was nothing. Eerie silence as we all listened to it. LOUD. It was so loud. Silence is loud.
Earlier, I tried to hand Willis a piece of my lunch but he wasn't there to enjoy it. I keep looking for him. I keep thinking I see him. NOPE. He's gone. With us in our hearts, but gone physically. I was even going to give him a few pieces of ham at dinner time awhile ago. I know that sounds weird, but I am not used to this house without him. I miss him so much.
Willis's favorite tree out front is left "un-peed" on. I was thinking about digging a small hole, and placing his collar and ball under there. I can't bring myself to do that. I want to SEE those things lying around. I know I know, let go and move on. I can't yet. Willis was my only dog in my whole 36 years...I will move on soon, just not yet.
I can't say anything else about this or I will drench the keyboard. I love you Willis. Thank you for giving us 10.8 wonderful years. There will never be another you.