My sweet Speedy is gone from us. A week ago, he was here, full of life, full of joy, enjoying the coziness of being shut in during an ice storm. Today he is gone from this world.
It was sudden. It was unexpected. And he has left a hole in our lives and our home that it is going going to take me a very, very, very long time to get used to.
Speedy has suffered from seasonal allergies most of his life. He he was younger, supplements, acupressure, and diet kept it pretty much in check. But over the last few years he has really struggled, especially, with inflammation on his feet.
This past fall it got so bad that one of his vets prescribed predinsone. I don't normally like to give prednisone to my dogs, but this was a serious situation that required major intervention, so I put him through the course.
He did well with it except for one thing - it made him ravenously hungry. He started eating odd things like paper, socks, and even a partial bag of cotton balls that he managed to get off of a shelf in the bathroom!
He passed all of it without any trouble. We got more careful, the course of prednisone ended, and things went back to normal, relatively speaking.
We remained careful, keeping socks off of the floor, trash cans emptied, and things as safe as we could. But I made one big mistake and that turned out to be the one that mattered.
I had placed a laundry basket, full of various things, including socks, in the back bedroom. I didn't just leave it there, open - I placed a black rubber tub on top of it to keep it safe just in case.
Two Thursdays ago I came home and found the rubber tub removed, a bra with straps completely chewed off, and signs that other items had been taken out of the basket.
Although I did not now who had done it, I gave Speedy peroxide, knowing he was the most likely culprit. When nothing came up, I figured he wasn't he one who had done it, but it turned out that I was just too late.
All was well until Monday. I got home from work and let the dogs out and I noticed that Speedy was breaking through the ice in the dog yard to get to old grass to eat. When he came into the house, he promptly threw it up, and then I knew . . .
I called the vet and was able to get him in to get him seen that evening. As I was getting ready to go, I discovered a mess in the bedroom. Three socks, and many pieces of bra strap had been pooped all over the place. I had no idea what was still inside of him.
They did an x-ray and saw that there was something in his small intestine. They gave him an anti-nausea shot and said to feed him small meals, and that it might pass.
When we got home, his obvious discomfort continued, he refused to eat anything at all, and I knew I would need to call the vet in the morning.
I spent a good bit of that night sitting with him as he lay on his bed. Oddly, he was very peaceful. Completely accepting of whatever was happening . . .
He went in for surgery on Tuesday and the vet found another sock stuck in his small intestine. It was successfully removed, none of the intestine appeared to be damaged, and he came home on Wednesday. He was very obviously uncomfortable, but I had hope that he would hang in and pull through this.
Yesterday morning everything changed. He became lethargic and was running a low grade fever. I was able to get him in to his vet in the morning, and I was made aware of the possibility that the sutures in his intestine might have ruptured. We were hopeful that was not the case, but I was instructed to get him to the emergency vet if his fever went into the high 103's and/or he refused to eat. Shortly after we got home from the vet, I offered him food and he refused to eat. His fever had risen to 103.7. 20 minutes later it was 104. I took him to the emergency vet.
They did x-rays and found that the sutures inside of him had, in fact, ruptured. His intestine was filling with fluid. The only option would have been to put him under, go back in, try to drain the intestine, re-suture it, and start back from square one with recovery. The emergency clinic vet told me that his chances were only 50/50, plus there was a risk of an infection in his blood, plus the sutures could again rupture, and it would be more likely to happen a second time.
I could not put Speedy through that. If his chances had been good, I would have tried everything. But it was time to let him go.
Luckily, my husband, Ben, was about 40 minutes away. I made the arrangements and they brought Speedy into a really nice room with a bed that was very comfortable for him. I got to spend about 30 minutes with him by myself and then my husband and I spent about another 30 minutes with him together. He was so happy when Ben showed up. His eyes lit up, his ears perked high, and he gave him a million kisses.
He died very peacefully, trusting, content, snuggled up to me with my arms around him, with Ben petting him. I know that for the rest of my life I will be grateful that he had such a peaceful death. I will always wish it had not had to come so suddenly, nor so soon.
But now it's like one of the brightest lights in my life has been snuffed out forever. Speedy really did radiate joy and peace. Life was always better just because he was here. Even though he lived with chronic pain and was mentally limited in so many ways, he was a huge presence in this household.
Of course I am deeply grateful that Sammie, Dean, and Tessa are here, and they are a comfort to me in many ways. But the new "normal" is going to be a very long time in coming and I know I will miss him badly . . . forever.
My sweet Speedy, we had such an amazing ride. It was truly an honor to be your person and your handler and to have you as my Border Collie and companion.