Terrier tracks: She's gone

Terrier tracks

Personal Records
  • 1 mile - 7:20 - October 11, 2008 - St Clement Long Stride - Jamaica, NY
  • 5k - 25:35 - June 1, 2008 - FPYC 25 Furlongs (5k) Race - Floral Park, NY
  • 4 miles - 33:32 - December 3, 2006 - Fly With the Owls 4 mile Run - Lynbrook, NY
  • 5 miles - 42:50 - Apr 27, 2008 - Alley Pond 5 Mile Challenge - Alley Pond Park, Queens, NY
  • 10k - 55:11 - May 19, 2007 - Healthy Kidney 10k - Central Park, NY
  • 15k - 1:39.28 - March 11, 2007 - Colon Cancer Challenge 15k - Central Park, NY
  • 10 miles - 1:38.28 - May 25, 2008 - Long Beach Trophy Run 10M - Long Beach, NY
  • Half Marathon - 2:05.48 - July 27, 2008 - NYC Half Marathon - New York, NY
2009 Races
  • Feb 21 - GLIRC 3 x 2 Trail Relay - 17:20 for my 2 mile leg
  • Mar 1 - Coogan's Salsa, Blues & Shamrocks 5k - 26:29
  • Mar 15 - John Corrigan 4 x 2 Relay - 16:21 for my 2 mile leg
  • Apr 11 - Scotland Homecoming 10k - 56:37
  • Apr 26 - Alley Pond 5 Mile Challenge - 47:44
  • May 16 - Healthy Kidney 10k - 57:13
  • May 27 - LIRRC Summer Series 5k - 27:17 - 1st in Age
  • May 30 - Japan Day 4M - 35:28
  • June 7 - Mini 10k - 57:31
  • June 10 - LIRRC Summer Series 5k - 26:57 - 3rd in Age
  • June 24 - LIRRC Summer Series 5k - 27:18
  • July 1 - LIRRC Summer Series 5k - 27:30 - 1st in Age
  • July 4 - Oakdale Firecracker 5k - 26:28
  • July 5 - Massapequa Firecracker 5k - 26:42
  • Aug 16 - NYC Half Marathon - 2:07:58
  • Aug 26 - LIRRC Summer Series 5k - 27:32
  • Sept 12 - Ocean to Sound 50M Relay - 5th leg - 55:56
  • Oct 4 - P.O. Gary Farley 5k - 27:16
  • Oct 11 - Get to the Point 5k - 26:46
  • Oct 25 - Totten Trot 5k - 27:09
  • Nov 8 - Blazing Trails 4-Autism 4M - 36:16
  • Nov 15 - Mineola Mustang 5k - 27:34
  • Nov 22 - Great Prostate Cancer Challenge 5k - 27:29 - 3rd in Age
  • Nov 27 - Run Your Turkey Off 4k - 20:56 - 2nd in Age
  • Dec 5 - Seaford Hot Chocolate 5k - 27:15
  • Dec 13 - TRRC Couples Race - 1st leg - 18:21, team: 32:41
  • Dec 19 - Ho Ho Ho Holiday 5k - 28:11
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011
She's gone


I haven't written here in forever. I doubt anyone is reading it, but I wanted to write about the last few months. It might be better that no one is reading--I just need to get it out, to get it down.
Shannon, the terrier this blog is named for, is gone. I had to let her go in January--January 13th, to be exact. I miss her terribly and deep down, I don't think I'm coping all that well.
The end of last year I began to notice that she was losing weight. Not in a general, getting thin kind of way, but her hindquarters were starting to waste. She had been slowing down a lot, but she still had a many good days where she was alert and interested. The walks had shortened and she often didn't make it outside even to do her business. I was getting used to cleaning up after her. She was on three or four different medicines and was becoming more disinterested in eating. I decided that I needed to take her to the vet for a checkup.
That decision was made the week before Christmas. Well, on December 26, NYC got socked in by a big snowstorm. The city didn't react well and for days after streets were still not plowed. We had a number snowstorms this past winter, which made it really difficult to get Shannon out. She didn't like snow and was averse to getting her paws wet, but that Boxing Day storm was a big one and I was stuck in the house with her for days. I think that was when it really hit me how old she had gotten.
Between the snowstorms and the holidays, I wasn't able to get her to the vet until the beginning of January. The vet was shocked at her condition. We had seen the doctor in August for her regular checkup and she had lost a great deal of weight since then. He took blood and decided that we should stop all her heart medications. Her kidneys were starting to fail and he thought that we needed to try and stop the deterioration.
So, I took her home and tried to get used to not giving her any meds. She became even more disinterested in eating. I was spoonfeeding her anything she was willing to take. She would eat the goodies, so I think it was more that she was feeling queasy and could only be coaxed to eat the really good stuff.
I had put a second bowl of water in the living room, near her bed, so that she wouldn't have to go far to drink. It was important that she get liquids down. I came home one day to find water all over the floor around an empty waterbowl. I thought, maybe she fell into it, because the bowl was still upright.
A couple of nights later I was awoken by her making a loud noise next to my bed. For a few years, Shannon had been unable to get up into my bed, but she insisted on sleeping in my bed at night and refused to use any assistance to get out of it when she needed to. So, she would fling herself off of the bed to the floor. Upon being awoken, I thought maybe she had been unable to land on her feet and had fallen. I got up to pick her up and realized that she was unconscious. I held her for a bit to see if she would start seizing. She has had epilepsy since she was young, and while the meds had kept her from having a seizure in years, I thought it was possible that they weren't working any more. She came back after a short while and I put her back in bed and went back to sleep.

The next day she collapsed two more times. Meanwhile, we had had another big snowstorm, so I was home from work. I dug out the car and I called the vet's office to take her in. My regular vet was not in, but another doctor was available. I told him what was happening and he took blood again and basically told me that her kidneys were failing and I needed to get fluids into her. He advised getting some chicken boullion and gave me a syringe to get the liquid into her. I took her home and made her comfortable.
After staying home so many days with the storms, I decided to go to work the next day. About an hour after I got there, the vet called. Tests showed that in the week since we had first went in, her kidneys were even worse and she had lost even more weight. I asked him if it was possible to support her and keep her comfortable. He said that she probably wasn't in pain, but might be feeling nauseous. The kidneys would just continue to decline. I had decided previously that the collapses were due to the congestive heart failure and the lack of oxygen to her brain. I told the vet that I would call him back when I decided what I wanted to do. I called my mom and got hysterical on the phone. I told her I was going home and ran out of the office.
Shortly after getting home I called the vet's office and told them that I had decided on euthanization. They told me that I could come in in about an hour.
I let Shannon ride on the front seat for the first time in years. She just sat there and watched me. Once we got to the office, I held her while we waited. Looking back, I realize that she ready to go as she just stayed in my arms. Usually she would spend the entire time in the waiting room pacing from the me to the door and asking to get picked up and insisting on being put down. But she was very calm in my arms.
I was with her when she went. She fussed a bit on the exam table before the vet sedated her. But then she just went. After dealing with her collapses for about a week, I wasn't sure she was gone. After a while, I told her she was a good girl and left her.
I still can't get the image of her on that table out of my head. I'm having a hard time getting past that day and remembering her the way she was. I'm not sure if I'm ever going to feel like I can accept another dog in my life. I'm positive that it was the right time. I think it was hastened by stopping the heart meds, but it probably only made a difference of a few weeks.
The first thing I did when I got home was to pack up everything in the apartment of hers and move it out. I packed up all her things, her pictures. I considered ripping the carpet up in my apartment, but I haven't done that yet.
I'm tired of feeling this way. I'm tired of fielding the question 'when are you getting another dog?' I know that most people mean well, but I don't think anyone truly understands. Shannon was my best friend, my roommate, my life. The last four months is the first time I've ever lived totally alone.
I don't get any enjoyment from anything. I've put on about 15 pounds in the two years that she was sick because I just didn't care. Everything that I used to enjoy seems like a chore. Before I lost her, I thought that I would throw myself into running because I would have more time. I even considered doing the NYC marathon in her memory, but I just don't have the energy. I have been forcing myself to do things that I should do and I suppose I do feel somewhat better. I can actually get my act together for about a week but then it slowly starts to fall apart again. I then pick up the pieces and try again. I suppose that's normal. I guess if something was really wrong, I wouldn't bother trying again.
posted by DebbieJRT @ 6:22 PM  
2 Comments:
  • At 5/02/2012 9:47 AM, Blogger Katie Duffy said…

    I know this is a year late, but I just noticed it after reading your comment on my blog. I used to read TT when you were updating regularly. I'm so sorry about Shannon! Your post made me cry, thinking about how you must have felt, and thinking about my shiba, Miko. She's 8 now and just starting to show some signs of slowing down a little, and we lost our first dog, Max, to the Hutch in 2008 (he escaped from his collar and ran out to it. It was terrible.) Anyway, I know how hard losing your pet can be and I hope you're a lot better now.

     
  • At 5/08/2012 2:47 PM, Blogger David Haas said…

    Hi,
    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?
    David

     
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Home: Bellerose, New York, United States
About Me: crotchety cross stitcher, trying to channel my inner athlete
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