RRRRRRiiiiiinnnnnngggggg! That was the sound that broke the silence that fateful morning of July 31, 2002. “Hello? Good morning, the results of the biopsy are back, and we are sorry to inform you that there is a malignant tumor in your mother’s liver and, the prognosis is not good. She has less than six month to live unless she has a transplant; we have placed her on top of the liver transplant list. The doctor bluntly informed me that if they see that the cancer has spread when my mother is in surgery, they will have to close her up and not perform the transplant. It made sense, so I thanked them and hung up the phone. My mother was sitting right in front of me and, even when she is deaf she could tell by the changes of the expression of my face that something was wrong, very wrong. When she asked me what the matter was, I broke down and drowning in tears I had to tell her the cruel truth. That was almost 12 years ago.
Two weeks after that phone call, we got a call telling us that they had found a perfect match and that my mother needed to go to the hospital to have a liver transplant, at the age of 70 plus. The surgery was a success. Hospitalization time was around 2 to 3 months, depending on her recuperation and demeanor. My mother refused to walk for the length required by her doctors and for that reason; doctors refused to let her go home. She remained in the hospital until December and was finally allowed to go home after I begged the doctors to let her go and after I promised I would make her walk, so we finally went home for Christmas, which was the darkest and happiest Christmas of my life. My mother had survived and was home, but she was in a deep depression refusing to get off the bed.
Two months went by with my mother refusing to get out of bed and barely eating. I was seeing her lose weight and becoming skin and bones –my mother has always been a girl with meat on her bones. By February, somewhere around St. Valentine, I decided to take a break and visit a friend, on my way to her home I saw a lady on the road selling puppies, beautiful fur balls with eyes. I drove by fighting with my inner voice and reason –one saying, “buy one” while reason kept telling me “are you crazy?” – So I kept going.
I made a U-turn and returned to the lady, I asked her what their breed was. Lhasa Apsos was her answer. How much are you asking? $300 was her dry reply. I debated with myself and asked if she accepted checks, to which she said no, cash only. So I told her to hold a pup for me that I was going to the bank to get the money, and I’d be back for a pup. When I returned, she had sold them all, and she was obviously surprised to see I had returned; she apologized and asked me to wait for her that she had two more pups at home she had reserved for friends, and she will let me choose one. I agreed.
Half an hour later, she returned with a box carrying two pups. A boy and a girl. One was a gorgeous black pup with a white diamond on his chest and white tips on all 4 of his paws, truly beautiful, and I went to hold him when I saw this brown fur ball with big eyes, pleading eyes looking at me. I read her eyes, she knew she was not as pretty as her little brother and was resigned to the idea that I was not going to pick her… it was love at first sight and, without even holding her brother I chose her, paid what I was asked and left with her happier than I’ve been in a long time. The papers said she was born on December 12, 2002, she was a Sagittarius like me… a good sign.
I had bought this pup with the hope that she will help my mother with her depression, and it worked. But she was mine, she was mine since the day I took her from that box. She listened careful to everything I had to say and, at the tender age of two months she learned how to pee in a pee-pee pad; at first, she ran to it while leaving little drops behind her as she was rushing trying to hold it. She was my beautiful “good girl.” Whenever I said to her “good girl” you could see the pride in her eyes and, whenever she had done something wrong and I, as my only form of punishment, told her “bad girl” she would desperately try to kiss me… I could see the shame in her eyes! There has never been such an expressive dog in my life, we understood each other with just our eyes.
My mother named her Nelita. She was a happy pup; she had 6 cats that played with her, and that were bigger than her. At the beginning she slept with my mother and she loved to watch TV, particularly The Price is Right. She would spend hours watching TV, and she would run to my mother whenever one of her shows was on to lay down by her to watch her show. She was one of a kind!
When she was 2 years old, I found her a boyfriend with a magnificent pedigree. A handsome boy that happened to be our neighbor’s dog, who would sit by our windows waiting patiently for her to either show her face on the window or go out for a walk so he could be with her. It was a one-night stand (because she didn’t want to see him ever again after that) and she got pregnant. She didn’t get too big and on March 2005 she gave birth with me assisting her. She was obedient, and pushed when I asked her to and kept looking at me looking for comfort whenever she had a contraction. She only had one pup, Balloo, who my mother refused to sell. Now we had two dogs. Balloo now sleeps with my mother and Nelita began sleeping with me.
I don’t remember when I began to notice, but Nelita used to drink lots of water. She was always thirsty and would drink half a gallon of water on one sitting, and she also peed a lot… an ocean of pee! I always joked saying that her kidneys had to be the cleanest kidneys in the world. Boy, was I wrong.
A year ago I saw what it appeared to be a hernia; I took her to the vet, and he suggested surgery and, while at it to neuter her to which I agreed. She had the surgery and took the opportunity that she was under anesthesia to have her teeth cleaned. Everything went well, and she was back home the next day. She was happy and running around in our backyard, happier than usual.
She kept drinking more water and peeing accordingly, and I never worried too much about it. She began to throw up water with saliva about three months ago. I keep telling her she was throwing up because she was drinking too much water too fast, so I began following her whenever she went for a drink, and
removed the water from her when I thought she had had enough.
On July 3, 2014 I noticed her teeth were bad, and she had pain. Her gums were like jelly, and I was horrified! I rushed her to the vet and had blood work done on her. The vet told me the dental work will cost me approximately $800 – I am currently unemployed with no income. So I took her back home and told the vet that I was going to see if anyone could lend me the money to treat my girl, the vet promised to call me back with the results from the blood work. She did, precisely when I was on my way to an interview, she told me my girl had renal failure and that the prognosis was not good. In shock and with my voice breaking, I asked the vet if she was suggesting for me to put my girl to sleep, and she replied that it was not necessary that she could be treated at home with subcutaneous fluids, so there was hope.
I had to wait one week while I found someone to lend me the $185 the 5-day treatment would cost me. I didn’t know that this treatment would be a treatment for life and to be truly helpful the price would have been around $250, I had to drop some of the pills suggested because I couldn’t find that amount of money and could only afford the $185. The vet that day was a different vet, and he recommended putting Nelita to sleep. I was in shock and horror… no, the other vet told me there was a treatment for Nelita, so I refused that option. Took home the fluids and, even when I have a needle phobia I overlooked my phobia to help my girl, to save her, I introduced that long needle on her back as the vet had taught me and administered the fluids twice a day, for 4 days. On the third day, her jaw dropped. She could not close her mouth; she was drooling, and didn’t want to move. I had to be pouring water to wet her tongue and lips, she could no longer drink, and she was not interested in any food, I pureed all the things she always liked and she refused them all. The slightest movement was painful for her; she was having difficulties breathing, and my heart sank, I knew my girl was in pain… I knew I had to help her.
With a heavy heart, I took her to the vet on July 15, 2014. Nelita always loved car rides, and she loved to sit on my lap and look out the window while I was driving. This time, I wasn’t driving, but she was on my lap. Unlike the previous visit to the vet the prior week where she didn’t care to look out the window, this time she did. This time it was like as if she wanted to have a last look at everything as if she wanted to absorb all the beauty she so enjoyed.
We got to the Animal Hospital, and it was the same vet that recommended me to put her to sleep… he came to tell me, “I told you so.” I hated him with all my heart, but he was right.
He hugged me and told me he knew that I was suffering but doing the right thing. He told me he was sick of people bringing their healthy pets to be euthanized, with lame excuses such as loosing their jobs or, most commonly, they didn’t want the dog or cat anymore. In contrast, there are people like me, who didn’t jump at the opportunity to get rid of their friends and instead, even without the money, tried alternatives before the irreversible choice of euthanasia and when we made that decision, we suffered.
Nelita was sitting when the vet walked into the room. I could tell she was suffering by her eyes, but I also could tell she was nervous, she knew what was going to happen, I have no doubt. I hugged her and told her she was a good girl and that soon all her suffering was going to be over. The vet injected the anesthesia. I wasn’t expecting how quickly this anesthesia was going to work. Immediately she dropped to the table as I was hugging her and looking at the vet asking him if she was dead, and he assured me she wasn’t, she was sedated. Next, he injected another clear liquid, and the last one was the one that ended her life, ironically a pink liquid that ended all her suffering. I kept repeating in her ear how much I loved her, how much I was going to miss her, to wait for me and that she had been the best girl ever.
Nelita used to sleep on the right side of my bed, with me. She was my bed companion along with all my other pets, but her spot was the right side of the bed, not close to me as my cats like to do. No, she liked to sleep by herself, perhaps avoiding the heat bodies have.
I returned from the vet crying and not believing my girl was never going to be waiting for me by the door. She was never going to be reprimanding me for not doing what she wanted. Never again was she going to run ahead of me, when I was going to throw her doll… cheating me, trying to get where the doll was going to land before I threw it. No longer will I see her excitement, her dancing with her little paws as I teased her with her doll. If you have never loved a dog and been loved by a dog, you have never loved at all.
When I got home, I washed my sheets and dressed my bed with those clean sheets. I went to bed that night and the only way I could fall asleep were with sleeping pills, I missed my girl’s snoring. The next morning, as I was doing my bed I found, on Nelita’s spot, her doll. I broke up crying, holding her doll. I put the doll back on her spot, and I believe that was a sign that she is fine, she is with me.
I didn’t know that when a dog drinks so much water and pees an ocean is a sign of kidney disease. If you notice that your dog is drinking water exaggeratedly take your dog to the vet and have them tested. I wish I had known; today Nelita would still be with me, but I, in my ignorance, thought it was good that she drank so much water. It turns out that when they drink this much water is because the kidney is not working, and the body needs the toxins to be flushed out of the body. After this experience, this will never happen to me again, and I need others to know, so their furry babies don’t go through what my beautiful girl went through. Nelita was a very gentle soul, didn’t deserve the ending she got…. Thankfully, it was short, and she only suffer a very brief period, but I wish she hadn’t suffered at all.
I had her cremated, and I am waiting for her ashes. My cousin gave me the money, I already instructed my son to put her ashes with mine when my time comes.
Love you my good girl, until we meet again.