Haven’t updated the dog-blog here in a long time. I stopped blogging about Dolph’s health because his ailments were continuous. And quite simply, I’d rather have spent the time with Dolph walking, napping or just hanging out then describing his health struggles.
It is with the deepest sadness I am reporting Dolph’s passing. On Wednesday morning, April 24, Dolph died of congestive heart failure. He waited for me to wake late at night/ early in the morning so he could die with me. I like to think that’s what the shock and awe of Wed. morning was for. So Dolph could die in my presence and I’d be with him to the very last second.
I awoke at 3:30am and found that our boy was not sleeping at the foot of our bed, or on the floor beside me. I walked downstairs to find him and was overwhelmed by the stench of vomit. Walking into the kitchen, I saw that Dolph had thrown up quite a bit. I called for him and looked around the first floor but couldn’t find Dolph. Panic already set in for me.
I checked the backyard (we have a dog door) and called his name. Nothing. I returned to quickly clean the kitchen floor before doing a thorough search of our backyard. Maybe Dolph had fallen asleep or was hurt somewhere in our overgrown garden.
I opened the back door and there was my Dolph-man, panting like mad, visibly stricken with a mixture of terror and pain. I immediately took him inside, woke up Joel to tell him I was rushing Dolph to the hospital.
I carefully put Dolph in the front seat and drove about 6 minutes to the emergency. All the while, Dolph was laying on the front seat, head on the center armrest, gazing up at me with those big, sad, fearful eyes. We parked in front of the hospital and I went to the passenger’s door to pick up Dolph, a habit I’m accustomed to.
I picked up Dolph, placed him on the street, car door wide open. Dolph collapsed into the asphalt, all the form in his body giving up, becoming limp. I could not believe this was happening but had no time to think abstractly. I scooped up Dolph, ran him to the front door and rang the hospital door bell. As I ran with Dolph and stood at the door, Dolph’s head was hanging down across my right forearm. I noticed a mixture of blood and bile was escaping his mouth in semi-steady waves.
A vet assistant/nurse rushed to me and asked immediately if she could perform CPR, to which I said yes. This kind young woman, then let me know Dolph still had a slight pulse. Then, she rushed him to the back, behind closed doors.
The vet came out several minutes later to report that Dolph had been intubated, had lost all consciousness, and was being given oxygen. The doc also said Dolph had a tremendous amount of fluid in his lungs and said his prognosis was bad, really bad. Still, the vet went back to check on Dolph for a bit longer. The doctor returned once again to report that they had not been able to collect much of the fluid in his lungs. The only option left was to crack open Dolph’s chest and remove the fluid, by cutting him open. Even with this option, the vet said, the prognosis was poor and Dolph would likely die. The other option was to give him a shot and end it all. I choose this, to end the suffering. Though Dolph wasn’t conscious at this stage, I couldn’t bear to think of his body struggling as it had been.
Following the shot, the vet workers cleaned Dolph up a bit and brought him into a visiting room for me to say a final goodbye. I walked in and saw my boy on the table, stiff as could be. His eyes wide open, mouth slightly ajar. I stroked his neck and back. Then I removed his pink and gray argyle collar and broke down into tears. I cried uncontrollably with Dolph for several minutes.
As Joel pointed out, this is a real fucking tear-jerker. I don’t really know how Dolph and I found each other. Some stranger on Craigslist might be to thank, but I am so grateful for the past eleven months. In nearly a year, I have learned more about love and will from this dog than most humans learn in a lifetime. I am fortunate to have been able to take care of Dolph in his time of need and am thankful for his ability to let me care for him.
Dolph, I miss you terribly; you are terribly missing. Wherever you might be, I take comfort in knowing you’re pain-free and if my instinct serves me well, you’re doing the Dolph-dance like you’ve never done before.