The day we lost our puppy Continued…

The guilt sets in, as so do the “what if’s”

I spent the next two weeks running over what had happened in my head. The long laundry list of possibilities of what went wrong, I needed some shred of explanation to help me cope. I looked back at Sunday and analyzed every minute, figuring out where the mistake was made, and what could have been done.

That whole day seems insignificant at best. Sarah and I were fighting that day, the stress of all of our running around was materializing in words. We did a ton of errands, went out to lunch and didn’t even get home to see Kellogg until nearly 2:30.

When we got home, we let him out, and he pooped twice. I wasn’t actually there when he was out, I had said hello and went about the things I wanted to do trying to work off my own stupid frustration.

It wasn’t even a half hour later when Sarah came into the office and told me she let him out and he pooped again, twice actually. So in the span of an hour he had pooped four times. We knew this was not normal.

The day was cold, and he came inside like he usually did after doing his business, shivering and a little out of it. Usually we cuddled up with him and after about 15 minutes, he was warm and out to exploring some unseen part of our house to cause mischief. But I came upstairs after his last trip outside and sat with him for awhile, the shivering didn’t go away. We started to worry more. He didn’t eat lunch, and we thought it very strange he had to go potty that much for having not really eaten anything. Sarah called Banfield just before 3, and they were about the close up shop for the day. They gave us the number of an emergency hospital on the West side of the city if we needed it later on.

Not moments later Jeff and Sarah Styf called. The were down the road at the “Y”, and Sarah really wanted to meet Kellogg because she also is a big fan of puppies. They arrived to say hello, but his shivering and asthmatic breathing continued. He just seemed sluggish, tired, and weak. He would stumble around, not barely able to stand up before he would have to lean against something. He got really cuddly with Jeff, leaning right up against him and then came over to me, climbed up over my shoulder, whimpered a little and laid down.

I cry thinking about this, we were so stupid, it’s like, could it have been more obvious that he was in pain? Sarah was doing he same thing I was, trying to find answers through searching the past. She says that he was in the kitchen at one point and whimpered for water, but she didn’t give him any because when she called Banfield based on what we told them, they suggested to refuse him from water and food to not upset him more. Sarah cried thinking about this simple act, knowing that when puppies die from parvovirus it is mostly because of extreme dehydration.

At about 8 pm, after he had done a lot more sleeping, we finally called emergency and asked about his general conditions. They said the shivering is usually as sign that the dog is in dire pain. They told us to take his temperature rectally and told us what the normal temperatures would be for a puppy of his age. I winced at that, because if he really was in pain I didn’t want to make him ever more uncomfortable. How stupid was I to think, “This is just a day that he doesn’t feel good and tomorrow will be a new one. Tomorrow he’ll be fine. I really don’t want to have to drive all the way over to the West side of the city, pay some huge fee at an emergency hospital to only find out that everything was alright. If we take his temperature, we don’t have two thermometers, we would need to go out and get another one.” Who thinks like this? Not a good parent. When I started to remember these thoughts the next day my self loathing consumed me. My thought were of convenience not of love, and what had it cost me?

So we did nothing really and It got to be late. Sarah was heading off to bed, and had been holding him as he slept. All night he had been sleeping in some really funny positions and we took photos thinking it was cute. Tongue out, upside down on the bean bag, on his back with his feet out, all unusual for him.

I wanted to stay up with him and hold him as I watched some tv. He just lay there, he didn’t shift at all, and when I went to change the way I was laying he just lay there with an unusual weight. He didn’t fuss at all or wake when I moved, which was weird even for him. He just lay there, his breathing difficult as I stroked him, looking up at me with those loving, confused eyes. After awhile his eyes would roll back into his head and be completely white. It was freaky and concerning, and it happened twice. I would then rub him more and talk to him to make sure he was ok. Yet again I told myself, “He’ll be better tomorrow.” That thought, and the look in his eyes is seared into my memory. He just looked at me lovingly, but also as if to say, “Save me. I don’t know how much longer I can make it.”

I put him to bed with Sarah just after 11, and came to bed about 12:30. He was in his bed, breathing heavy still, but seemed to be sleeping. Twice in 15 minutes I got back out of bed to check on him. I could hear him breathing, and I heard a little whimper, but my mind rationalized again, he is just dreaming again in his sleep and making those noises.

Before I even climbed in, I prayed for him. “God, just let him make it through the night.” I had every intention of taking him to the doctor in the morning before work at Banfield to check him out, but he never made it that far. It was only two short hours later that Sarah got up to take him out and she found him, not breathing.

Looking back, I have tried to analyze things to death. I am human, I need answers. It is the only way to get some sort of closure, and I need closure. I need blame. I think I am the only one to blame for this, certainly not the doctors and not Sarah. As the man of the house, I needed to do whatever was necessary, no matter the cost, to save my dog. I thought it would be alright. Everyone tells me, that with the knowledge we had, it wasn’t up to us, it wasn’t our fault. But my mind isn’t accepting that. People also tell us that he must have been very sick, and that this was meant to happen. I don’t want to accept that right now either, I can’t. This is what I remember, and this is what I believe. I believe his lungs were filling up with something. If he had parvo, and he was dehydrated to dangerous levels, I don’t know how that could have been, but he vomited in the morning. He was vomiting to breath, he couldn’t breath. I don’t believe his convulsions killed him, I believe he drowned in his vomit and couldn’t get air. He caught that little bit before we got in the car, but that was too late. Sarah tried to pump his heart, if I could go back, I would have pushed harder, to the point it may have damaged him. If I could go back, I would do a ton of things. I may not have gotten our puppy in the winter, knowing that he was cremated in a group of dogs almost killed us at the emergency room. To have to make that decision where he was just alive only 10 minutes before.

This is not me forgetting, and this is not me moving on. The cliche goes, “I will never forget you”, and your life ended truly too soon.

We love you Kellogg.

The pain I feel is a lack of life within me. When I come home and see your empty crate, I don’t cry. It seems a little soon to have moved on, but we have to get back to our daily routines because our future relies on it. But this is not the pain. I feel empty because I have thoughts about whether you really existed. The snow thickened our memories as it blanketed the ground of your life. Our lives so quickly sprang back to how they were that already my memories have started to fade.

Kellogg, know that we’re sorry for so many things, a list that feels too long to list here. But the first is that we have to leave you.

You were a winter puppy, and we couldn’t take your five minutes ago warm body back with us. It didn’t matter anyway, we wouldn’t have buried you in the frozen ground, so once again we’re sorry we had to leave you. We love you, we have to leave you. We’re sorry, can’t you see our tears. We don’t want to leave, please still love us.


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