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Monday, February 14, 2005




On this day that many people find overrated and commercial, I admit that I find myself concentrating on hearts. Not hearts filled with those fluffy, fluttery feelings of love and desire. But the hearts of my family as they ache for the health of our family pet.

Yes, we thought the worse was over. We thought on Wednesday when I brought her home from the hospital she would be fine. But she's not. In fact, she's far from it. I took her back to the vet on Friday morning...after she didn't budge from her spot on the couch for over 24 hours. Not to eat. Not to drink. Not to pee. They kept her for two more days and nights. They did ultrasounds, more x-rays, more blood tests, another culture. Still, no answers, although they said they were "concerned" about a spot on her pancreas after all and maybe some "fuzzy spots" in her lungs. The "C" word came up. The doctors apologized but told us they'd exhausted all their efforts without cutting her open. They just don't know. They let us bring her home while they waited for one more culture to come back. She'd be more comfortable at home with her family they said.

She seems a little better with the antibiotics they've been injecting her with, but the fever won't go away. Her little shaved tummy is still swollen. We make her comfy on her favorite chair. When we bring the water to her, she'll drink. When we handfeed her, she'll take it. But she doesn't lift her head much. We asked if she was in pain, but they told us she wasn't. How far do you go? When do you ask the question about quality of life? Just a week ago, she was barking and chasing birds in the yard. Just a week ago, she was fetching tennis balls. Just a week ago, her eyes danced when one of us walked into the room and there was the unmistakable joy of a madly wagging tail. Now there's quiet concern. My kids look at me with tears welling in their eyes and all I can do is tell them I know. I understand. I want to make it all better; kiss it and make the boo-boo go away. But no kiss can cure this. No hugs make the tears go away.

I knew I'd have to deal with this sometime. I just thought that it wouldn't be happening until 7 or 8 more years from now, when the kids were all gone and on their own. I thought she'd grow old with us and we'd see her through her golden years. Charlie always says that Shanny will be our last pet. That after she's gone, we'll be enjoying our time together as a couple again and not have to worry about pet-sitters and such. I just don't think he thought it would be so soon, and I always jokingly retorted that he was mistaken. I'll always want a pet in my life. Now, I'm rethinking that. I don't know if my heart can handle this again. It's just too painful feeling helpless. It hurts knowing she's sick but not knowing why. It's just not fair.


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