It wasn't that long ago that I sat in front of this very computer posting this note on Facebook about the loss of our boxer, Nikki. What a truly sad day that was for our family. Many tears were shed, memories shared, and hugs given.
Just a few weeks later, I found myself writing this note on Facebook to share the arrival of our new lab, Callie. It was a bitter sweet day. Though we shared great joy in the arrival of Callie, it was still in the back of our minds that we had lost our sweet Nikki and had it not been for that loss, we wouldn't have even been getting another dog.
Today I struggle as I sit here again, with tears streaming down my face. Less than 10 full months after her arrival to our family, our home is once again left with a very important piece of the family missing. It is with a very heavy heart that I regret to inform my friends that we have lost our dear, sweet Callie.
Last night before bed, we noticed that she was struggling to get up the stairs. Normally energetic and full of life, this was extremely out of character for her. We called her over to us and closely examined her body and noticed a very red bulge in her belly. She wasn't whining, crying, or barking...so we regretfully waited until this morning to take her to the vet. I did give her 2 benedryls to help her sleep. If only I had known what pain she was in....
Randy took her to the vet first thing this morning where they performed xrays on her and determined that she had been hit by a car. She's a frequent fence-jumper and has little regard for cars...so sadly, this was not shocking news. The vet advised that he would need to perform surgery as she had a hole in her abdomen and her bladder had fallen through the hole. He advised that there could be more damage, but he wouldn't know until he got into the surgery...but he knew he needed to move quickly.
Randy called me at work to let me know that Callie would need to stay at the vet until at least Monday to recover as the surgery was going to be very invasive. Clearly, I was concerned...but for whatever reason, I had no doubt that she would come out fine. She's a young, healthy pup and not even one fiber of my being thought for a moment that she wouldn't be okay. Afterall, she had been walking around since she was hit yesterday - she even walked herself home after it happened. And though we could see that she was struggling to get around, she never "told" us that she wasn't okay. I was 100% confident that she would return to us on Monday and our lives would go on as normal, minus another hefty vet bill.
Around 11:30 am, my work phone rang with an unfamiliar number on the caller ID. I answered and was greeted by a voice that sounded shaken and apologetic. It was our vet. He said there was a hole in Callie's abdominal wall and her bladder and intestines had fallen through. He said generally, he would take tissue from elsewhere to repair the hole, but her muscles were so torn up that there was no other tissue for him to use. He also said that her leg was so damaged that even if he was able to repair her abdomen, she would have lost her leg. I couldn't even wrap my head around this. If her leg was that badly damaged, how was she even able to walk??
I sat there, stunned, with tears pouring uncontrollably down my cheeks. I asked him what our options were, as I choked back tears. He quietly stated that there were no other options...other than to euthanize. I choked out the words "Can I come be with her before you let her go?" He said that I would need to hurry because even under anesthesia, he was unsure how much longer he could keep her alive. He said he had her clamped up and if he removed the clamp, she would bleed out.
Frazzled, I quickly shut down my computer and tried to gather my things, while sobbing hysterically. I gal a row away from me heard me crying and came over to ask if I was okay and if I needed anything. In a daze, I raced to my car. I cried the entire way down the elevator and to my car and I'm sure I made several people that passed me quite uncomfortable. Once in my car, I lost it completely. I called Randy and told him they couldn't save Callie. I could barely keep it together and knew I needed to stay calm while I drove, so I called Charren too. Somehow, by the grace of God, Charren just happened to be almost to the Broadway Bridge just as I was about to get on the Broadway Bridge and she kindly asked if I would like for her to go with me. Thank you, God, for looking over me and making sure that Charren was just where I needed her at that exact moment!
I drove as quickly as I could to the vet's office and ended up stuck behind the most ridiculously long line of backed-up traffic ever! I sobbed uncontrollably, thinking I would never make it in time to say goodbye to Callie. I feared I would walk in just moments too late. Nearly 40 minutes had passed by the time I got there and the vet had told me he wasn't sure if he could even keep her alive for 20. I bolted through the doors with red eyes and a swollen face and didn't have to say a word - they immediately took me back to Callie and handed me a box of tissues.
I spent the next 10 minutes hugging, kissing, and petting my baby girl, with tears and sobs escaping me the entire time. My heart just aches because we didn't realize the extent of her injuries. We knew something was wrong last night...she must have been hit and then walked home. She limped around, but didn't whine or bark or tell us she was in pain. We noticed some swelling and just gave her some benedryl to help her sleep so we could take her in today. :( The vet said that even if we had taken her in yesterday, it wouldn't have saved her...but I just hate that she had to suffer that long. If we would have taken her sooner, we could have ended her suffering...
The vet offered his condolences over and over and it was clear that he was having a hard time with the loss as well. The lady from the front desk told us he was taking it very hard, and it was clear to see the pain in his eyes.
The hardest part is yet to come. Rylie will be home from school in just a few minutes and I dread breaking the news to her. Then we will all head over to Randy's grandparents' house to bury Callie next to Nikki and Max.
Nothing can ever really prepare one for any type of loss. Being through it already doesn't make the next time any easier. Today's loss was completely unexpected. Nothing could have prepared me for this. I left for work this morning knowing she was hurt, but truly thinking that everything would be fine. Each time I finally get myself under control, I start to cry again. Our family feels incomplete and I just keep hugging Cooper, knowing that once he realizes Callie isn't coming back, he's going to have a really tough time.
We will all miss our little Cal Bell very dearly. If you have pets, please make sure to give them some extra love today...and every day. You never know if that day will be their last...