No matter how much you prepare yourself for a pet to pass away, it hurts. Jack was our little ball of energy, goofball, quirky, happy boxer dog. He was our first taste of having true responsibility for someone besides ourselves. In December he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy which is fatal. His heart enlarges and there comes a point where his body can't keep up. We felt like we had finally gotten on the right cocktail of drugs but late last week he had periods of time where the lights were off. He started passing out and we had to shove his pills down his throat. He would lay down to rest and it would seem like he had a shiver every time he breathed. Things weren't working right. We were confused and sad because he had really good times throughout the days: feisty, happy to see us and play, good appetite. Ultimately, after a rough Friday night and good counsel from our vet, we decided Monday was the day. Jack had other plans because he passed out first thing on Saturday morning and we realized, if we waited for Monday, it would be for us. He was ready.
We had the best day. Mark cooked up pasta with butter and cheese which he inhaled. Him and I napped on my bed for an hour. I cuddle him as the "shivers" seemed stronger than ever. He ran around the backyard with Sophie and drank from this hole that has been created by the not-yet-built house next us draining a pool of water. We normally yell at him because he drinks until he pukes but, man, he drank/puked forever. Happiness for him!! Mark and I took him in mid-afternoon and stroked his head and told him he was a good boy and to enjoy running on those streets of gold. His passing was peaceful.
Declan is doing fine. He doesn't totally understand. He talks a lot about Jack being in heaven watching down over us. He also talks about taking a quick visit to heaven to say "hi" since he misses him. Tonight he prayed "dear God, thank you that Jack is dead so he can play in heaven." So, yeah, we have a ways to go with understanding what happened.
Sophie on the other hand is really sad. She misses her leader, her buddy. She is such a follower and we realized we didn't even know how to tell when she needs to use the bathroom because she just went when Jack indicated he needed to go. She is the opposite: quiet, easy. She is also older than Jack was and it seems like her age is catching up with her. Because of that and the heartbreak of going downstairs where both kennels were housed, we moved her kennel up to the nursery. Hey, no baby in there anyways! Ha! (Any day God, any day...) She now sleeps in our room too. Jack would have ripped the house apart so they were always kenneled at night. But, she sleeps quietly in the corner in her new dog bed and doesn't make a peep.
So our new normal is going to take some adjusting. We are still heartsick. The world feels a little gray right now but we know each day will get easier. The pain of losing a pet is so deep. But I'll take that pain because Jack was such a light in our lives for almost 8 years. He'll be missed but we'll see him again someday. Dogs DO go to heaven, don't ya know?!