A Good Life

It is with the heaviest heart that I tell you that Matilda is gone. Last night, I had to make the most difficult decision that I’ve ever had to make. Even though I know it was the right thing to do, I am constantly second guessing myself.

Matilda had Addison’s Disease. It’s a disorder where your adrenal glands don’t produce enough hormones. As a result, she was on daily steroids and a monthly injection. Matilda would go through periods where she wouldn’t eat, but by day three or four, she would magically bounce back and start eating. She would also experience bouts of diarrhea. In the last five years or so, this was common for her and I never worried about it.

This past week, Tildy experienced one of her periods of not eating. On Monday, she finally decided to chow down on some chicken nuggets. I was so happy to see her eating that I gave her most of my nuggets. Later that night, she started throwing up. She threw up no less than eight times. After each time, she would lap up lots of water, and then shortly after would throw up again. It was awful.

When I came home from work yesterday, she had been through my laundry and I found her in a room that she had recently started to frequent. When I picked her up, she felt light. Not the first time we had experienced this, so I wasn’t worried. She was scheduled to get her monthly shot on Wednesday and I was sure that after she received it, she would be fine.

We went out for a walk and she was very, very slow and lethargic. Slower that she’d ever been. I still wasn’t worried. It made sense. Of course she would be slow. She was hungry and dehydrated. But then when she got into the kangaroo stance, nothing by thick dark blood came out. 

When we got back to the house, she was shaky and there was something in her eyes that told me to call the vet. We rushed up the road and got there around 6:30. The came to my car to get her almost immediately. The COVID normal is that they come get your dog and then the doctor calls you to talk about what needs to be done. When the doctor came to my car, I should’ve known there was something terribly wrong.

She said that Tildy’s temperature was low, something we had never experienced. She said that Tildy was experiencing an Addisonian episode, but there was something else going on. She thought it involved her pancreas, but couldn’t be sure without tests. She asked me what I wanted to do and she said it just like that. It was her tone and her look that let me know what she meant. She went on to remind me that Matilda was 19 and a half years old and said that she came out to talk to me because she thought we needed to have The Talk.

Tildy has given me many scares over the years. A friend of mine joked that she had more lives than a cat. I’ve prepared of this moment at least six times, but when the moment actually came, I was blindsided. She had bounced back so many times before, that I thought this was more of the same. Even with the blood, my brain didn’t go there. I was talking to my sister on my way to the vet and she asked me the What If question, and I kind of shrugged it off. I wasn’t expecting it. I just wasn’t ready.

I told the vet that Tildy and I had almost 14 years together and that it was time. I said it so matter-of-factly. I didn’t waiver. I didn’t shake. I walked into the building and they put me in a special room. They brought me my Tildy Girl and I loved on her for awhile and the tears started flowing. They explained the process to me and through the tears, I signed the paper work. They sedated her and while I waited for her to fall asleep, I loved on her some more. I told her how much I loved her and that everything was going to be okay. I told her how much she has meant to me and all of the things she added to my life. I told her it was okay to leave me now. The vet came back in to give her the final medicine. She had difficulty finding a vein because Tildy was so dehydrated. They were only able to administer a little bit of the fluid and had to look for another vein. Before the assistant could return to the room with a second needle, Tildy was gone.

I wasn’t ready.

When I got home and saw all of her things, I began to wail. Sounds came out of me that I had never heard before. I couldn’t make myself walk into the bedroom because that’s where she was supposed to be. Oh, Lord the gut wrenching wailing. I thought it would never end. I finally cried myself to sleep.

Matilda was my first dog. I had no idea when I adopted her in 2007 what I was getting myself into. Escape artist. Picky eater. Early incontinence. Addison’s Disease. A love so deep, that I could have never imagined.

She got me through many a rough, dark, and lonely time. She saved me. She kept me moving. She was my boss. She was my partner. She was my constant. She was my Tildy Poo, Tildy Girl, Poo Girl. All she asked was constant and unwavering love and attention. She never had to ask. I belonged to her.

My Matilda is gone.

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