Daisy... my sweet, kind, girl... my companion of thirteen years... died on Tuesday.
I said it. I wrote the words.
I can barely process them, but there they are.
She'd been slowly declining, having bad days followed by weeks of good, then a spell of bad. We did blood tests and x-rays and gave her pills for pain... but the blood test results were fine, and the vet couldn't determine exactly what was wrong.
And then, Sunday night, she started throwing up and was lethargic. My dogsitter called me in Canada, asking if he should take her to the emergency vet. I said it was okay to wait until the next morning and take her to her regular vet-- since she had gone through exactly the same thing a few weeks ago, and recovered well, and her regular vet had all her records and knew her better.
My only comfort is that I don't think a different decision in that moment would have changed anything.
So Monday morning, my dogsitter (who is a loving and wonderful guy) took her to her vet, who did x-rays and more blood tests. Only, this time, the blood test results were alarming. When the results came back Monday afternoon, Daisy was nearing kidney failure and her liver values were high. X-rays showed her heart was possibly enlarged. The vet stabilized her and she stayed all day and overnight for observation and more tests while I tried to figure out if or when I should fly home. The vet said her prognosis "wasn't great," but didn't know exactly what that meant. Did she mean a week? A month? I knew I was coming home on Saturday, so coming home for a day or two didn't make sense-- if I was leaving Canada, I wouldn't be going back.
I decided to wait to make a decision until I knew what we were dealing with. Words like cancer were getting floated around, and cancer makes me think of slow declines and treatments and making the brutally hard decision about when to euthanize.
Not in Daisy's case.
The next morning, she was doing worse, and the vet transfered her to an emergency care facility. They did an ultrasound, which showed that she had fluid around her heart. I gave them permission to do a pericardial tap to remove the fluid, and she stabilized.
For the first time, I breathed a sigh of relief. She was stable. Soon we were going to know what was wrong. I could make a decision about staying or going.
And then-- in the middle of the ultrasound that finally revealed a large growth in her heart-- the fluid around her heart built back up very quickly, and she arrested. The doctor called and I could hear them doing CPR in the background. They'd been doing it for several minutes, and Daisy was unresponsive. I told them to stop.
Of course, I was on set. Not the best place to completely lose it. But WP and our wonderful assistants hustled me out the back door to a waiting van, and I spent the rest of the day in my hotel room alternating between crying and crying myself to sleep.
I want to write about all the wonderful things about Daisy. About how her head smelled like rosemary. About the sheer joy of watching her run. About her kindness and boundless energy. About how she would look at me with concern everytime I got overly enthusiastic watching a hockey game. About how every time a new dog came into our lives (and over the years there have been several, permanent and foster) she'd look at me as if to say, "Seriously?"
But I just can't yet.
Thirteen years... and I wasn't with her when she died.
I came home to a house that feels empty.
Moose, huge as he is, can't fill the space that held Daisy.
I know my house will soon fill up again... with a baby and the accompanying joy and chaos.
But it breaks my heart that this baby in my belly will never know my first, sweet girl.
That's what happened.
I promise that tomorrow I will be less maudlin.
There are so many good, happy things going on right now. And I haven't forgotten about them. I don't appreciate them any less.
I just wish Daisy was here, cuddled up beside me on the couch.