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Subject: D. D. at the end
Date: Wed, 02 Jun 1999 22:48:48 -0400
I tried to call you back this evening, but every time I started to do so...to start to prepare to tell you of D.D. I just could not. I cannot believe that I still feel so strongly that I cry when I try to tell the story...cry when I remember the image. Part of those feelings frustrate me - only in the remaining inability to be able to express properly what I thought I saw. The other part of the feelings I understand as they are, true grieving of someone worthy.
Don't misunderstand, I've had many good days and thoughts since she left. It's only when I focus back on her do I lose it. But I do feel that I might be able to write the tale, now. With the writing, you're at least not subject to the auditory interruptions and I can slowly allow myself to more carefully remember.
I trust that you received my last email referring to her name.
The last message that you probably heard about D.D. before you left was that she was somehow better. That is what I was told again on Wed. May 12th. On Thursday the 13th, I called to check on her and the Vet told me that she was not eating as well, but that he thought she might be just going through a bad day. He felt that she might bounce back by the end of the week; after all, he had even said that we might take her home Saturday.
On Friday May 14th, early AM, I called the Vet. He wasn't there since he was required to screen cattle, sheep and pigs at an auction every Friday at Logansport. His front office person, Betty, answered the phone. She was sorry to tell me that D.D. had done much worse through the end of Thursday and the beginning of Friday. She said that D.D. no longer tried to get up, was not eating and was urinating on herself because she could no longer get up into the squat position. All that info hit me like a rock, even though I knew that she was old, arthritic and had been run over by the front and back wheels of a fully loaded truck. I thought, I guess, that I would at least get her home again.
I called your mother, who was covering at Brook, and told her. Though I wanted to leave early and do all that was necessary alone, she said that she wanted to go with me to see D.D. I waited for Janet to arrive from Brook, then we both left from Fowler to go to the Vet's at W. Lebanon (22 miles away). I sped down there, using the back roads. When we got there, Betty warned us that D.D. had not moved all day and that she might not respond. We went in the back where D.D. was lying in the middle of a large walk-in cage, with her face toward the wall. All three of us walked into the something like 9' by 12' room. I called her name and she startled and rocked her head up a little (still looking at the wall); I called again and she raised her left shoulder up off the pavement and turned toward your mother and I. Her hair was matted on that left side, and even though she had already lost weight in the last year due to ordinary aging, she was now extremely thin with little or no muscle. Yet, seeing us, she tried to stand and fell back. I said, "Let's see girl" and helped her up, but she could not stand and fell down onto her belly. We tried together several times, since she indicated that she certainly wanted to go with us. She tried very hard one last time, then rolled back on to that left side. I began crying. She again tried to raise herself up and looked at me as if she would help...me, if she could. Then she layed back down again. As we petted her, stroked her and brushed between her eyes, we could see the heavy labored breathing and slight blowing of her lips. ALL THE TIME HER VERY ALERT EYES CONTININUED TO SCAN THE SITUATION, JUST LIKE SHE HAD ALWAYS DONE. And I found myself wishing that she had been "the proverbial bad dog", or that "I just didn't know her". But no, here she was , stoic and dedicated to our needs, at the very end.
I detail all this so that you may know and not be cheated from somehow experiencing this portion of her life. In a sense, the scene was worse than even a Disney tear jerker.
We asked Betty to contact the Vet. We could not get him at the auction, but were able to talk to his wife and find out that he would not be back until late that night. I could not stand the thought that this would continue - we were all crying, including Betty. Betty said that she was only allowed to give an IM injection that acted slower than the IV that the Vet would give. We discussed it further; the IM sounded like a high dose potassium that would block muscle firing (ala CIA). After more pain, our emotional and D.D.'s physical, we told Betty to give the shot. Betty gave it just above that injured right shoulder. And then that horrible moment where you wish that you could take it back, yet still know it's the correct decision.?.? We held her and brushed her. And before the drug could hit, I whispered deep in her ear "go to Danny". She still knew and acknowledged his name. The light spasms (light because she was so weak) hit her and in 3 minutes her heart had stopped. Flying Dutchman's Dream was dead at 3:55:30 PM May 14, 1999.
Betty wrapped up D.D. and demanded to carry her out to the car. She cried and hugged us, saying that she had had to "put down" many unwanted, stray type animals, but never any like this - "one so loved". She waived us off from any office business, saying "Go. I can't do any more business this afternoon". We drove slowly home. There I picked her limp body up from the trunk and walked toward the east side of the house where the decorative trees cover Bingo's grave. Being a sort of agnostic, I wasn't quite sure who to thank, but I did look to the sky and repeat over and over a thanks for sending her my way. Her remains now lie beside those of Bingo's. And befitting her size only, she has a larger stone marker.