Those of you who follow Facebook will know that, Tsuki, my Great Pyrenees, my big, white, snuggly polar bear of a dog, has left this world for another, hopefully more peaceful, one.
That’s her in the picture above. She’s sitting with our new puppy, Bodhi (pronounced BO-dee) who has since managed to destroy that stuffed Koala, along with every other stuffed animal I gave him to play with since he came to live with us at the tender age of 8 weeks old.
I Can’t Be Alone
That’s why I bought Bohdi when Tsuki got her cancer diagnosis. The thought of being in this empty house alone all day while John works until 6 or 7 o’clock every night is terrifying. I thought having a new puppy around would keep me busy and keep my mind off of things after Tsuki passed away.
I was only half right.
Tsuki’s passing hit me harder than my own mother’s death. Now before you get all judgemental up in here, let me tell you that my mother’s passing was a blessing.
She’d had two strokes in two years and it ate the life right out of her, especially when she had to move out of my sister, Elizabeth’s home and into a full-time nursing home. She couldn’t walk, could barely swallow, and had trouble expressing herself in a coherent manner.
In other words, it took her almost three years of dying before the third stroke finished her off. She was ready to go long before she actually breathed her last. I love you, mom.
I wasn’t there when mom died. I was on a plane to get to there, but stubborn as always, she waited until nobody else was in the room with her to finally let go and meet God.
Even so, with mom, we knew it was coming for a long time and had all mentally prepared ourselves for her passing.
When we got Tsuki’s diagnosis, we were told we had weeks to months before the pain of her cancer would make her quality of life unbearable. Her oncologist gave her 2-4 months to live.
Put Another Burger On The Fire For The Dog
Treatment wasn’t an option. She was too far gone. The best I could do was give her pain meds every day to make her more comfortable, and make sure she was happy every day.
And that she was.
I gave her human food every night for dinner, and she had all the snacks she could eat, barked at every truck that drove by without being told to “hush,” and I sang to her at all hours of the day. She slept when and where she wanted – well, when Bodhi wasn’t trying to play fight with her – and she got hugged and petted until I think she thought we’d lost our minds.
Her breed is aloof by nature and doesn’t need constant attention, unlike Bodhi. He’s an Australian Shepherd. He’s very, very, very energetic. As a matter of fact, I’m kinda wondering why he’s not in my lap right now, licking every inch of my face. Or bringing me a toy so we can play tug-of-war and then fetch for hours. He wakes up a 6 a.m. every morning – bright eyed and ready to play.
I Am Not A Morning Person
So I think I’ve trained him to cool his jets until around 9:00 a.m. Forcefully.
Here’s how it goes in the wee morning hours. I let him out of his crate to go outside and do his business. Then I let him back in, crawl onto the couch and go back to sleep.
He’s tried bringing me toys, licking all my night cream off my face, and trampling all over my inert body. So, smart boy that he is, he now naps until 9 when I finally drag myself up into a seated position to start bringing the toys over. It’s 8:19 a.m. right now. That gives me roughly 45 more minutes to type.
Everybody Warned Me
“An Australian Shepherd is going to be too high energy for you,” they said.
But did I listen? No I did not.
Now I’ve got a torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder, am too fat to be anything but unwieldy when I’m getting up from my morning nap, and can only really use the right arm to throw and play tug-of-war with when I do manage to get up off the couch.
Is this Bodhi’s fault? I don’t know, but my left arm was working just fine until the moment his breeder thrust this wriggling ball of teeth and claws into my arms on June 28th a couple months back.
Now I’m looking at surgery to repair the arm because all attempts at physical therapy have resulted in nothing but the Doctor’s office being $100 a week richer.
Two days of PT a week cost me $50 a visit in copays. God only knows what the surgery copay will be.
Does this sound right to you? We pay a premium every month to have the insurance, then are forced to pay exorbitant copays and deductibles out of pocket when we really do need the insurance. Pffft.
Speaking Of Doctors
I don’t know if you remember how I got into a kerfuffle a few blog posts ago over a supposed med change I had to undergo because a Doctor told me nobody was going to do anything to keep mine for me? Yeah. He was WRONG! I found a Doctor who kept my meds mostly the same. He did lower my Adderall dose by half and took away one of my Valium, but I can live with that. I’m just not as super productive for longer than a week, like I used to be around pharmacy day times.
Yesterday was pharmacy day. Thus, the burst of energy I got to write this post and why I was up all night last night buying dog toys and keratin hair fibers, plus the atomizer to put said hair fibers on my bald spots, off of Amazon. PLUS, I got a “subscribe and save” thing going.
It seemed vastly important last night that I do all this AND buy baby clothes for my new Grandson, Emmerson Lawrence Masters, along with an outfit each for Nehemia and Eliza because God forbid they feel left out – that’s just bad grandparenting.
Yep. Granny was spending money again last night.
John’s going to put me on another moratorium because I also keep saying I’m going to buy another Great Pyrenees puppy from this reputable breeder in Maryland we looked at when we got Tsuki.
How Do I Live Without You (Tsuki)?
Her prices ain’t cheap. Let’s just say if you start at 2K, you’re in the ballpark – the pee wee leagues. I’m actually afraid to call her and ask how much a puppy is going for right now.
We paid $800 11 1/2 years ago for Tsuki from a breeder in Mebane, NC, but she had a championship bloodline. Now, this breeder in Maryland breeds champions as a matter of course. Her kennels are known for them.
But, I don’t need a champion. I just want my Tsuki back. Another puppy won’t fill this hole.
That song “How do I live without you, I want to know. How do I breathe without you cuz I love you so? How will I ever, ever survive? Oh how do I, how do I live?” Kept running through my head when we finally made the decision and set the date for Tsuki to be put to sleep. I sang it to her a lot in that last week, through bitter tears, sometimes seething with anger that cancer was taking my sweet girl away from me before her time.
Other times she’d pad into the bathroom with me and I’d shout out “hi beauty!” Then, I’d sing “beautiful girls from all over the world, I could be chasing, but my time I’d be wasting, cuz they got nothing on you, baby, nothing on you, baby.”
But, inevitably, she reached the point where she could no longer go up and down the stairs because her left leg was swollen to twice the size of her other legs, and she just didn’t have the strength anymore in her back legs to navigate stairs. There were other issues, too, but you don’t want to know.
Dignified, Proud And Slightly Aloof To The Very End
We called a Hospice Veterinary Service called “Lap of Love,” to come to the house to do the procedure. The vet was gentle and respectful of her and us. Tsuki was overjoyed to have a stranger in the house, she loved strangers. He explained in detail what was going to happen, and said he was going to give her two shots. Tsuki got on her bed and surveyed her kingdom, dignified, proud and slightly aloof, even with this stranger in the house and me crying hysterically in front of her as I stroked her silky ears and told her how much we loved her, over and over again.
The first shot was in the back and was done to make her super relaxed and feeling really good. From there she would fall into a deep slumber, which she did, with me caressing her and talking to her the whole time. He didn’t give her the euthanasia shot until she was deeply asleep and unaware of anything going on around her. So basically, she just went into a relaxed sleep knowing she was loved, and never woke up.
I’m proud to say that I fed her an entire bag of her favorite jerky treats as she lay on the floor before the vet came. She’d lift her head, eat the treat, then lay her head back down again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
At the point when the vet said “she’s passed,” I was aware of John rubbing my arm and thought he was just trying to comfort me. I turned around, and to my surprise, my big, stoic, show-no-emotion-husband was bawling his eyes out.
“This really sucks,” he whispered to me after Tsuki was taken from the house.
“I know,” I replied. Then we both cried together.
I’ll Remember The Good Times
Tsuki was a runner, and when she got away from you outside she ran. She was no “come when called” dog when she had made one of her famous escapes from one of the two yards we had her in in NC. It got to a point where neighborhood people I’d never met before were bringing her home cuz they knew where she lived.
I finally figured out that if you just let her run herself out, oh say, two hours or so, she’d come home on her own. But you couldn’t approach her unless you were a stranger, because she’d run off again. I spent many a night with the front door wide open, standing back from it, and saying “come on Tsuki, come on in my good girl!” Then, she’d fly into the house, muddy, drooly, and completely exhausted, but oh so happy.
When we moved to FL, the fence was impenetrable, and I was glad because I didn’t think we’d ever find her in our neighborhood where all the streets and houses looked the same. She’d get lost if she ever got out.
Well don’t you know she shot past me as I opened up the door for the UPS driver, and she was off like a lightning bolt. I searched for her for almost two hours, limply holding her collar and leash in front of me as I walked in case a car stopped and asked if I’d lost a dog cuz they’d just seen one running around one of the developments.
And Glory Be To God that’s exactly what happened! An angel of a woman, who didn’t know me from Adam, put me in her car in the backseat with her baby and drove to where she’d seen Tsuki last. Then she rolled down her window and asked people walking various streets if they’d seen a big, white dog. And every person had seen Tsuki and pointed the way she last went.
We finally found her terrorizing a woman and her daughter who were taking groceries into their home. Picture it: huge white dog, drooling and foaming at the mouth sniffing around your groceries. They had no way of knowing what a gentle soul Tsuki was.
My angel of mercy took the collar and leash and hooked Tsuki up. She’d run if she saw me, remember? Then we had to cram Tsuki into a small backseat, where she sat on me and drooled all over the baby as I desperately tried to catch said drool.
Then my angel drove me all the way back home – Tsuki would never have found her way back, she was that far away from home – and when I tried to give her some money to clean her car out, she wouldn’t take it. She just told me to pay it forward.
And I shall.
There are still good people in this world willing to help a stranger. Pay it forward, people.
Take good care of yourselves. You are worth it.
Now I have to go take care of Bodhi, he’s been awfully patient, but he’s whining now. So off I go to continue raising my next baby, a boy this time.
Remember Tsuki sometime today. She was patient, kind, loyal, loving, regal and beautiful. And when you picture her, picture her running, and running, joyfully free.
She is free.
Goodbye my sweet love, my beautiful baby girl. I love you from your head to your tail, and all the spaces in between. I love you viciously, I love you ferociously, I love you endlessly.
And I always will.