I have struggled with this for about a year now, hoping that it could be avoided, but the time has come for me to face reality. My mother has had asthma for all of her life, although it was cats that had the worst effect on her. After her last round of pneumonia (her third in less than a year-and-a-half), she has been put on oxygen.
Paisley also has a host of breathing issues (having pneumonia at least three times in the last year-and-a-half, too). After Paisley suffered anaphylactic shock (peanut butter), some allergy testing was done. Two of the things to which she is most allergic are peanuts and dogs. For the longest time, I thought that if I cleaned the house really, really well before she came over, it would be enough. And it worked…for awhile. But lately, the time that she can spend at our house before having symptoms has become less and less. The last time she was here, it took less than an hour before her eyes were red and puffy and her breathing became wheezy. In an unrelated episode, her parents recently ended up rushing her to the ER because her breathing had totally shut down. If they had not already had a pharmacy/ER in their own kitchen to start treatment before they left, it would have been pretty bad.
I know that this is the right thing to do…I can’t ask my family to suffer so much just because I have this insane attachment to animals…but it is still one the hardest things I’ve ever had to do (and I’ve had to do some hard things). I console myself with the fact that rescue groups are the absolute best place to which a dog can go in a case like this. I am amazed at the work these groups do, and I will be donating funds to them for the rest of my life so that other dogs may go on to benefit from their services. The Basset Rescue Group helped Mandy and Jeromy find homes for Bacon and Turco a year ago, and we know that they went to wonderful homes, perfectly suited for each one.This week was spent taking the kids to the vet to make sure their shots were current and to have the blood work and what-not done – it’s important to me that I am not surrendering dogs with some hidden health issues. Both dogs came back with excellent bills of health (except that Molly needs to lose some weight, that big mama!), and I have heart-worm preventive to send with them. Today, we went shopping and got new beds, dishes, food, and chewies to send with them. New life, new stuff.
Toffee will turn 7 in just a few days; he was one of Cookie’s puppies, so I am not lying when I tell him, “I loved you before you were even born.” When Cookie was delivering them, that high-strung dog would just plop them out, then run around the house like a maniac until the next one delivered. It was up to Robert and me to clean them off, get their circulation going, and tie the cords off. She also didn’t have the milk, nor the patience, to nurse ten puppies, so we rotated them with bottle feeding and “mama” feeding until they were weaned. Toffee was a beautiful puppy:
And he is still my beautiful boy:
He is loyal and true. He used to sleep in Mom’s room before she got sick; his dog bed was on the floor at the end of her bed. Whenever I would open the door in the morning to let him out, he would not leave the room until he went to her bed to see if she was okay. “I’m okay, Top-Top,” Mom would say, and only then would he come trotting out. Every night when I go out to tuck Opal Chicken in for the night, he walks the path with me. He truly is a guardian.
And what can I say about Molly? I loved her the minute I saw her over the fence in the neighbor’s yard. She is the most care-free, easy-going creature I have ever known. Not exactly the brightest bulb in the string, mind you, but she delights in the simple things of life. She is sheer joy and I have loved our three years together:
Cookie will be staying because she is getting old now, and is not the most spry of girls. She spends a lot of time in our bedroom, just sleeping. She is also so obnoxious when she is awake that anyone else would beat her to death within the first week. And I’m pretty sure Robert would divorce me if he had to part with her. I’m hoping that reducing the dog hair and dander by 2/3 will be enough to make a difference. The rabbit will be living in our bedroom when the weather dictates and at night, while spending her days outside when it is nice, and I’m hoping that will allow her to stay. We’ll see how that goes. It’s just been a terrible year so far all the way around.
It is my prayer that my kids will find wonderful, loving "forever" homes. I wish that home was mine - but alas, it is not to be. I will never forget them, and I will love them forever.