Sorry for the lack of posts. I was on vacation in Hawaii, and I had one blog post planned for while I was there (my favs from Boem, you can see HERE). I planned to be back to regularly scheduled programming last week, but if you follow me on Instagram I’m sure you saw that we had a scare with my dog of 15 years, Marley. I ended up flying home early from Hawaii and cancelling a work trip to Atlanta because of it, so mentally I was just not in a place to be creative or even think about the blog. I barely had the energy for work at the store. I was horribly jet lagged when I came home, which I’m sure was partly due to the emotional drain of the whole situation. If you’re a dog owner, I know you get it. I love Marley like she’s part of the family, and the thought of losing her literally crushes me. Yet she is 15 and her health has been declining over the past year (you may have read about it HERE), so I know it’s part of our near future. I actually thought it was going to be last week, but Marley is doing SO much better!
Here’s what happened…
Lance and I decided when we took a trip in March that it would be our last time leaving Marley. We both travel for work, but the plan was to not travel together again as long as Marley is still with us. It’s stressful on her when we leave, and with her ‘nursing care’ she’s pretty high maintenance to take care of, so it’s a lot to leave on someone. When we decided this, I asked Lance if I could go see my friend who moved to Hawaii. Begrudgingly he said I could (I told him it’s unfortunate he doesn’t have a friend who lives in Hawaii LOL), so I planned the trip. Marley had been doing about the same. Not getting any better, but not getting too much worse. Until the morning I was leaving. I came downstairs to let her out and she had knocked the gate down (we gate her in the mudroom at night), and had fallen on the hardwoods and peed. She can’t get up from the hardwoods, so she was just laying there in a puddle. Cue the tears. It was AWFUL. It has happened once before, but it was a while ago. So I helped her up and took her out and cleaned her up, but she was WOBBLY. Lance assured me everything would be OK, so a few hours later off I flew to Hawaii. This was on Friday. She did OK over the weekend. But Monday Lance called me and said he was taking her to the vet: same scenario, she had fallen again and peed and couldn’t get up. At this point she could barely walk. I literally hung up the phone and felt TERRIBLE. Marley is my dog…I had her before Lance and I started dating, so I felt awful not being there. The vet said that at this point, the whole goal is to keep her as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. She upped a medication that Marley currently takes, and prescribed another pain medication that we could give her up to twice a day. She also gave her some booties (they are SO cute) to give her stability on the hardwoods. Marley had lost 6 pounds since January, so the vet said to feed her 3 times a day and give her as much food as she wants. Things were looking up. Marley walked out of the vet in her booties.
I wasn’t home (obviously), so I’m not exactly sure how it all went down, and I also think Lance was trying to not ruin my trip, but my understanding is that she did better for about a day and then things declined rapidly. I didn’t know this until I got home, but Lance said she didn’t stand up on her own (without assistance) for 3 days. He said she barely even lifted her head off the floor. The whole week I asked every single day if I needed to come home, and Lance kept telling me that everything was OK and he had it under control (he was just hoping every day that the next day was going to be better). Until Friday. I was due to come home Saturday night, but I talked to Lance on Friday (we are now a week from her first fall), and I was asking him questions about her and he just said, ‘babe, I’m exhausted. And really stressed out. I can’t talk; I just need to go to bed.’ He sounded so defeated. As soon as I hung up the phone, I was like…I’ve gotta get home. I went to dinner, called American Airlines, and changed my flight to that night at 10:45 PM. It was just one day, but I knew I would be miserable the next day waiting for my flight, so it was time to go. Lance was already sleeping, but I texted him and said I would be in the air. I called him when I landed in Phoenix and he just said, ‘you made the right call.’ I found out later that Lance had a breakdown that morning because he thought it was the end and felt so guilty that he didn’t have me come home earlier. THANK GOD it wasn’t, but you get the picture that this was a MAJOR emotional roller coaster.
I get home Saturday afternoon. Remember I said Marley had not stood on her own for 3 days? Well when I walked in the house, she popped right up on her own and walked over to me (cue the tears again)! But she was still not doing good. She mostly needed assistance getting up and walking and always needed support to pee (or she would just collapse to the ground). I was due to leave again on Tuesday morning for Atlanta for the week for work. But once I got home, it just didn’t seem like an option to leave her again (and at this point I’m not sure if it’s going to be her last week of life). So I cancel that trip, which in hindsight (because she’s doing so much better), maybe I didn’t have to do…but who knows how she would have been had I left again. So I feel like I made the right call.
About a month ago, a friend of mine recommended that I reach out to company called Lap of Love. They are in-home hospice veterinarians. Her thought was that we know the time is coming soon, so it would be nice to have everything lined up in advance (they will euthanize your pet in you home). I didn’t call at the time, but now it was time. They have a service they call a ‘Geriatric Consultation’ where a vet will come to your home and examine your animal in their natural environment, discuss pain management, and prescribe medicine if needed. They also help you prepare an end of life plan. They give you a quality of life scale to judge how your pet is doing, which you track daily and once the bad days outweigh the good days, you know it’s ‘time.’ I cannot say enough great things about Lap of Love. With everything that happened, I was so confused and emotional and just felt like I needed someone to talk to. Was it time? Was it past time? Was it not time yet? While they can’t answer the question for you, they do help you make the most logical decision possible.
I’m so happy to report that Marley has had a GREAT week. She’s basically back to ‘normal,’ which isn’t great, but also isn’t needs-to-be-put-down-this-week. Lance and I think it was a perfect storm of circumstances that made her have such a bad week while I was gone. When she fell and couldn’t get up, we think that it injured her, so it took her a while for her to recover from that trauma. And the new medication she got on made her super drowsy, and at first Lance was giving it to her twice a day, which made her really lethargic. And maybe she missed her mom! Either way, having two people caring for her is SO much better and has helped her as well. And I think the extra food is giving her more energy!
We carry her upstairs to the bedroom every night (which has carpet), so there is no fear of her falling overnight. Y2 Yoga (where I practice) donated yoga mats that I put over our hardwoods downstairs to make it easier for Marley to get around. She’s eating tons of food. We even made it around the block one night last week! So now we just continue to love on her, give her tons of treats, and make her as happy as possible for as long as possible.
Thanks for reading and following along, and THANK YOU to everyone who reached out to check on us last week!