Thursday, August 24, 2017


You are always hearing about doxie stubbornness. Yes, I'll agree that they are, but they have so many wonderful traits that to me, it just doesn't matter! They are clowns, and will do anything to get a laugh; they are sweet, loving, loyal, intelligent, HUNGRY, cute, adorable, precious . . . well, you get the idea!

Enjoy these pictures below, which feature different colors and coats of our beloved breed:

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"We are adorable, aren't we? Now: have we turned on
 'the cutes' enough to have part of your breakfast, Mom? Huh? Can we? 
C'mon--you know resistance is futile."

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Pretty in pink
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"Hey dude! I'm too cool for school, ya know?"

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"Can we have a bite?" (Doxies start young, don't they?)
Dachshunds . . . you gotta love 'em . . . because you can't help yourself!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


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"See me now, Mom? Huh? See me NOW??"

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"I got to see the eclipse yesterday! Don't worry--Mama
switched out my devastatingly cool shades for approved
eclipse glasses. It got pretty dark here, too!"

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Doxies get an A+ in sleeping/relaxing

Friday, August 18, 2017


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Want more doxie?

"Sunshine in Your Inbox," my free monthly newsletter, goes out next week on Monday, 08/21 or Tuesday, 08/22! If you'd like to receive it, click on this link:

With articles of interest to doxie lovers, cute doxie photos, book excerpts, family recipes--and more--there's something different in every issue.

Your privacy is important, so your email address will never be shared.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017


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Has your doxie ever taken over your spot on the couch, chair, bed, or loveseat? MmmmHmmm. Thought so. It's just part of being a doxie parent. 

We wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


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"Hot dogs roasting before an open fire . . ."
(Apologies to Mel Torme, who wrote the lyrics

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Doxie fashion police are alive and well!

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I agree--doxies ARE hilarious!

Monday, August 14, 2017


Here are some pictures my daughter Holly took of her doxie Sunny, who is four months old:

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"Belly rub, please!"

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"Hello! I'm getting tired of waiting . . ."

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"I'm getting kinda perturbed now . . ."

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"Well then, how 'bout at LEAST a treat, for
my patience over NOTHING! Geez."

Dachshunds . . . you gotta love the demanding critters!

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Duke "resting" with Clark

We've created a dedicated space to Duke on a wall in our home office, placing beloved mementos of him there.

Below is a picture showing three of them: on the left is a 16 x 20 print of Duke, my favorite of him, provided by our daughter Holly. Our daughter Bethany took that picture of him last Christmas when she and hubby Kurt were here with us. Duke was sitting on Clark's lap, perching himself on Clark's knee. Clark was at one end of the couch, Bethany was at the other. 

Can you guess what Duke was staring at so intently in that picture below? Since doxies are notorious chow hounds, you probably had no trouble guessing--yes, Kurt had gone into the kitchen, which is in the direction of Duke's gaze. He was watching and listening in the hope of snagging a morsel of whatever snack was forthcoming. Ah, Duke . . . you never missed a thing regarding food, did you, buddy? I was in my recliner, which was in the other direction, and I vividly recall Bethany taking that picture, not knowing at the time that it would be our memorial picture to Duke. Little memories like this one cause pain at times, because it still hurts that he's not here. When I'm a bit stronger, this memory will bring a smile.

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On the right is the heart flag a dear friend in North Carolina sent us as soon as she heard of Duke's passing. A dog lover herself, she had lost her beloved doxie many years ago, and she told us she remembered the sharp pain of loss and wanted to do something for us. The lovely flag already means so much to us, because its message is exactly how Clark and I feel. The flag is suspended by Duke's red leash.

We're planning to add other mementos to commemorate Duke's beautiful life of unconditional love: his last collar that he wore for several years, and the plaque bearing his clay paw print that the veterinary hospital obtained for us right after his passing. The plaque also has his name impressed into the clay as well as a heart. To preserve the plaque, the printed instructions said to bake it at 275
degrees for about 20 minutes. That's another special memento we will cherish always. I loved Duke's paws; when he was younger, the tan in his coat was a rich cinnamon color, a beautiful contrast to his shiny black. 

Why didn't I realize just how beautiful he was then? To answer my own question, I didn't think about being where we are today: without him. Oh, we knew that time would come "someday," but even before his back surgery was necessary in March, he was always so healthy and active. We thought we'd have him at least for a few more years. Part of our pain has come from the sudden way his autoimmune disease came on. We had him less than a week after he got sick and the blood test revealed his low platelet count, something that never improved with the medication he was given to combat that. 

I admit that I haven't yet placed his collar on the wall with his other mementos because I've wanted to keep it close to me when we finally located it after his death. Neither of us could remember where it was, and I sent a text message to our daughter Holly asking her about it, because I felt something akin to panic when we couldn't find it. I desperately wanted to keep that collar, a more personal memento than a photo or anything else of his. She told us where it was, and said she had mentioned that to Clark on the day Duke was buried. It was a sad day, and something he didn't remember until she reminded him. Clark had dug Duke's grave, made a wooden box for him and painted it, and cleared away vines around the area BEFORE we left the house at 11:00 a.m. to drive to Athens for our appointment to have Duke relieved of his suffering. Clark obviously had a lot on his mind that day, he was tired, and of course upset over all that was going on. 

We have other wonderful pictures of Duke that I will eventually add to the wall. I failed to mention in previous posts that Holly had also given us a picture album of Duke's photos, ranging from his cute little puppy stage up to his recent months before we even knew he was sick. There are dozens of his pictures in this album, something we treasure.

Kurt and Bethany are providing the engraved stone for Duke's grave, just as they provided one for Shadow's grave. We will place it on his resting place when it arrives, a very special memento given
with love. Duke was always thrilled when they came, since Kurt would get down on the floor and roughhouse with him, and Bethany would give him lots of attention. They loved Duke, too.

Why am I including all these details in this post, you ask? Because I want to preserve and remember them. I suppose a part of my heart is afraid I'll forget. I've had a few days this week that I haven't cried, but not a day has gone by since July 28 that I haven't been at least close to tears every single day. Normally, I'm not the type to cry, and I seldom cry at sad movies or TV shows, and unless something really traumatic happens, I just don't cry. That's not my nature. But losing Duke has opened a floodgate of tears that I can't hold back, but I don't even try to stop them. There's something cleansing about releasing tears of pain, and heaven knows I want to rid myself of this pain in my heart since Duke died.

Today was Clark's first day back in school as a substitute teacher, and I dreaded it, because Duke was always such good company when Clark was gone all day. But our seven-year-old grandson is spending a few days with us, and we've had such fun together. 

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Our grandson today at the local inflatables
place which he loves

People have been so kind. Some friends from church invited us out to dinner recently to show they cared, even giving me a beautiful pink hibiscus plant. We've received a number of sympathy cards, something I don't find odd at all that they are because of our dog's death. Our grief is real, and it hurts.

People I don't know personally have private messaged me on Facebook to let me know they are sorry for our loss, and many of them are pet lovers who understand how we feel.

We'll always miss Duke, but he was such a strong personality, there's no way we will ever forget how much he added to our lives. And for that, we will always be thankful.

Dachshunds . . . you will always love them.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


The doxie meme below . . .

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. . . is made possible by the doxie meme below!

Dachshunds  . . . are hard to leave behind.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


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WHO could resist this cute face?? Those eyes? That little hat and matching collar??

We doxie lovers already know that these dawgs expect us to serve them (the brats), but it's downright impossible not to adore them, right? Oh, we hear lots about their stubborn streak, but even that is cute--albeit exasperating at times. But we still love them to pieces.

Dachshunds . . . you gotta love 'em . . . because you can't help yourself.

Monday, August 7, 2017


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"Hey, dude . . . I'm too cool for school"

That's right! He probably is :).

Dachshunds . . . you gotta love 'em.

Saturday, August 5, 2017


Look at that doxie face! Can you tell that Duke was
NOT happy that he'd just had a bath?? LOL

I typed "conversation" in quotes in the post title, because it was mostly one sided on my part, of course. Oh, Duke was brilliant, but not even he could speak human. But . . . he could communicate with his eyes, his body language, his facial expressions, and especially his barks and sounds. You know exactly what I mean, doxie lovers.

We took Duke to the veterinarian hospital on Monday, July 24, so this "conversation" must have taken place a few days prior, between what we thought was just an upset tummy and the obvious signs that he needed to be taken to the hospital pronto. Therefore, it probably Wednesday or Thursday of the previous week.  I don't know why I feel that I must pinpoint the date, but it seems important to me.

He was sitting on my lap, as he often did, and he obviously didn't feel very good. After he had thrown up his breakfast of dog food and a little scrambled egg that morning, he just lay around, acted tired,
and we had to coax him to go out. His low blood platelet count had already begun well before that, unbeknownst to us then. That day, he had positioned himself so he could see out the front windows of our living room, because he was as nosy as any neighborhood gossip ever was! He was always on the lookout for cars on our street, especially the mailman. Also squirrels, cats, rabbits, humans, leaves--you name it. I often said he'd bark at a speck of dust dancing in the air.

But I digress. As he sat in my lap, having propped himself up on the arm of my recliner, I felt sad for him. He looked unwell, and it was more than an upset tummy. I said, "Dukie, you are such a good boy, you know. Feel better so you can go outside and chase those squirrels you see out there." He perked up and barked, but didn't want to go outside as he usually did when one of those keywords set him off. I continued: "We love you so much." Turning his head, he looked at me, wagging his tail. For some inexplicable reason, the tears began rolling down my face. He licked my hand. He always did that to reassure his humans that "everything is gonna be okay." But it didn't work--I had a feeling in my heart that he wasn't going to be all right.

When I could, I continued talking to him, repeating myself: "Dukie, I love you so much, and I don't want you to leave us yet. Please don't get sicker. Stay here with us a few more years. We have so many more good times ahead of us. You make life so much fun." He was watching me as I spoke. I knew my voice was full of emotion and pain, and I felt silly. I didn't know, at least factually, that anything else was wrong with him, other than my gut feeling.

"Remember when we picked you out of all those other doxies when you were a little puppy?" (Of course he didn't.) "You were the only little black-and-tan male
Eight weeks old: the day we
brought him home
puppy they had, and I wanted one like Shadow." His ears perked up again, because he remembered his buddy well. "You came home with us as a scared little puppy, but it didn't take you long to run this place, did it?" I smiled. He looked at me as I stopped speaking, and he "boofed" softly. He was telling me "Yes, Mom. I remember." I rubbed his ears.

On the following Monday, he became so sick that our vet made arrangements for us to take him to the veterinary hospital, and he never came home again.

As I think about this scenario, am I reading too much into it? Perhaps, but it was preparing me to face the reality that was soon to come.

The softness of his ears, the shine of his coat, and the coldness of his doggie nose--those finite things are the memories I draw upon, both now and in the future. Duke was special (we all say that about our fur babies, don't we?), and he gave us unconditional love for those years we were blessed to share with him. That love was a priceless gift.

Duke loved looking out the front door to watch the world go by
I'll close with the words from Papa Duke, one of the main characters in I AM SARGE:

"A dawg loves you no matter what. You can be ugly, old, even dumb--but a dawg don't care. All he wants is your love and some food now and then. I think that's why God created them, to show that to us."

Friday, August 4, 2017


Today marks one week since we had to send Duke over the rainbow bridge. Yesterday, I hurt for him all day. Images of how miserable he looked last Thursday kept flashing through my mind. For most of the day, I was in despair, in tears, and wondered if I were losing my mind.

I had an hour here and there that I felt "normal." In an effort to help me, Clark suggested we get out and ride somewhere, and we ended up in Stone Mountain Park, one of our favorite places and only fifteen minutes from home. It was a cooler day, and as we rode through the wooded sections of the park with the windows down, it felt good. We had always loved driving up to the Blue Ridge Parkway when we lived in Virginia, and sections of Stone Mountain Park brought back memories of the Parkway. I felt better afterwards. I was fine for several hours, but I ended up crying myself to sleep last night.

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This was the last picture Clark took of Duke.
As usual, Duke looks like he wants to
say something, like "Get that
camera outa my face!"

 So, I see that I'm still on that emotional roller coaster: up one minute, down the next. I'm told that this is completely normal, but it doesn't feel normal! I'm usually a pretty upbeat gal, but I kept telling myself that this up-and-down ride was ridiculous. But today, I am more clear headed, I feel a tad more focused, and I can see that what I'm going through is normal for grief.

One bright spot yesterday arrived in the mail. An old friend from NC had told me she was going to send us something when she found out Duke had died. She sent a nice card with a comforting note inside, and below is a photo of her gift to us. (She was actually Clark's next door neighbor when they were children. So yes, we've known her a LONG time!)

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It's a house/mailbox flag. Isn't it beautiful?  I'm not gonna hang it outside, but when the 16 x 20 print of our favorite photo of Duke arrives in the mail (the one below), I'll frame it and hang the flag beside it here in the office. Most people, I've found in my research, dedicate a shelf or a corner of a room to their beloved pet. I find comfort in just knowing I'm going to do that. Kurt and Bethany are providing the engraved stone for Duke's grave, and we will place it there, not in the house.

What I miss about him (well, I could fill pages and pages, but I'll attempt to control myself here), is having him on my lap. Oh, Duke was definitely a lap dog! He hated being in a room by himself, and since Clark loves to work outdoors, either in his shop or in the yard, Duke and I were together a LOT. Every time I sat down during the day, he wanted to be in my lap. And I didn't mind. Oh, I'd shoo him away sometimes, but mostly, I was a woman with that dog in her lap. When he was well and felt good, I'd play with him: he'd drag one of his blankies over so we could play tug-of-war. He'd bring one of my old socks I had given him so I could put it on my hand and pretend it was some kind of animal so he could try to "get" it. He adored that sock game, growling at it, trying to bite it, etc. But if I said "OUCH," he'd stop and look at me like, "Sorry, Mom," then commence to growling/biting again.

The next time I post, I'm strong enough now to write about something that happened a couple of days before Duke started throwing up blood (gross, I know, but it happened). He was sitting on my lap, Clark had gone to run errands, and I looked at Duke on my lap--really looked at him. I began talking to him . . . oops, almost slipped and told that story. 

Thank you again to all who are riding along on this journey with me. For those suffering from the loss of a fur baby, my heart goes out to you, and you are not alone. For those who are coming along because they care, thank you. It means more than you'll ever know. For those who have no clue or who think we're crazy, that's okay, too. I hope you don't have to experience this grief, but if you own or love a pet, you probably will.

Honestly, I wish I didn't have to hurt over the loss of Duke, but it really means how much I loved him. And that, my friends, is the crux of the matter: I am thankful we had Duke in our lives for ten years. Yes, it hurts now, but Clark and I will always have those wonderful memories. Our lives have been greatly enriched by having that dawg in them.

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This is the photo we're getting in a 16 x 20
print--I believe it's my favorite one of him

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Duke inspecting Clark's truck

Day Three after our loss of Duke was yesterday, and I consider it a turning point for me: I didn't cry once. Oh, I was close to it a couple of times, but I managed to get through the day without as much numbing despair as the days right before and immediately Duke's passing.

Today, is DAY FOUR. It's amazing to me how quickly my moods ride the roller coaster of emotion. I was familiar with the stages of grief,* having heard of them in magazine articles and TV psycho-babble shows (which I could only watch briefly) that masquerade as entertainment.

For those who are unfamiliar with those stages, here they are below. They represent the loss of a beloved human, but believe me, they are present in the loss of a beloved pet, too:

Stage One: Denial  - the first of the five stages of grief. It helps us to survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go on, if we can go on, why we should go on. We try to find a way to simply get through each day. Denial and shock help us to cope and make survival possible. Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle. As you accept the reality of the loss and start to ask yourself questions, you are unknowingly beginning the healing process. You are becoming stronger, and the denial is beginning to fade. But as you proceed, all the feelings you were denying begin to surface.

Stage Two: Anger - a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal. There are many other emotions under the anger and you will get to them in time, but anger is the emotion we are most used to managing. The truth is that anger has no limits. It can extend not only to your friends, the doctors, your family, yourself and your loved one who died, but also to God. You may ask, “Where is God in this? Underneath anger is pain, your pain. It is natural to feel deserted and abandoned, but we live in a society that fears anger. Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving temporary structure to the nothingness of loss. At first grief feels like being lost at sea: no connection to anything. Then you get angry at someone, maybe a person who didn’t attend the funeral, maybe a person who isn’t around, maybe a person who is different now that your loved one has died. Suddenly you have a structure – – your anger toward them. The anger becomes a bridge over the open sea, a connection from you to them. It is something to hold onto; and a connection made from the strength of anger feels better than nothing.We usually know more about suppressing anger than feeling it. The anger is just another indication of the intensity of your love.

Stage Three: BargainingBefore a loss, it seems like you will do anything if only your loved one would be spared. “Please God, ” you bargain, “I will never be angry at my wife again if you’ll just let her live.” After a loss, bargaining may take the form of a temporary truce. “What if I devote the rest of my life to helping others. Then can I wake up and realize this has all been a bad dream?” We become lost in a maze of “If only…” or “What if…” statements. We want life returned to what is was; we want our loved one restored. We want to go back in time: find the tumor sooner, recognize the illness more quickly, stop the accident from happening…if only, if only, if only. Guilt is often bargaining’s companion. The “if onlys” cause us to find fault in ourselves and what we “think” we could have done differently. We may even bargain with the pain. We will do anything not to feel the pain of this loss. We remain in the past, trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt. People often think of the stages as lasting weeks or months. They forget that the stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and out of one and then another. We do not enter and leave each individual stage in a linear fashion. We may feel one, then another and back again to the first one.

Stage Four: DepressionAfter bargaining, our attention moves squarely into the present. Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness. It is the appropriate response to a great loss. We withdraw from life, left in a fog of intense sadness, wondering, perhaps, if there is any point in going on alone? Why go on at all? Depression after a loss is too often seen as unnatural: a state to be fixed, something to snap out of. The first question to ask yourself is whether or not the situation you’re in is actually depressing. The loss of a loved one is a very depressing situation, and depression is a normal and appropriate response. To not experience depression after a loved one dies would be unusual. When a loss fully settles in your soul, the realization that your loved one didn’t get better this time and is not coming back is understandably depressing. If grief is a process of healing, then depression is one of the many necessary steps along the way.

Stage Five: Acceptanceis often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this reality or make it OK, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it. It is the new norm with which we must learn to live. We must try to live now in a world where our loved one is missing. In resisting this new norm, at first many people want to maintain life as it was before a loved one died. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance, however, we see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and we must readjust. We must learn to reorganize roles, re-assign them to others or take them on ourselves. Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones. As we begin to live again and enjoy our life, we often feel that in doing so, we are betraying our loved one. We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new inter-dependencies. Instead of denying our feelings, we listen to our needs; we move, we change, we grow, we evolve. We may start to reach out to others and become involved in their lives. We invest in our friendships and in our relationship with ourselves. We begin to live again, but we cannot do so until we have given grief its time.
*In 1969, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the five stages of grief in her book, On Death and Dying)


I haven't followed the stages in the order above, but I'm not surprised at myself. I tend to be different from other people :).  My stages haven't been contrived; they just happened they way they did, and I have no control over them. Here are my stages, given in the order they've been happening:

Stage One: Depression
I became depressed when we had to place Duke in the veterinary hospital. He was in pain and suffering, and we wanted to do something to help him get well and alleviate his misery. We pinned our hopes on that hospital and its staff.

Stage Two: Denial
As the days wore on (he was admitted on Monday, July 24), we were told to give the blood meds time to form platelets to stop his internal bleeding, and that it usually took three days or longer for it to begin working. I prayed so hard that we would see a turnaround in his condition.

Stage Three: Anger
This stage started coming yesterday, and is full blown today. My anger is directed at the veterinary hospital in general, the vet on Duke's case in particular. WHY DIDN'T THEY TELL US THAT DUKE WASN'T GETTING BETTER? He was getting worse daily, and she urged us to give him yet another dose of the med, another blood transfusion. She didn't tell us he was so swollen that we could hardly recognize him Thursday, July 27, when we insisted on seeing him.

I say "insisted," because when Duke had his back surgery there back in March, we were dissuaded from visiting him so that he could lie still and thus heal. If we had come, they said, he would get over-excited and thus might injure his back. He needed time to heal, and when he came home, he was placed on a month's crate rest, only carrying him out/in to do his business.

All right, I got that. So, we assumed we couldn't see him this time, either. Oh, nobody said we couldn't, but nobody said "Come on down," either. After Clark's call to the veterinarian ended on Thursday morning (he had to call them several times to find out what was going on--they weren't very good at keeping us informed like they did when Duke had his back surgery. Then, they called at least twice a day, even emailing us some photos of him as he was able to take a few steps outside!). We were expecting at least the same level of communication this time. WRONG. On this call, the vet said that no, the med hadn't started working yet, but "Let's give him another dose and try again." Keep in mind that each transfusion cost $200 (he had to have an IV instead of oral meds because of internal bleeding in his GI tract). We were shocked at Duke's appearance: bloated, lying there with an IV, and hardly even conscious. We knew he was on strong pain meds, but NOBODY TOLD US HOW SWOLLEN HE WAS, OR THAT HE WAS GOING DOWNHILL SO FAST. Nobody.

We were both upset, and I sobbed nearly all the way home (an hour away), because we feared he was too far gone to make a turnaround. I was glad, at least, that I had insisted on seeing him Thursday. I told Clark before he placed the call to arrange a visit, that I was going to see my dog THAT DAY. If they said no, then I was going up there and staying until they let me see him. I had no idea of their rules for visitation, but I was so agitated that I wouldn't have cared at the time. I feared I'd never see my Duke alive if we didn't go Thursday.

As we dreaded, Duke was no better Friday morning, and his platelet count had not improved one iota from the time he was first checked. Therefore, we could not allow him to suffer anymore and  returned on Friday to have Duke put to sleep. The vet had even called us around 8:30 that morning, asking if we wanted her to go ahead and put him to sleep before we got there in case he was in respiratory failure (doesn't that imply how bad his situation was?). We told her yes, because we felt he had suffered enough. He lived, and when they brought him in to us in that depressing room, he was more alert (because they had him on oxygen, something we didn't know about and didn't see when we saw him the day before). I don't know if he even knew us by then, but he looked at us imploringly. We told him we loved him, stroked his back and held his little paw, as we watched his life slip away. And it was over.

While in the waiting room on Friday before we went in to see Duke that final time, I happened to notice the hospital's slideshow on the TV monitor there. We were kept waiting for nearly thirty minutes after our appointment time, so I had plenty of time to see that slideshow. It said something to the effect of "while we often dissuade pet owners from visiting their ill pets while under our care, we decide on a case-by-case basis. Visits must be approved and arranged 24 hours in advance by the attending veterinarian," and so on. I hadn't asked permission to see my dog on Thursday: I demanded that we must see him. But the vet agreed to let us see him that day, and asked us to name the time. We asked for 4:30 p.m.

Stage Four: Acceptance (I'm still working on that one)
I suppose that's where I am today. Of course I've revisited Duke's last few days over and over in my mind. You ask yourself if you could have done more to assure his survival. You berate yourself for not picking up on his illness sooner. And, you blame yourself for allowing him to suffer. It's a normal thing, but why does it seem so abnormal?

I am still angry that the hospital put a veterinarian on Duke's case who had only been in our country for a week. Her accent was such that we could not understand her on the phone, and was only slightly less difficult in person. Now before I get hate mail for disliking foreigners, please remember I am grieving and distracted. I am sure, when I am in my right mind, that she was doing all she could, and her lack of communication to us was probably because she was overwhelmed, being new on the job and in the country.

My Christian worldview makes me realize that she tried her best, even though after Duke was put down, she made us wait another 40 minutes to place him in a transport box and bring him back to us so we could take him home to bury him. I will look more kindly upon her, but the focus of my anger vacillates from her, to the hospital (for putting her in charge and making our dog a teaching tool), to us (for not going to see him sooner).

Am I being logical right now? Probably not, and even I realize that, but I'll take anger over despair.
Did you notice I didn't list the stage of bargaining? At no point did I ever bargain with God about allowing Duke to live. Oh, I begged him to do so, if it was His will. But as a Christian, I don't make bargains with the Creator of the universe. I submit to His will, however difficult it is and however long it takes me to get to that point. You see, it's about Him, not me, in the scheme of things. He knows our suffering, and I cling to one of my favorite verses in the Bible:

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Where do we go from here? We hold no one accountable for Duke's passing. It was our decision to have him put out of his suffering, no matter what the extenuating circumstances were. Yes, I am angry. Perhaps you've faced a similar situation and are angry right now, too. Even through clinched teeth, I must type these words: You and I have to turn our anger over to God, because it is not good to have it. This might take some time, but I've acknowledged to Him that I have it and that I want to help others in this same boat. That's where the "work together for good" comes in. I want to help you. I'm no miracle worker, but I know Who is. 
Again, thank you to all of you who have sent me words of comfort and kindness. God is good all the time, and you are all a part of that. Thank you so much.