|Chatito a couple of hours before he died managed to lift his head one last time|
It's funny how life is: sometimes you are up, other times you are so low you feel like you are walking among the swamp monsters.
To merely state that this year has been a roller coaster with more valleys than peaks, is to understate the extreme lows I have been going through.
But, regardless of how low the valley's were, I always had two things to look forward to at the end of each day: The "rock" that was laying in bed next to me (AKA my hubby), and the undivided attention and never ending love from Chatito (our pug baby).
Truth be told, it was only three weeks ago that we came back from vacation a day early, not only because we have to deal with my step-daughters heart surgery (more of that later); but because we were anxious to pick-up Chatito from my moms (who was babysitting).
"I can't wait to have him play with us in bed..." my hubby told me as we rushed home to pick-up Chatito.
And so it was - - - a shorter vacation and very little relaxation due to both personal and professional issues that had to be dealt with while I was away (I told ya'll this year was hellish!). But at least, we had our four-legged son excited to see us!
I'll never forget our drive home after we picked up Chatito. He was sitting in the middle of the both of us as we drove home. He sneezed on the both of us (because he never learned to kiss us), and looked up at us with his big brown eyes as-if-to-tell-us "don't ever leave me again."
We didn't plan on it - especially not me.
With the news that my stepdaughter would be flying-in only a couple of days later to prep for her second heart surgery (see above -hellish year!), my plans were to work from home.
All seemed fine (drama aside!), until only a few days later Chatito woke me up after throwing-up in our bed. At first I was mad (who wants to be woken-up at 3 a.m. to clean-up after anyone), but then I worried when he continued to throw-up the entire night and well into the morning. Regardless of how mad I was, "surely Chatito ate something he shouldn't have;" Chatito seemed to want to get closer to me - more so than usual.
"Don't worry," my hubby told me. "Chatito probably ate something he shouldn't have."
That morning, Chatito and I followed our usual routine: he looked at my from our bed while I showered and changed, then had our usual morning walk. He even walked down the stairs.
Little did I know how sick he really was.
Three conference calls, and one meeting later, my step-daughter and I drove Chatito to what would be the start of the two most miserable days of my existence.
Outside of having the most unsympathetic and incompetent veterinarians ever, the animal hospital staff didn't do a single thing to guide us through what would be Chatito's last day with us.
Dr. Loo, a name that will be forever engraved in my memory, was a cold and heartless bitch. She is someone that I will never, ever, forgive for being the cause of Chatito's painful night. His last night.
Remember, until that day, Chatito had been a healthy pup. Sure, we had a cancer scare last year - but his tumor was removed.
But wait - any good Vet would put two-and-two together. Again, Dr. Loo was anything but a cold, money-hungry junior vet. According to her, she couldn't diagnose him "without blood work," and "maybe an "Xray."
So my question to her was: "what the heck have you been doing to Chatito for the last hour?!"
Being a little OCD, I knew Chatito's medical history by heart. And if I forgot anything, I had the assistance of my pre-vet studies step-daughter. In other words, we wanted to know what was wrong, and treat it.
I wanted Chatito to go back to where he was the day before: a happy, healthy and playful pup that was wowed by everyone that met him at the Santa Monica Food Truck lot.
I wanted Chatito to go back home and roll in bed with us.
I wanted Chatito to grow old - and live to be at least twelve years old.
What happened, instead, was that we took control of Chatito's health and avoided any "work-up" done by the vet that was quoted as at least $1,000 (one thousand dollars!), without any hope that we would know, and fix, what was wrong with Chatito.
Almost $300 dollars later, Chatito was sent home by a Vet's assistant - because Dr. Loo never came back to talk to us after she quoted us $1,000.
Chatito was a rag doll - pumped-up with liquids and anti-nausea meds. I held him in my arms, as did my stepdaughter and my hubby when he got home.
Again, trying to reassure me, hubby told me "Don't worry. Chatito is just weak because he didn't eat and he threw up all night."
I wanted to believe him - but as the evening approached and I took Chatito downstairs to go to the bathroom, I felt a cold damp feeling on my chest. Chatito had lost control of his bladder and had peed on me. This was completely unlike him - he had never lost control of his bladder - especially not on me!
I then placed him on the grass and noticed his glazed-over look, and immediately felt it - Chatito was dying.
I cried. Actually, I whaled. Loudly, uncontrollably, and without any reservation.
Chatito looked at me, but was too weak to do anything else. I cried at him, screamed at God: "why would anyone take the one soul on this God green earth that gave me so much happiness?"
My neighborhood friends saw the spectacle I was making of myself, and my hubby was quick to run downstairs.
"Calm down," he told me, "he will be OK by the morning."
But that was not to be. While my hubby and me slept, Chatito was bleeding from the puncture wounds that were meant to hydrate and heal him.
At 5 a.m., I woke-up to find a trail of blood from Chatito's bed to our bed, and Chatito completely lethargic slumped in a corner.
The rest of the day is a blur. But I know this much:
I took Chatito to the same vet I went to only a few hours earlier. The new vet walked-in half-an-hour after Chatito and I did.
She wanted to run more tests.
Hubby calls. Friends call.
Hubby show's up.
Vet tells us that "Chuck is a very sick pup." That was the first of many times I corrected the vet on Chatito's name.
We are left alone.
Vet tells us that she "ran an ultrasound," a test, we later found out, that wasn't suggested or done the day before.
Vet can't tell us what is wrong with Chatito - unless she runs more test.
"What can it be?" my hubby asked. "Chatito was fine two days ago..."
We tell her -again- everything I told the vet the day before. Everything I told her hours before.
I am inconsolable.
Hubby is ready to sell anything we have to save Chatito - if we can save him.
No answers. We have been at the vet for hours.
We just want Chatito to go back to normal.
The vet finally tells us what we should have been told a day before: Chatito's stomach lining is five times the thickness of a normal pup. It's probably cancer.
"Cancer is what caused his throwing up, and what caused his bleeding," she said. "He's a very sick pup."
"Why didn't anyone tell us this yesterday?" I asked her through my tears.
The vet slumped her shoulders and quickly defended Dr. Loo.
My hubby and I looked at each-other and quickly stated what we had talked about before: "With such a low survival rate of dogs undergoing chemo or radiation, we have decided that Chatito will not go through either treatment."
"If you don't want to treat him because of the money, then your best solution is humane euthanasia," the vet told us.
I wanted to punch her and go out to the VCA emergency room and scream to everyone: "LEAVE!"
"Bring us Chatito NOW," I told her. "We will take Chatito to his own vet and decide what to do..."
"Well, if its because of the money...money being a concern..." the vet added. At this point, every ounce of my being hated her, hated VCA and loathed Dr. Loo - the Vet that started this chain of events.
The vet then told us that she was "doing us a favor, not charging us," and that she would send Chatito with some pills that could "hopefully pep him up a bit."
According to her, Chatito "may live a week, maybe longer."
We paid the "online price" for these pills. Again, as a "favor," and took Chatito home.
The rest of the day was a mixture of (more) raw emotions, hopeful prayers, and then finally coming to terms with what was bound to happen that day: Chatito dying.
And, on the afternoon of Thursday, October 11 of this year, I held Chatito and kissed him while he took his final breath.
My little man, the love of my life, the sun in my eyes, my best friend, and my twin soul died.
My stepdaughter, a dear friend, and Chatito's girlfriend Daisy were with me when Chatito died in my arms.
With Chatito's death, a whole part of my life died...
Chatito showed me how to "live my life in my truth" and enjoy the peace and quiet in each day.
I will miss you my little man and will hold you close in my heart - forever.