In the kitchen

Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

saying goodbye

On Saturday, while we were having the yard sale, Sandi made that trip to the vet with our dog Mochy that no pet owner ever wants to make.

Mochy, our 10 (and sometimes even 12) pound miniature pincher, was a dog like none I had ever expected to have.  Technically, my step-dog, she was about a year old when Sandi and I got together.  She was small and needed protection, compared to the hiking and swimming dogs I had always had.  She slept under the covers right alongside your body and barked at everything, whether a passing dog or a blowing leaf.

Mochy didn't have an off switch when it came to eating and would tunnel her way into a 50 pound bag of dog food, stopping only when she looked like a football and simply couldn't take one more bite.  The dog food would swell in her stomach juices (have you ever added water to dog food? it puffs like pastry) and she would lie painfully on her side for a day until it passed.  We would spend the next 24 hours cleaning up after her messes. One Christmas Eve she ate 2 boxes of chocolate covered cherries.  During another holiday baking spree she ate a bag of my Wilton melting chocolate.  It was red, of course, and the vomit that covered our living room made it look like it was under CSI investigation.  Mochy marked every holiday season with a binge, one year even eating a partial bag of flour, which pasted onto her skin as she tried to lick it off, making her look like a papier mache project in the making. 

Years ago when our golden retriever, Dobson, was alive, Mochy ate through a bottle of chewable Rimadyl and she had to be urgently treated with activated charcoal.  Once Mochy extracted a bag of chocolate covered espresso beans from Sandi's work bag, ate the 3 dozen, and barked and hallucinated and paced our house for 48 hours.  She ate through trash bags, bags of wrapped paper plates and was known to strew the contents of the bathroom trash all over the house.

You just never knew what kind of trouble Mochy's nose and stomach would get her in.

Mochy turned 13 in April.  Dogs her size can often live to be 16 or 17, but Mo had aged significantly after all the abuse she inflicted on herself.  In the past many months she been battling a skin irritation that we couldn't get on top of.  At the end of winter she had bitten half the fur off her side.  We treated her with topical pads, steriods, checked for mites and fleas.  She got some relief, her hair grew back and then the cycle started again.  Another round of steriods, kava shampoo, soothing sprays and Benadryl and she would still spend hours a day itching.  The itching seemed to create an anxiety so that when she wasn't sleeping she was restless and anxious.  We were feeding her 4 times the amount of food we used to and she was only just over 7 pounds.

In short, her quality of life sucked.

Last year I battled what I have decided was some sort of allergic rash that was characterized by intense itching and only later followed by red dots.  I literally felt like I was going to lose my mind from the itching.  This is what I saw in Mochy when she would bite and scratch and struggle to get her arthritic spine twisted to get that one itch she could never reach.

I would like to say that I handled Mochy's aged decline well.  I didn't.  Her restlessness took me over my stimulation threshold when she would pace around my feet at the end of the night when the house was finally quiet.  Her nighttime movements in the bed made me resentful.  I was cranky and sometimes compassionless and I'm not proud of it.  Honestly, it was the worst possible time for her last year of life with my plate so full of needs to meet (okay, so maybe the girls' infancy years would have been worse) and my constant attempt to stem my state of overwhelm.

As Sandi would say, "It is what it is."  Mochy passed away on Saturday and now I miss her and her scratching and her pacing.  The house has an emptiness that I find disconcerting and I am once again overwhelmed with the permanence of death.   

Emilie said it perfectly to me: "It doesn't matter how much an animal is a pain in the ass.  When they are gone you forget it all."

For anyone who has ever put a pet down, you know how much this sucks.  We hoped she would die peacefully at home.  In my experience, this rarely happens.  Out of the 6 pets we've lost over the years, only 2 died at home.  When we were first together we had 3 dogs and 3 cats.  Now we have a bunny and some fish and, despite the 2 raucous children, the house seems rather empty.

Apparently I have a small window for tolerable stimulation. I'm easily tipped one way or another, either way overstimulated or looking for some excitement.

A rough synopsis of Maya's conversation with Sandi about Mochy's death:

Maya: "But where is Mochy right now?"
Sandi:  "She's part of everything now.  She is happy and not suffering anymore."
Maya: "Is she smiling?"
Sandi:  "Yes."
Maya:  "But where is she smiling?  Where is she?"
Sandi: " She is in your heart and maybe even part of her is in that little fish that was born in our fish tank." 
Maya sits up and looks in the fish tank.  "I don't see Mochy in there."

Now I realize Heaven is a comforting idea to offer children, but I'm only partly okay with this notion.  I don't have conventional spiritual beliefs and I don't believe that there is some storage space in the sky where all souls retire.  I believe the Universe is too efficient to waste the energy of a soul and so, yes, if you want to pin me down, I believe in reincarnation.  But in my heart it feels more like an environmentally slanted reusing and recycling something as wonderous to behold as a unique soul.

By contrast, here is the conversation I had with our sage seven-year-old:

Ella: "So can you look online to see what a picture of a spirit looks like?"

Me: "Well...not really honey.  There aren't pictures of that.  You can't really see a spirit."

Ella:  "Maybe a baby was born today and Mochy is part of that baby."

Me: "Maybe.  Mommy and I believe that Mochy is now part of everything, like bits of her spirit went into other living things- a bird, a rainbow, a tulip.  She went from being a small being in a little body to being big and everywhere .  In this way everything is connected and a part of everything is in you and you are in everything.  That pretty much sums up our belief in what some people call God."

Ella: "I know God isn't a person.  God is everything."


Katie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zoe K said...

Out of the mouth of babes... My condolences to you all. Rest easy, Mo.

Site Meter