"Real Live Boy"
This is the hardest post I've ever written by far.
I hope I never have to write another like it.
I hope I never have to write another like it.
My little Newman passed away early Wednesday morning.
Sorry, to all of you that this is a shock to. It of course was a shock to me.
He has always been the picture of health.
I can't believe it.
You would think with three other dogs in this house, that one being gone would not
make that much difference. I could not be lonelier if there were none.
We all feel his absence dearly.
As you know if you read this blog regularly, Newman was always getting into things.
He could have died many times from all the stunts he pulled.
I keep telling myself that. That he was a hard dog to keep safe.
But I never thought one of my dogs would die at the age of only 8.
I do not care about anything at the moment.
I did not sleep for three days. I cannot eat. (which won't hurt me none)
I am forcing myself to write this post to let those that know me,
know why I have been absent.
My cousin/best friend whose cancer is terminal is very very bad and I fear
might be gone within two weeks. She is trying another treatment on Monday but it may kill her.
So I may not post for awhile. Right now I feel I will never post again after this.
Nothing matters to me anymore.
This is what happened. I wrote last Thursday that he and Sally had a fight on Wednesday night.
I was on the phone with a friend shortly afterwards and told a friend he was breathing funny.
This was the first sign that something was wrong.
I now feel awful that I wrote of the fight in a humorous fashion. I'll most likely delete that post.
Terrible, terrible, I am a paranoid dog Mom and yet this one time I was not paranoid enough.
I hate myself for that....I truly do.
Immediately after the fight, I thought he was breathing funny...because of the excitement of the fight.
And he seemed to have hurt his neck.
Very, very stupid of me....I should have taken him in to the vet the next day even though....
he was breathing normally soon after.
That night he got up and went outside and sat up and he walked a little slow but seemed pretty much fine.
I thought he'd strained his neck or back.
I thought his feelings were hurt. (stupid, stupid, stupid)
In the past I've taken dogs to the vet unneeded because I've heard stories of dogs suddenly dying.
But still I was not too concerned because he was walking much better than he normally does
when his back hurts. He ate and drank.
He slept in the bed that night although he slept in my arms and he did
seem to sleep rather deeply. But he'd done this once before when his back hurt.
He wanted to be close to me.
The days are kind of a blurr now....but Friday he was about the same. I carried him out to the bathroom.
He let me and seemed to want me to. We'd gotten in a routine that if he hurt his back, he knew
to try not to move much.
Once I sat him down outside...he'd walk all around the yard and sniff and do his business.
He acted different than he usually does with a back ache. He acted like it wasn't very bad.
He acted exactly like how Violet acts when her's hurts.
He was eating and drinking and sleeping with the others during the day.
But then he started staying under the bed.
I'd get a flash light to check him. Each time he lifted his head and looked at me with bright eyes.
He'd retreated to under the bed each time before when he had back problems to stay
away from the others.
The difference though....Sally kept going under to look at him this time.
(that should have been a sign to me)
Not in a threatening way....but she wanted to be under there. Not near him but just under.
She wasn't bothering him.
They had made up from the fight the next day and slept together. But she in hindsight seemed nervous.
I think the fight lasted maybe 15 - 20 seconds.
So I have been going to my cousin's house a lot every day to check on her dogs and plants while she
was away at MD Anderson. (a trip that did no good but waste precious time)
I had this feeling that I had to make sure all her animals were safe while she was gone.
Was I distracted from the care of my own?
Yes, some....but I really was not worried about Newman.
By Sunday I was becoming concerned.
Because he wasn't improving yet. Still he was not bad...no whimpering. He didn't seem in pain.
His neck and back felt stiff but the leg he usually favored when feeling bad...
he was putting his full weight on.
Why I did not take him in on Monday....I do not know....except I was concerned about things at my
cousins for that one more day before they were to get back into town.
Monday he stopped eating dog food. He had been staying under the bed but coming out to eat and drink
and then go back under. Monday morning I brought him out.
I had fed him soft dog food the night before and he ate well.
I had run out of canned food so I fed him all I had in the house which was tuna.
He ate it well, although he was not enthusiastic.
Back under the bed he went.
At that point, I decided to go get him a McDonald's hamburger.
I knew he'd scarf that down and he needed more food in him.
He would not eat it when I brought it to him.
This was at 10am and I should have taken him in right then.
I will always question myself for that.
I had to go take care of my cousin's stuff again and came home that night with canned food.
He would not eat it. At this point I noticed Harvey smelling his mouth.
I lifted him to the kitchen counter to look at his mouth.
I had looked at his side mouth several times over the last few days to make sure his gums looked normal.
They did and his breath was normal. But this time I lifted his front gums and saw one of his perfect little
white front teeth was black at top and hanging down a little.
He loves to dig and pull on roots in the backyard or pull on the fence with all his might and
I've always told him you are going to hurt yourself.
And sure enough he did. But I did not know it.
I have no idea how I missed this because I look at all of their teeth all the time.
His were perfect little chiclets in front.
I'd been kissing him and kissing him as always just before he got hurt. His breath was the same as
always. He didn't act like he was in any pain. There was no drooling or swelling.
So I had not noticed this.
This scared me and I thought....oh....he is in so much pain from this....that is why he's so bad.
It's not his back at all.
One of Mom's dogs had stopped eating and been lethargic and when she took him in...
he ended up needing 10 teeth pulled!
That was Marcus, Harvey's brother...Harvey has terrible teeth too.
He had his teeth cleaned when he was only two because they were so bad and they need it again right now.
So I knew he had to go into the vet first thing.
I stayed up all night so that I'd be ready and up and at the vet at 7am to be the first patient.
I didn't know the vet doesn't get in till 8.
I sat in the lobby holding him and kissing his head.
By then his eyes looked a little glassy. It was obvious he didn't feel well then.
But he was still walking the same and looking at me like he knew I'd get him well.
I truly had no idea of what was to come.
My vet was not in yet, so and associate of his saw him... I've seen before when mine was not there.
He's a great vet but I really love my vet best. But I wanted him to have immediate treatment.
I told him he had a tooth problem and that his back appeared to be bothering him and about the fight.
He looked him over and held one foot back. Newman did not correct it.
I know this is a bad sign. I was told to check his feet like this and if they did that to bring him in immediately.
And yet I had not thought to do it because he was walking just fine....just slow.
Anyway, the vet said, ...something is wrong with the spinal cord but in a different way than past episodes. He said a totally different injury.
I hated Sally.
He said he didn't see how a little fight could have caused this much damage.
He said to not worry....they'd pull that tooth and clean the others and put him on some anti-inflammatories for his back.
I hated leaving him but I thought he'd be ok.
I went home. Two hours later he called and said they had to pull three teeth.
The one in front and two in back.
And that he was doing fine.....
But Newman had scared them. He'd quit breathing after the pulling but they got him going
quickly again but because of this....they wanted to watch him all day.
Mom came up and we went to buy a kennel to put him in to make sure he didn't move around when he came home.
They were to call me at 3:30 to have me come get him.
They didn't call till 4:30.
That time it was my regular vet saying that they both had had him outside to walk him and watch him
and he'd been walking just fine...slowly and had pottied like he was suppose to
and while they watched him...he had what they think was a seizure that lasted for like 10 minutes.
They said they weren't even sure it was a seizure but a twitching of his face and head going sideways.
They asked if I had noticed any irregular behavior like that and it was then I remembered the irregular
breathing. I said after the fight he had breathed weird. The vet thought for sure that showed the fight had brought to the forefront some internal ticking time bomb.
But there had been no other strange movements in the last four days....yes four days...four days that he
needed help and I didn't know it. I hate myself for that.
He said he needed to stay over night for them to watch him.
I immediately got in the car....Mom and I to go see him.
I was very worried at this point but really just wanted to see how he was before letting him stay there all night.
When I got there they took me to the back where he was lying comfortably on a soft bed resting.
He was in a room where all were coming and going so all could keep an eye on him in case
he did something weird. He looked out of it. But my vet said...he'd given him something to make sure he stayed still.
He just lied there....but all of a sudden his eyes got very bright and he looked at me and smiled.
Then he saw Mom and looked her way and lifted his head...he was so happy to see her.
I became alarmed because I didn't want him to move. In hindsight I wish I'd asked he be put on a table so I could kiss him.
I told my vet I was very concerned because I'd had a friend whose little dog died because she ate some
bark and it was stuck in the roof of her mouth and she didn't know it until it smelled really bad and by then it was too late....the infection had spread through the whole body.
I asked if the tooth had done this. He said....he did not think so. He really really didn't.
He said his teeth were not bad.
True his gums had looked fine.
I told him I was so scared this was going to turn into a big bad thing and he would die.
He said, "Nita, it's not going to be like that. He'll be better by morning.
I've given him an anti-inflammatory and his back should start to improve and he'll need three weeks of rest. I told him we'd already prepared the kennel at home.
I actually left there feeling fine....that he'd be home the next day.
That night....I had a lot to do at my cousin's house for her return late that night.
I didn't get home till 11:30 and when I drove up I looked to my bedroom window...where Newman normally, sat on the bed while I was gone and then would look out the window for me.
He was always at the window when I would drive up.
That night....I looked over at the window...and I just knew I'd never see him there again.
I told myself not to think like that.
I busied myself that night writing a guest post for Cottage and Vine and when I finished it was like 5 am.
I did not want to sleep for fear of worrying.
I was suppose to call the vet at 9:30 am to check on him.
In hindsight...why was I not praying for him the entire time?
I did not realize how terrible his circumstance.
At 6 am...I was exhausted and set my alarm for 9 and layed down.
At 6:20 am I awoke with a start. I just gasped awake and I knew he was dead.
This voice in my head woke me "Newman's Dead"
I started to cry and told myself I was just dreaming and imagining.
Although, I've never had an experience like that ever before.
At 7:15 my phone rang and as soon as it rang...I knew.
I answered. The vet said,
"Nita, honey....Newman did...."
And I said, "I know, I know....he's dead....I knew it 40 minutes ago."
He said...yes, he died that morning. The morning worker found him.
He looked to be asleep.
The next few hours were the worst of my life....I heard noises come from me that I did not think
existed. I called my Mom....my poor Mom and told her.
She said she'd be right there. Of course it's a 45 minute drive.
I called a friend that I knew worked an early shift and usually had time on her hands.
She talked to me till MY vet called me.
The vet and I talked for 30 minutes.
He was crying and said he was so shocked that from all appearances it seemed as if Newman had blunt
force trauma. But of course there had been no blunt force. Except Sally and he said...that he only thought
that the fight had made the injury become apparent.
He said all he could figure was he either had a little tumor on the brain stem or a weakness there of some sort...and the fight had pushed it.
Then pulling his teeth had pushed him over the edge.
You know dachshunds are notorious for back problems.
This would be an extreme case of a week spine just waiting for the right move to rupture.
Both Violet and Newman have had back issues. My old dachshund that lived to be 17 had back issues
that came up when she was about 8 but we managed them and actually they only bothered her a couple
of years of her life.
So my thought was we'd manage this.
I almost questioned that morning pulling his teeth and I really think if I'd had my regular vet...
he and I would have discussed whether it was a good idea or not.
Still, he said....from what they'd seen....he saw no reason not to go the way they had gone.
This was a total shock to all.
I could not believe my little Newman was dead.
I must have had a feeling of impending doom...because I've held him sooooo much lately.
And I'd even been whispering in his ear of late
"Don't tell anyone but you are my favorite."
He seemed to understand what I was saying.
I'd kiss him on the cheek and he'd flutter his eyelashes.
Oh...how he loved being kissed on the cheek!
Then I'd ask for a kiss....and I swear he'd pucker his little lips and give me a real kiss.
Not a dog kiss...but a real kiss.
We'd watched lots of tv together lately.
He always wanted me to pick him up if I was crying or laughing.
I often just held him while I watched tv and he'd react to my reactions.
Oh....there was never such a dear dog.
His back leg walk was a little bowl legged. Mom and I always said he walked like John Wayne.
Such a perfect boy.
I often said he didn't seem like a dog....he seemed like a little boy.
I always called him "My Real Live Boy" because like Pinnochio who becomes a real live boy eventually....
Newman seemed to be a dog that was just waiting to be a real live boy.
Mother and I went to pick up his little body....he did look like he was just sleeping.
We worked on digging a grave for him in my backyard.
What a difficult task. It took us the evening.....and we had to finish Thursday morning.
That meant I spent Wednesday night alone with him. I could not rest as long as
he was in limbo. I couldn't leave him. I had shown his body to the other dogs earlier in the day.
Violet seemed to accept it quickly. Sally was scared and had been acting very scared all day.
Hiding under the bed and coming out with bugged eyes and ears back.
When I showed him to her...she shook her head back and forth and wanted away and then ran and hid
under the bed.
(I am having a hard time looking at Sally)
Only thing getting me through it is....she is not aggressive...ever.
I don't know what got into her.
Harvey was the worst of all.
I had shown each one separately.
Harvey last. He sniffed him....he nudged him with his nose....to try to wake him.
Then he'd look up at me and he'd try again and then look at me.
Then he'd just stare at him and then look to me again.
Finally, I said, "He's gone, Harvey....your brother is gone."
I put him down and went to put the lid on the box.
Harvey started crying out a sound I've never ever heard come from him.
It was heart breaking. And he has moped about ever since.
That night I tried to sleep on the floor with Newman in a cardboard box and Harvey between us...but I could not sleep and Harvey kept looking at the box...hoping to see his brother come out.
I finally gave up on sleep and stood by him looking at him waiting for morning to finish his grave.
My brother in law made a nice wood box to bury him in and Mom and I finished the hole
Thursday morning. We lowered him into his final resting spot.
In the backyard where he loved to run and play and dig and cause trouble.
My backyard has always been a very happy place for me.
Now I go out there with dread.
And yet there was no other place he could be.
He must stay close to me.
I placed a marker I made on the pile of dirt that marks his spot.
And I bought a bunch of green and yellow and orange flowers at Michael's to decorate it with.
Next year I'll start a special garden there and I must find the perfect St. Francis statue for the spot.
I have asked God why over and over, why he would take the one thing in this world that takes care of me.
My Newman who I have told time and time again that he is all that matters to me....
that he is the man of the house.
How could God do this at a time when I need him so badly.
It's always hard when you lose a pet....
but I thought I'd only lose one in old age because I am such a good dog Mom.
I feel like I failed him. The vet said he was sooooo healthy....and they ran bloodwork and checked his heart and all was sooooo good, they never thought this would happen.
How did I miss that his tooth was hurt?
Why didn't we think about not pulling them right then. Why? Why? Why?
The vet suggested and autopsy. But I couldn't bare that.
Nine years ago this month, I lost my father in a motorcycle accident.
He was on a bike he'd only had three weeks.
I have never been the same since. But after years of feeling bad, I was finally in a spot where I was ok with it and had accepted it and said this is my life now without him.
The reason I had Newman is I had Violet but was still sad and lonely and a friend of mine the year after
my father's death said I needed another dog and she gave me the money for my birthday to go find one.
I found him in the paper. He brought me so much joy....that he helped to heal my broken heart.
Now nine years later....I feel I am all the way down in that black hole I was in then.
When I finally slept Thursday night after not having slept since Sunday....I went to bed wishing I would not wake up.
Newman as a puppy.
I'm all the way down and all my work to pull myself out of depression has been for nothing because this has put me all the way down in it again.
This morning I was out at his grave as I guess I will be for all the mornings I have left on this earth and I had this thought.
"Oh Newman my Real Live Boy. You are in heaven with my Daddy and you really are a Real Live Boy.
You walk on two legs and have reddish sandy blond hair and bright yellow eyes.
You and Dad go fishing together. My father always wanted a grandson...something that never happened.
I believe you are whatever age you wish to be in heaven and really whatever you want to be.
I know my Dad is himself at age 39 because he always said that was his favorite age. When he felt his best. And it just occurred to me that like Pinnochio....Newman finally has become a Real Live Boy.
I've mentioned Newman a lot here on this blog. His antics kept me entertained and amazed and on my toes always. I always had to try to stay one step ahead of him.
He was not a hyper dog in any way. He was determined and happy and brave.
So many times he could have died and didn't.
Like the five or six times he got out through the gate or out the front door.
One time I was having a garage sale and all four dogs got out because I'd left the gate open without realizing it.
Harvey and Sally quickly returned to the yard but Violet and Newman were off and running....
Violet ran to a neighbor's yard and thankfully they were in it and she jumped in their arms.
I told them to hold her till I came back.
I saw Newman go around the corner headed toward a busy street. I was panic stricken. I ran back home
and started throwing things out of my driveway to get my car out to go after him....for he was long gone
I feared. I looked up to see he'd decided to turn around and was now running back down the street past
my house and he turned and looked at me and I swear he was smiling ear to ear as he ran past towards
the park with me screaming his name.
By then, neighbors had heard and they came out to help me catch him.
We caught him before he reached the park.
I was never so relieved.
He pulled this stunt several times.
He used to try to sneak out between peoples' legs at the gate as we said goodbye.
After he did this twice....I then started always always holding him when anyone left.
This upset him because he wanted to go!
He was terrible in the car. Not because he was scared of the car but because he wanted to drive the car.
He'd be all over it everywhere. Up on the dash in your lap over to the window.
Smiling and wagging his tail and having the greatest time but it was hard.
I once asked Mom to take him to the vet and I can't remember what it was for but she brought my sister with her and thank goodness she did because at one point my sister said..
"Mom! Newman has rolled down the back window and is jumping out!"
Sure enough he'd managed to roll down the back window and he was half way out in a moving car.
That scared them so badly and my Mom said she would never take him again without me.
When his back hurt he was very very good in the car though.
He once pulled through his collar as we walked the parking lot to go into the vet's office and headed straight towards a very busy street. I was screaming and screaming for someone to help. A man heard my screams and ran and grabbed him just before he ran into the street.
He never again went anywhere that he wasn't in a harness.
He ate a live baby bird in one gulp once...
He fought a opossum once...
He climbed a ladder to try to get at a bird house with little baby birds in it.
Thank goodness I caught him in action.
He'd just dive off of anything and everything.
I bought a ramp for him to use at the bed when he first hurt his back and he did use it....he'd thunder
up and down it.
He fought a stray cat under the deck once and came out with a nasty gash which scared me so badly.
He was just a dare devil.
And he was my heart.
The past couple of weeks....I must have felt this coming...because I've looked at him so much lately and
thought "Oh....Newman you are my heart....what will I do when you are gone?" "What will I do?"
I took relief in thinking it would be many years before I faced it.
I was very wrong about that.
My house is soooo quiet without him.
Almost like no dogs live here.
So I know this was long but I wanted to share how special he was to me and there are several stories
about him on this blog that you can read if you look on the right at my category cloud and click on Newman.
I take this blog seriously...like a job....I try to post every day and try to be something everyone
can count on with my Sunday Open Houses and Mod Mix Monday.
Right now I feel all is so stupid. I don't feel like posting anything ever again.
It hurts to see his photos here so much.
I usually am so excited about decorating for Halloween....but now I just have a sick feeling....I don't know that I can muster it. I was getting ready to redo my bedroom.....and now I can't even bare to be in there because that is where I knew he was gone and then got the phone call.
I used to feel so happy and safe when in bed with my dogs.
Now I am frightened of what will be the next horrible thing that will happen.
I hope I can get back to posting regularly soon because this blog and all the people I have met through it have brought me great joy. It's just right now...I can't find any pleasure in anything.
I would love any suggestions as to how to get through this.
I know you just put one foot in front of the other....and keep going....and I've done this before
because certainly I've had many bad things happen in the past.
I am just feeling so alone and sad right now.
And wondering how to begin again.
To think this is the last time I will ever post about him.......
My Newman, he is a Real Live Boy, now.