We said goodbye to our dog, Charlie, this weekend. It was unexpected and sad. All was normal on Sunday until 1:30 when he suddenly fell over and started seizing. At first, I thought he died because he got so stiff and stopped breathing. However, he started to move and breathe again, but the seizures continued every few minutes and I knew something was very wrong. I called the animal hospital and they said to bring him in. I called my dad to go with me because I didn’t know that I was in any shape to drive, while Jeremy tried to keep the kids out of the living room so they didn’t see Charlie in such bad shape. Jeremy was eventually able to pick him up to take him to my car. Charlie never liked being picked up, but this time, he didn’t fight it. Once he was in the car, we had the kids come outside and say goodbye, just in case.
For some time, we’ve known that if something happened to Charlie we were not going to go to extraordinary lengths to save him. He was an old dog and we didn’t want to prolong any suffering. When we took him in, they stabilized him and I explained our desire not to put him through a lot if it was only going to prolong the inevitable. The vet understood where we were coming from and explained that they could put him on anti-seizure medications while we went through diagnostic testing that could take days or weeks. She also said that for an old dog seizures were generally a sign of something much worse, such as a brain tumor, and don’t get better. After a phone call with Jeremy we decided that we would let him go. I sat with him and rubbed on his ears and said goodbye while the vet administered the shot. He went peacefully and calm.
When I got home, the kids were still napping and Jeremy and I tried to process the situation. How were we going to explain it to Grant and Maria? While Jeremy was putting them down for naps, Maria declared “Mommy coming back,” to which Jeremy replied yes. She then very seriously said “Chawie coming back, too.” Jeremy tried to tell her no, he wasn’t coming home, but knew she didn’t understand. When they woke up I went in to get them and they both asked about Charlie. I explained that Charlie had gone to be with Jesus in heaven and wouldn’t be coming home. I went on to tell them that Charlie was old and sick and sometime we can’t fix it and when that happens, you go to be with Jesus in heaven. In heaven, Charlie wasn’t sick anymore. They both seemed okay with that for the time being.
Later on Grant asked again about Charlie and I explained it again. Jeremy had them help carry his bed to the basement because we didn’t want Charlie’s stuff to just disappear. Perhaps having them help would help them understand.
On Monday, Grant asked again about Charlie. Maria told him “Chawie no get sick no more.” Then she said “Chawie went to church.” Jeremy told them that Charlie wasn’t sick anymore and he went one step better…he went to heaven. They are both dealing with it in their own way. Maria seems sad, but says she’s okay. Jeremy sat with her in Charlie’s spot today and told her it was okay to be sad and hugged on her. Grant is being a silly man, acting goofy and trying to make us laugh.
The hard thing with having kids is trying to process on your own, while meeting their needs and questions. Jeremy and I both can’t get over how quiet the house is and how much we were just used to all the sounds Charlie made…his sleep whooping, the groaning he’d do when he got a good scratch behind the ear, the way he’d wallow against the couch trying to get an itch and the way he’d dance around when it got remotely close to 5:00 dinner. Charlie was great with the kids and never once tried to nip or bark at them when they were climbing in his bed with him or on him. Charlie was a stubborn pain in the butt and never stopped eating his own poop, but he was our pain in the butt and we will miss him.