Friday, July 8, 2011

My Curly Q

It is 3am. I just came off of 42 hours without sleep, you would think that I would be out like a light.  Instead, I am laying here in bed, wide awake, with a nasty headache feeling heartbroken.

We are dog people, through and through.  They are such a part of our lives.  Last night we lost an amazing part of our life.  We lost our Curly.  Mind you, this is my self pity, my greediness coming through.  But, it was his 18th birthday. :(  He made it to 18 - how many goldens can say that?

New Year's Eve - 2002
He instantly fit in with our pack!
Curly was our last GRRoW adoption.  Aside from our female golden, all of our k9 units have come through rescues.  I don't need a cute little ball of fluff to fall in love.  A simple wagging tail and pair of big brown eyes should suffice.  Curly was one of special needs adoptions.  I ALWAYS seem to go for poor pup with the most heartbreaking sad story.  Riley was one of those and then came Curly. Curly was a 9 year-old golden - with a beautiful red curly coat.  He was deathly afraid of loud noises - fireworks and t-storms and the like (a fear which I got him to get over!).  He ran off during the 4 of July celebrations of 2002 .  When they found him, he was heartworm positive.  One treatment is hard enough, Curly needed, and amazingly, survived two.
                                                                                He was amazing right from the start.  His foster mom even tried to scare us off with how much work he would be.  (I have to call her and let her know.) He really wasn't much work at all - no hard food, if he got a hold of any, you had to dig it out of his throat.  Ewwww.  So, we made Curly Shakes.  Curly out-lived, I don't know how many blenders!  Curly had a misshapen throat, it was at a 90 degree angle AND he had mega-esophagus - essentially, he couldn't swallow properly.  In December of 2008, he was diagnosed with Stomach cancer that had spread to his liver and lungs.  We prayed that he would make it through the holidays.  He did, and two more sets after that.

Curly just wanted to be loved and to give love.  He worked in both of our classrooms.  With J's classes, it was "Curling up with a Good Book" where reluctant readers would read to him.  In my classes, the goldens just hung out. One of my biggest, bad-a$$ thugs would make sure he was in school - in my class - when Curly was there.  He reached some of those kids in ways I could only imagine.  (I will get some of those pictures on here once I get into my classroom and bring them home.)

J brought up the recliner in the middle when I was pregnant with O
It gave me a change of venue from the couch.
You can see who was making use of it.
I can also say that he and I had a very special connection.  Without any training, he became a seizure dog.  Curly could tell before I knew that my seizures were coming, big or small, he knew.  He would come, nose at me and bug me until I sat down.  When my seizures were 100s per week, this was not a small feat.  It took me a bit to realize what was going on.  Not sure if it was the change in electrical energy he picked up on or perhaps there is a scent - no clue.  But my Curly boy knew.  We were bonded in a way that I have not experienced in all my life of k9s.  He got me through some rough times, just by hanging out with me.  He just knew.

A few months ago, I woke up to a horrible sight at 12am - Curly having a violent seizure.  It was a Blue shift, I was all alone and up for the rest of the night.  Curly lost his sight for a bit that night, was scared out of his mind and paced up and down the halls.  We got him on some meds, but the vet was very clear - seizures this late in life are never good, it is a sign of major neuro issues, not simple k9 epilepsy, which we were already familiar with.  Curly's seizures were violent and draining and all but one came in the middle of the night.

Wednesday night was one of those nights.  He woke me up with a violent thud - as he propelled himself off my bed.  I ran and got the ice packs, got those placed on his lower back (not sure why, but it helps shorten the duration of the sz.).  When he came to, I got him his vanilla ice cream (helps revive the blood sugar) - this time he wasn't interested.  Not a good sign.  We would repeat this at 2am, 3am, 4am and at 5am he started clustering.  As soon as my Curly would come back from a seizure, it would suck him back in.

I was so tired, so scared and so alone.  I got the kids up, my oldest got everyone fed so I could stay with my Curly Q and the boys went off to the day camp program in the neighborhood.  I was so thankful when J came home.  We called the vet and had the talk.  It was time.  Today was Curly's 18th birthday.  I guess he just had to make it to that milestone!  We celebrated with a peanut butter and vanilla ice cream shake during one of his more clear moments of the day.  Not the k9 party I had planned for the day, but we celebrated his life as we prepared for his passing.

Hangin' out with Willow after we lost Riley.  It hit him hard. :(
Dr. Waters is an amazing vet.  We have been with her, essentially since she graduated from vet school.
 She left the clinic where we met and opened up a mobile vet practice.  She comes to the house with her specially equipped RV and is wonderful.  This is especially appreciated when it comes time for everyone's annual check up.  Try holding on to two 70+lbs. k9s and a 120 lbs. ball of fluff while other dogs come and go.  NO FUN!  She was able to make it out last night.  I am especially appreciative, at times like these, to not have to walk out to the waiting room like a blubbering idiot, after saying good-bye.  We discussed if this was the right time - if there was anything else.  Dr. Waters simply said, "If he was mine, it would be time."  She will bring him home to us next week.

We called him the grandpa dog - his age, his personality, his love,
his patience - all made him who he was.
I am ETERNALLY grateful that J made a trade a few months ago.  It sucked having to go through all the seizures by myself, but it would have sucked so much more, having to say good-bye to Curly alone.  It was after all, a Blue shift.  J was supposed to be working.

Curly will be missed like crazy.  I can't sleep because he is not curled up in the crook of my legs and his collar is simply not enough.  There are a lot of tears in our house right now, but the joyous moments definitely outweigh any amount of tears.  Goodbye Curly Q. Your pawprints are tattooed on my heart. I know Riley was waiting for you on the other side of the rainbow bridge.  I will see you guys again someday.  Look for me.
Curly
July 7, 1993 - July 7, 2011
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