Monday, September 17, 2012

Our Dylan Doodle

It has taken me a few days to get the courage to sit down and write about Dylan.  I have never lost a pet before and this experience has broken my heart.  Dan and I adopted Dylan our first year of marriage.  We originally wanted to get another dog so Bella (our dachshund) would have a friend to play with while we were at work all day.  Little did we know how much we would love our little guy. The first thing we noticed about Dylan was the way he sat.  He would sit straight up with his legs sticking out.  He also had these huge ears that always stood up.  We weren't sure how old he was but they told us he was around 6 months old.  His paws were kind of big for his size so we assumed he would get really big. We didn't necessarily want a bigger dog but his personality was so good we decided we would adopt him.  He ended up being only 22 pounds and never grew into his big ears but that made him so cute.  He also had old man qualities like long hairs growing around his mouth.  When we would get him bathed they would want to trim him hair and we always told him no.  It was too cute.

When we adopted him they told us that he had a small case of mange.  They gave us some medicine and we went on our way.  Over the next few months his hair fell out, he itched all the time and continued to get worse.  He was uncomfortable and looked terrible but still kept his happy personality.  Dan and I were determined to cure him.  We eventually found an amazing vet that helped him and cured him of his mange.  The vet said he had never seen a case as bad as Dylan's.

We thought that the mange was going to be the worse thing we would have to deal with but we were wrong.  Two years ago he threw out his back.  We did back surgery, nursed him back to health and were so thankful that he recovered when we knew that there was a chance that he wouldn't.  This dog was incredible.  He had to sit in a crate for months and could only come out for therapy or going outside.  He never complained and over time recovered.  We had to make sure he didn't jump or run too fast and have always been paranoid about him getting hurt again.  When Dylan would walk he would be a little off.  When he would run his back legs wouldn't follow his front legs.  That didn't stop him from having a good time.

Excuse the large pregnant woman in the picture
A year ago he started limping and I immediately panicked.  Our vet gave him pain meds and we once again crated him for a few weeks and he recovered.  This has happened three times in the past year.  Monday night I was taking out the trash and Dylan was following me and he went up two steps and yelped.  I knew something bad had just happened.  I made him lay down the rest of the night and gave him pain meds.  He was limping but could still walk.  In the middle of the night I woke up at 4 am to Bella sitting by my bed and Dylan underneath the bed panting.  I could tell he was in pain.  I stayed with him and got him into the vet first thing Tuesday morning.  I went to a new vet near our house and explained to him Dylan's history and he immediately said that we needed to do surgery again.  Dan and I decided against surgery because the chance of him recovering was slim and we did not want to put him through that again.  I brought him home Tuesday afternoon with pain meds in hopes with some rest he would recover just like he always had.

Tuesday evening he lost all feeling in his legs and couldn't move.  Wednesday morning he quit wagging his tail and couldn't control his bladder.  I knew then a tough decision would have to be made.  I called our old vet and made an appointment with him for Thursday afternoon.  Wednesday Dylan didn't improve at all and his spirits seemed down.  To top off this really bad week, Dan was out of town for work.

After days of crying and heartache we decided that depending on what our vet said, we would have to say goodbye to Dylan.  We decided that as active as he was he would not be happy laying around all day with no feeling in his back and legs and not being able to control his bladder.  It was an agonizing decision to make and I have to believe that we made the right choice for our pup. 

I didn't have dogs growing up and I always thought that they would just be a fun pet to have.  I didn't realize how much you would actually love them.  Our dogs are our furry kids and they were our babies before we had a baby.  Dogs are always happy to see you, they get excited when you talk to them, they are a constant companion.  Little things like going on a car ride or taking a walk will make their day.  I do know that part of having a pet is knowing that they most likely not outlive you.  Eventually they will go to heaven and you will have to deal with the loss.  I didn't think we would lose Dylan as fast as we did, but I wouldn't change anything about our time with him.  He set the expectations high for our future pets and we miss him dearly. Our house seems quiet and lonely right now.  Bella sleeps all the time and just lifts her head when we walk through the door.  I know that we will get used to the quiet eventually but for now it is a reminder that Dylan is no longer with us. 

I needed to write the story of Dylan for myself for closure.  I want to remember our spunky little man and how much joy he brought to our lives.  I want to remember how Dylan would sit against me every time I would sit on the ground, how he would chew on Bella's ears all the time, how his whiskers hung down past his mouth and how his feet would sit straight out when he sat.  Every morning when I would get ready he would sit next to me.  All of these quirky things made Dylan special and we will miss our favorite boy.  Give your pets extra attention today and pet them a little longer than you normally do because you are just as lucky to have them as they are to have you.

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