If you receive the weekly email of our posts, you know I’ve not been posting much for the past few months, and hardly anything at all this month. It’s been a hard year. It started off with me having health issues, then two my animals, both of whom are elderly and who are not just pets to me but family, starting having major health problems.
On September 23, on his birthday, my beloved bluetick heeler/Australian Shepard mix, Murphy “Murph Man” Mroch Pryor, had his first set of seizures. He’d never had them before. The first one happened at 8:30 a.m. I was getting ready to go to a USTA match when I heard something banging on the door. I thought Murph was trying to scratch what sounded like it must be one hell of an itch. That’s when I found him against the door banging it into the wall as he seized.
Awful. I had planned on treating him to a walk, possibly in the park, later that day. Instead, he spent the day at the vet under observation. He didn’t have any more seizures while with them. He had two more than night when I got him home. We went back to the vet the next day and they got him started on meds.
He was fine, no more seizures, for about a month. Then he had two more. The fifth, and last one, was the worst. I was surprised he survived it. As I watched that one both start and stop (I had never seen any of the others start, I just heard them as they were in progress), I thought I was watching him die. I’m glad he didn’t. That would’ve been an awful last memory.
We increased his meds and he managed along for about another month. He was doing so well he even felt up to going for long walks sometimes again.
Walks were his favorite. So was getting in the car and jaunting about with his mom, whether it was a long jaunt to somewhere new on vacation or just a short jaunt to the park.
But his hip dysplasia started bothering him so much that getting in and out of the car wasn’t fun. Nor was riding in the car. It was too hard for him to get comfortable. I lost my co-pilot.
But this past weekend I lost him for good. He started throwing up Friday night all of a sudden. Out of the blue. We’d had a nice long family walk twice on Thanksgiving. Friday evening he had a smaller, but still substantial walk. About two hours later was when the vomiting started.
We took him to our vet Saturday morning. By this time he was in serious pain. You only had to look at him once to know. They x-rayed him and quickly discerned he’d need more intensive care than they could give. They called ahead to the pet ER and told them we were coming, sent his charts, and away we went.
They got him on pain meds, anti-nausea meds,and fluids. We called in at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to check on his status. They were very pleased with how well he’d responded so far. The next step would be trying to get him to eat. That would happen the next morning, but if he did well then he’d get to come home the next day.
We called first thing Sunday to see how he’d done overnight. Fine. Still was doing good. Had walked himself out of his cage without help to go pee pee. They were ready to try some food.
That’s when it all went wrong. He immediately refused the food and started showing signs of distress and pain again. They got him more pain meds then did an ultrasound.
Bad news. Fluid in his abdomen. They got a sample and tested it. It was septic. He’d need emergency surgery.
That’s when they called us. But surgery was going to be astronomical ($5,000-$8,000) and his chances of survival were minimal. If he had been 2 instead of 12…maybe. But not in the current state he was in.
We asked them to try to keep him comfortable until we could get there. No sooner had we hung up and grabbed our coats than they called again and said he was in cardiac arrest. He ended up passing right then.
Murph was more than a dog. He was even more than a pet. He was so smart, gentle, kind, and compassionate. I never trained him to do anything. Not to stay, sit, “give me five” or “Stick ’em up!”. I would talk to him and he’d do his “tricks” or behaving.
We put him on a leash to walk him, but he didn’t really need one. He minded with voice commands. Again, we didn’t teach him. He proved to us time and time again he understood “human.”
Sadly, I didn’t always understand “dog” but he was patient. He’d find new ways to try and convey whatever he was trying to tell me until I eventually got it. And he never judged me for not being as smart as him.
It has been a very difficult past few months. (He’s needed more care and vet visits than normal, and so has our elderly cat, Mr. Meow.)
I have wanted to write but when I’ve had the time I haven’t had the energy. I’ve been feeling very lost ever since those first seizures in September because I knew my time with him was drawing to an end.
But now that the end has come, I feel even more lost. He was my constant companion. He knew our routine. When I headed into the office to work, he took up his spot beside me. When he knew I needed a break, he’d let me know, “Hey mom. You’ve been sitting too long. Time for a break.”
Now he’s gone and there’s a huge void in both the space beside me and my heart.
I will be taking some time to heal. I hope to return if not before the end of this year, early next.
In case I don’t come back until next year, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season and a peaceful New Year.