Death and Rebirth

I've had a number of dogs as companions in my life, and the one I'm closest to is still with me, fortunately. But as Clooney is a man's man and an actor's actor, Casey was a dog's dog. Last year on October 6th, I came home from game night and took her and Hannah out to do their business. Mrs. P woke up when I got in (at midnight) and came outside with us. Casey was obviously not well. She seemed very tired and not her normal happy self. We checked her out; her normally pink nose was very pale and her mouth was dry. We knew something wasn't right and so loaded her up in the car and took her to the emergency vet. After checking in and telling the on-duty vet what was going on, they took her back for some testing. After a half hour or so, the vet came back out with a syringe full of blood. She had extracted it from Casey's abdomen and told us that they needed to go in. We went back into the prep room and held her while they sedated her. She was in good spirits (as always) and simply fell asleep. The last time I saw her was when the vet carried her out of prep and into the OR. She died a few hours later.

The diagnosis was splenetic tumors that ruptured. She had had a small tumor on her leg a year or so before, but regular check-ups hadn't picked up anything else. We went home around 6AM to a very empty house. The wife took a Xanax; I abstained in case anything else needed to be done. We laid down to try to get some sleep. I think I slept a couple of hours, but I kept waking up. Casey always laid in between us at night when we slept and I couldn't get used to it. For some reason, Muse's "Sing for Absolution" kept rolling through my internal radio.

The next few weeks were really hard, both for us and for Hannah. Hannah is quite a smart dog, maybe the smartest I've known. But she couldn't understand why Casey wasn't around. Of course, neither could we.

Halloween and Thanksgiving rolled by; we had our Christmas cards made. Each year, we have our picture taken with our dogs. Last year it was just the two of us with Hannah. Sending them out was tough, especially knowing that some of the folks we sent them to wouldn't know about Casey until they got the card.

We kept having to tell the story of what happened.

Mrs. P made me promise to post about Casey. I had already decided that I wouldn't post again until I could. Even now it's difficult to do, but it's time.

After a few weeks, I had started thinking about finding another dog. Obviously not a replacement, but a new companion. Someone that needed a home; we certainly needed a new pack member. Hannah had problems adjusting to being an only dog. We had problems adjusting to being a pack of three. But I didn't want to rush things and I didn't want to do anything without the wife's OK.

A few weeks before Christmas, we were out having dinner when she said she had been thinking about maybe getting another dog. I knew then that it was time.

One of Mrs. P's old friends has started a dog rescue non-profit called Two by Two Rescue. I emailed her and told her I was looking for a new dog. I went out a couple of times and looked at the pups needing homes and finally made a choice: Wilber. He was a big sloppy puppy - half St. Bernard, half Labrador. At nine weeks he was nearly 20 pounds. Because of our holiday schedule, we were going to be out of town on Christmas day, so I convinced a couple of our friends to hold him until we got back the day after.

I went on the 23rd to pick up Wilber. It didn't go quite as planned. First, I was running a bit late. Second, the couple was also going to keep Hannah while we were gone and I ended up forgetting to bring two crates - one for Hannah and one for the new pup. Next, I forgot to bring the collar and tag I had gone and had made for Wilber; Two by Two's policy is that you bring an ID tag when you come to pick up your adoptee. So after I dropped off Hannah, I drove back to the pet store and had another tag made. Except I misspelled my own damn name on this one. Since I didn't know if we were going to change Wilber's name, I decided to just put "Pierce" on the tag with out cell numbers. Unfortunately, I left off the "C" a it simply read "Piere." Yeah, that's a running joke now. Finally, I was all ready and made it to the kennels. However, the lady with the rescue operations was running late and I ended up standing around for nearly an hour until she showed up. Which really worked out for the best; I picked a different dog and our life hasn't been the same since. We ended up with Zoey.

Sometimes I feel like I'm projecting. Zoey has so many of Casey's traits it's stunning. She's playful. She gets the worried "Casey-face." She loves everyone she meets. She's the same build and color (that really wasn't planned!). She loves the cats. She sleeps between us at night.

There are differences. Zoey chases her tail; Casey never did. Casey always tore straight into her dinner; Zoey gets distracted too easily and will leave half her bowl at times.

I know that Zoey isn't a replacement. She's even better. She's what Casey would have wanted us to have.


At the beginning of August, the Wife was driving around running errands and came across a stray barely hanging on to life. After a number of vet trips and nursing, we now have another member of the pack: Lulu.


1031 said...

Such a nice-looking puppy. I'm sorry to hear about Casey. I know how it feels.

Welcome back to the land of blogging. So much has changed. Or maybe not.

How long did it take you to figure out the $63 thing? I think I sat there looking at the question on the test for maybe five minutes, running through all the various bills in my head before I remembered that, yes, $2 do exist.

fat_toad said...

one more life story with a happy