This is post that I’ve been sitting on for a few days now. It’s not an easy one for me to write, and unlike many of my blog posts, this one is not really about education. But it is a reminder to me that as educators, we’re humans, and at times, we are forced to process some really big feelings of our own. In the past five days I’ve been doing just that.
Friday morning, I started off my day as I always do by reading Doug Peterson‘s This Week In Ontario Edublogs post. Among the different blog posts featured was one by Beth Lyons. This post is a very emotional read about a very hard time in Beth and her family’s life: the passing of their beloved dog. I commented on Beth’s post at the time, but also mentioned in my tweeted reply that her post had me thinking about one of my own, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to write it yet.
This is that post. Before I write any more, I should mention a couple of things.
- This post does not discuss the death of a pet.
- This post does discuss health problems with a pet, some of which may hit close to home for a few of my blog readers.
If you find this post too much to read right now, I completely understand. As I contemplated publishing it, I thought about the many reasons that I blog. One of the reasons is to process my emotions. It was the reason that I blogged when my dad passed away, and it was the reason that I blogged when one of my dogs passed away. It’s the reason that I’m blogging again now.
As many of my blog readers know, I have two dogs. Molly and Sammy are loyal, affectionate cockapoos, and I love them both dearly.
While Molly is happier lying down and taking naps, Sammy — the younger of the two dogs — has always been a free spirit. She goes back to bed when everyone else is up. She runs and jumps like crazy, and can fly up and down stairs and from the sofa to the chair and back again. Her favourite time of all is a morning walk, and she makes a high-pitched crying sound to remind you that it’s time to go. Sammy is as loyal as they come, and as soon as my car — or even my parents’ car — turns the corner onto the street, she is flinging herself into the window, jumping up and down, and barking/crying in anticipation of someone she loves being close by. She’s also an acrobat! I like to think of her as part dog and part seal … nobody can jump higher for food than she can!
Or at least, nobody could … until Wednesday. By Wednesday morning, Sammy couldn’t see. At all. She was bumping into walls, unable to locate her food on the floor, and getting caught under the chairs in the kitchen.
The independent, feisty, free-spirited Sammy was missing. Thankfully my amazing mom stays with Sammy and Molly all day when I’m at school, and she watched Sammy carefully. She tumbled down the couple of stairs into the sunken living room, almost fell off the sofa, and walked into everything. Instead of being able to jump onto furniture with ease, she just stood there until someone lifted her up. Then she jumped down from the sofa and landed on Molly, which was not well-received.
Welcome Dr. Google! May I suggest that you never Google medical symptoms. Her glazed over eyes made my parents and I wonder if it could be SARDS. I got a vet appointment on Friday at 4:30. Yes, it looks like it might be SARDS. Sammy’s vision is now almost completely gone. But there’s more … It’s also diabetes. Her glucose level is through the roof. This led to more blood tests on Saturday, a vet appointment on Tuesday evening, and a lot more Googling. Have I mentioned that Googling is not the thing to do?!
This sweet, affectionate, wonderful dog is going to need to get insulin a couple of times a day, with many a prayer that things only improve from here. The prognosis could be great or it could be really, really bad. And Sammy’s vision will not be coming back. I realize that the diagnosis could have been worse, and I’m preparing myself that things might get worse still. I’ve shed a lot of tears over the past five days. A lot.
Right now, I’m working my way through accepting that the dog I knew — the hyperactive, affectionate, acrobatic, please-rub-my-belly-multiple-times-a-day dog — is a very different pet right now. In 48 hours, her world went completely dark, and she’s trying to navigate her new existence while also working through some big medical needs. Yes, her tail still goes non-stop, and she seems happy, but this docile, sleepy, still dog is very different than the one that I had around at the beginning of last week.
I can’t help but think about conversations that I had with parents from school many years ago after completing checklists on their children. I remember their fears about putting their children on medication because their kids wouldn’t be the same as they were before. These past five days have helped me empathize with these parents more. I’m losing the Sammy-that-was while trying hard to adjust to the Sammy-that-will-be … for hopefully many, many more years to come.
This was Sammy just over a week ago …
Life changes on a dime. How could this same dog be so very different in such a short period of time? Here’s to hoping that the hurt, fear, and sadness becomes less in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. I’ve had a permanent lump in my throat for the past five days, and I’m hoping that blogging provides that cathartic feeling that I need right now. As I’ve been reminded recently, Sammy needs me, but I also need Sammy. Maybe more than she will ever know.