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December 12th, 2017

Sad

Life after Germany has been kind of crazy busy. There have been many adventures, but there's really only one thing on my mind right now.

Tallulah passed away yesterday.

In the last couple of months, there was a steady drop in her energy levels which we attributed to simply getting old. She was about 14 years old, so we estimate. She was a rescue, so it's impossible to know for certain. At any rate, a month ago she developed a cough which the vet thought might be the result of a heart murmur. Then, about a week ago Friday, she was feeling really low. We took her to the vet who saw she had a slight fever and back pain, so they gave her an antibiotic infusion and some painkillers for her back. That seemed to revive her until last Friday when she more or less had a repeat performance of the previous Friday. Lisa had a girls night out of town in Harrisburg on Saturday, so I stayed with Tallulah throughout the day, not feeling too great myself. She didn't eat on Friday, but took wet food on Saturday and Sunday morning. Sunday, I knew something was seriously wrong. Her cough wasn't as frequent, but it was starting to sound more like a wheeze, and she wasn't taking water. As soon as Lisa got home, we bundled her off to the emergency vet where it was confirmed that she had large tumors in her lungs.

After some initial tears, we confirmed that she was stable enough to bring home so we could have in home euthanasia arranged. They recommended a service which essentially is a vet who does house calls for this sort of thing. For those in the DC area with pets, the service is Tranquility Veterinary Services. The vet, Dr. Rathjens, is definitely the person you want to call when you need to do something like this. Anyway, we made the arrangements, and then spent one last night with our little Miss. She pretty much just slept the whole time, but would pop her head up every now and then to look around. We were with her to the end.

Monday, Lisa called in sick. I did a little work early in the morning, mostly just to move everything to Tuesday so I could concentrate on my family. Tallulah couldn't eat breakfast, so we just lay with her in bed. The doctor was originally scheduled for 4, but we moved it up to 12:30 when Lisa decided to call in sick. We weren't exactly in a hurry to say goodbye, but she was clearly uncomfortable, and we didn't want her to suffer any longer than she had to. We sat in the family room and took some final pictures with her, cried, told her we loved her and what a great dog she is, and gently stroked her head to help comfort her. When the doctor arrived, she was very compassionate both to us and to Tallulah. We debated letting Clyde stay in the room, but decided to let him stay so he could get a sense of closure. When Tobey died, we had to put him to sleep at the clinic as he had a broken leg that was never going to get better, as he had bone cancer. I remember Tallulah looking for him in the days after he passed, and didn't want Clyde to have to do that if it could be avoided. I think it was the right call. He didn't seem to want to be too close to her while she was passing, which is understandable, but when she was gone, he seemed to understand what had happened.

Her last moments were very quiet, and peaceful. We put her into her bed with a pee pee pad under her in case, well, you know. Before the initial sedation we kissed and petted her, telling her how much we loved her, and that she was a great dog over and over again. With the initial sedation, she became very relaxed, and sleepy, but still more or less awake. After a while, when it was time for the final injection, she reacted defensively, so we waited a little longer, and then gave her a little more sedative. (A fighter right to the end) That seemed to have done the trick because the second attempt to give her the final injection was successful. After that, it was a slow process of her drifting into unconsciousness, and then slowly and gently letting go.

We opted to have her cremated and her ashes buried in a pet cemetery that the doctor had a connection with. We're not the sort to keep ashes in urns or anything like that. We took her collar off of her, and the doctor gently lifted her and put her in a little basket with a blanket covered in stars placed over her.

Afterward, we cried, held each other, and then broke out the emergency bottle of champagne we keep in the fridge. In crystal flutes (given to us for our wedding by another great dog lover, David S. Greene who had passed a couple of years before from cancer) we toasted her and spent the afternoon alternatively crying, holding each other, playing with Clyde, snuggling with Clyde, and going over our memories of Tallulah. We somehow managed to eat some brie that we had in the fridge, but couldn't bring ourselves to eat actual dinner. In fact, we crashed sometime around 8 or 9 as we hadn't really slept the night before.

I'm sad as hell, and will be for some time. Although I had more time to prepare for this than I had with Tobey, it's still a gut punch, and while I loved them equally, somehow, Tallulah's passing is proving to be a lot harder for me. Maybe it's because she was so little, or because she was so lively when she was healthy, or maybe it's because she taught Tobey to play. She was always a daddy's girl, and incredibly cute throughout her life.

I'm going to try to post here more regularly now. You can pretty much expect the next few days to be filled with pictures of Tallulah's life both with Tobey and Clyde. Here's a preview:





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