Jul 7, 2011

More about Gucci's death & knowing what heartbreak actually feels like--also photos


Late last night I stumbled back home after one of the most awful and grueling days and nights of my life. The absolute love of my life, my little Brussels Griffon doggie, Gucci, got sick and was throwing up all night July 5th and throughout the morning of July 6th. I stayed up with her all night, on the kitchen floor (because it stays nice and cool and that’s where she was comfortable).. Then yesterday morning I called the vet and they told me to come there in the mid-afternoon. In the meantime, she had completely stopped eating and then stopped even drinking water, I guess because she would throw up every time she even took a sip. She wasn't looking good, but frankly, since she developed Cushing's Disease about a year and a half ago, she's never been quite the same dog as far as energy levels, etc. Also, because of the Cushings, she has spent a LOT of time at the vet over the past year and a half, having to frequently do these very expensive tests to check her cortisol levels, etc, which are designed to make sure that her $125.00 worth of medicine that she takes for the Cushings each month are working properly. In fact, about a month and a half ago, I asked for this same test to be performed again, because although I couldn't put my finger on it, I just had a feeling things weren't "OK" with her. But, the tests came back saying her levels were within the ranges they should be. However, she still seemed "off" to me, but the vet kept saying no, she was all OK.  

Anyway, yesterday I took her over to the vet around 2:30PM, which was the first available appt time they had, and she seemed weak and lethargic. When she saw the vet and the first set of blood work came back, the vet said the numbers for her kidney functions didn't look very good, so she wanted to do a couple more tests. I told the vet EVERYTHING I could think to tell her about Gucci's behavior and manner being "off" for a while now, so she'd have all the facts needed to treat her. She said Gucci would need to be in the back room (in the treatment area) so they could keep a close eye on her, and they hooked her up to IV solution, so she wouldn't be dehydrated and they sent me home for 2 hours. I came back at closing time (for this regular vet), thinking I was going to pick my baby up and take her home with me, but the vet felt she should stay on IV Fluids all night and have the intake/output monitored and the only way to make that happen was to have her transferred to the closest All Night Animal E.R. Hospital. So, they had me drive her there, (about a 15 minute drive) and I no sooner handed her over to them when all hell broke loose. I guess because the veterinarians in this Vet Hospital typically ONLY deal with emergencies, they are probably much better prepared and know certain signs to look for, and they immediately saw that her tongue and gums were blue, which means she wasn't getting enough oxygen. She went into cardiac arrest and to their credit, the folks in this E.R Vet Hospital valiantly did everything humanly possible--I mean they had a crew of 6 to 7 people working on her at all times, (which included 2 vets and the rest were vet techs) and they worked on her for about 4 hours, pushing all kinds of different meds, keeping her on oxygen, intubating and breathing for her and doing CPR for so long that they had to keep changing the people who were performing it, since they kept getting worn out and covered with sweat. They tried and tried everything to get her back and her sweet little heart kept trying to come back, but then it would go again and these people never stopped until I finally told them they could stop after the last time her little heart hadn't come back for almost 30 minutes (because I knew by then she wasn't coming back and if by some chance she did, because her brain had been deprived of oxygen for soooooo long, she wouldn't have any quality of life and she deserved nothing less than the perfect life she'd always had). So before they took her off all the life support she was hooked up to, I scooped her up in my arms and held her for the last time, rocking her and kissing her, I had her all snuggled up against my heart where she loved to lay, and talked to her for quite a while, just in the off chance she could hear me. Earlier when they were working on her, I had begged her over and over to please stay with me, that I needed her, but now it was time to tell her it was OK for her to go and that I would always love her. And as I held the little love of my life for the last time, I literally physically felt my heart break in a million pieces.

And now I'm left trying to figure out what happened and how things could go so badly, so quickly. Considering this dog has been so closely monitored by the vet because of her Cushing's Disease for sooo long, I don't understand how a underlying condition (like a heart problem!) could be missed. The E.R.vets last night told me they believe she'd been having heart problems for a while, but my question is, how could her own vet miss such a thing?? Believe me, if we'd known, we would have taken her to the best Cardiac vet in the area. In fact last night there was a plan early on to have her transferred to a cardiac surgeon in L.A.in an animal ambulance, but they could never get her stabilized enough for transfer. I'm left with so many questions right now and yes, I know I can have a doggie autopsy performed, but I just don't want her little body to be put through anything else.

What bothers me is that I've been telling her own vet for a couple months that she seemed "off", which is why I had asked for that last test that checks her cortisol levels to make sure they were alright (because of her Cushings disease). When the cortisol levels on those tests came back as normal, I still knew something was not OK with her, but I couldn't pin down what it was. And I guess because those tests came back as OK, my regular vet decided not to investigate any further.

However, I knew this little doggie better than anyone else, because I was with her day in, day out for her entire life (10 years). And because of that, I really feel as if my concerns should have carried more weight and her regular vet should have done some more investigating and testing.

Gucci is what I call my "Once in a Lifetime Dog". Because dogs have shorter life spans than we humans, most of us dog lovers own several dogs within our lives. But I do believe within that group, although we love them all, we each get one, very, very special dog that we love and adore above all others, and this is what I call our "ONCE IN A LIFETIME DOG". Without question, Gucci was certainly that for me.

I've spent literally almost 24 hours a day with Gucci for her entire life (she was only 10 years old when she died last night and should have had a life expectancy of average 15 years). Wherever I was, there was Gucci, literally making the well-known description of the Brussels Griffon breed as the "true Velcro dog" completely true (they are never happier when they are velcro’d and stuck up against their owner). When I got up in the mornings and took a shower, she'd be right there with her little paws pressed against the glass shower doors, waiting for me to hurry up and get out, and as soon as I stepped out of the shower, I was greeted by tail-wagging and foot-kissing, as if I'd been away for months, LOL!! When I worked my online business at the computer, whether it was answering emails, typing the blog, editing together videos (where Gucci was always named as the Assistant to the Director!), she was always right there, laying across my feet as I typed. When I'd be going back and forth packing and weighing shipments for customers, she would be "velcro’d" to my leg, no matter how many times I went back and forth--she didn't care, because all she wanted was to be as close to me as possible (I always said if she could have lived inside my skin, I know she would have!!).

She was quite the traveler as well, whether it was going "bye-bye" in the car (in her own car seat!), or just hanging out with her family at our main family business in Downtown Huntington Beach, CA by the Pier. And she knew how to work people to get them to come into the store, even if they thought they were going to just hurry by on the way to the beach--all it took was one look from Gucci and they were putty in her little paws. She was well-known by those who worked in the Huntington Beach Downtown Business District and she knew which businesses were ready to hand her some "doggie treats". But also, from the very beginning of her life, Gucci was also a long-distance traveler. She always traveled with me in the airline cabin, with her little dog carrier tucked underneath the seat in front of me (where my feet should have been!) - in fact, she took her first jet ride with me about 1 week after I first got her, (so she would have only been about 12-13 weeks old!!) and she continued to travel with me, especially when I'd fly back home to Omaha where my parents and my only sibling live. She even had her very own Doggie Frequent Flyer Card with one of the main airlines we used for those trips!! For last summer's CHA Convention (in Chicago) she and I first flew into Omaha, where I got her settled in with my Mom (they adored one another!), I spent the night there and then I traveled onto Chicago on my own, while she stayed and partied with my Mom and my sister, Gail (they also had a mutual love-fest!!). When CHA was over, I flew back to Omaha, where we hung out with my family for a while longer. That would now have been her last plane trip.

She was the most amazing dog I've ever known and everyone that met her knew she was something very special and precious. I've never known another dog who was as loving and absolutely devoted to me, as well as the rest of our family. The fact that this breed, Brussels Griffon, have the most-human-like face of any dog breed (which is why they used this breed in the movie, "As Good As It Gets" with Jack Nicholson), made her able to have facial expressions like a little person, especially with her huge, amazingly expressive, beautiful eyes. This fabulous dog has seen me through several failed back surgeries and the 24/7 pain those failed back surgeries have left me with. Many days when I was in such horrific pain, Gucci was the one and ONLY reason I would actually get up out of bed. I know that this darling dog has quite literally saved my life, more than once. And all she ever asked in return for everything she gave to me and everyone around her was love, a little snuggle, a tummy rub and one of her favorite cookies. It was truly unconditional love.

Right now while typing this I am still sobbing and have been all night and morning long and even sleeping pills didn't work last night, even though I'd been awake with Gucci all night long the night before, so I'm now 48 hours with no sleep!! My own heart felt as if it broke into a million pieces last night when it was finally over and right now it still feels the same. I actually feel as if I've been run over by a big truck and I hurt everywhere. I can say without question that this is what heartbreak feels like, because my heart physically hurts so badly right now, it even hurts to breathe. I'm not sure how long this will last. I haven't eaten since day before yesterday and haven't slept for 2 nights and all I want to do is crawl into a hole and never come out.

Everywhere I look I see Gucci's things all around me and each time I do, it's another hard blow to the chest. I wish these stupid sleeping pills would actually work, because I keep thinking if I could just go to sleep, even for a while, that I might get some relief from these devastating feelings as well as the physical pain.

I will be taking a few days off while I try to recover and hopefully anesthetize myself with large doses of Ambien. I keep hoping that maybe this will have all been a nightmare. I am broken and devastated beyond words. Please understand that I will be AWOL for a few days, probably until the beginning of next week…

I know the timing is bad with the brand new Spellbinders releases being shown on the Spellbinder's blog, but just know that (as always) you can send me your orders in email and I will take care of getting them for you. Please email me with your orders at glendascreativeplace@yahoo.com and please out the word "ORDER" in your email subject line.

Thank you for your understanding, I'm going to now crawl back under the covers again with Gucci's blankie (it still smells like her) and stay there (I hope) for a very long time.
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OK, I finally was able to come back and add some photos of Gucci:


Gucci as Puppy-1

Gucci as Puppy-2

Gucci as Puppy-3

Gucci in Glenda's arms, with her sister Gail & Mom Gwen.

Gucci making Glenda's sis Gail and nephew Andrew laugh.


Gucci with Glenda's Dad, Jerry.

Gucci as tiny puppy trying to show Dad's dog, Trouble, just who is the boss!

Gucci with Glenda's Mom, Gwen.

Again, Gucci attempts to show Dad's dog, Trouble who is large (well, maybe not large!) and in charge!

Gucci with Glenda's sister, Gail.

Gucci with Catherine-the Party Girls have turned to party poopers, LOL!! 

Gucci-official Party Girl with Glenda and Moe.
Gucci collage
Gucci- just too sweet and too cute.
Gucci with cute hair bow!
Gucci hanging out in the porch swing with Glenda on another gorgeous southern California day.
Gucci, ready for a nap, laying in the porch swing with Glenda.
Gucci-more hanging out with Glenda in the porch swing.
Gucci begging Glenda for a tummy rub in the porch swing!
Gucci-1 more on Porch swing
Gucci snuggling in Glenda's arms on Glenda's Birthday!

Gucci with Glenda-Partying at my sister's house on another Omaha Vacation!!
Gucci with my nephew, Andrew at another Omaha Vacation party!
Gucci being a lazy girl on vacation in Omaha!
Gucci with Glenda and her cousin, Dick at his Kentucky ranch.
Gucci with Glenda's Mom, Gwen-returning to an autumn snowstorm (Gucci's first and only time in the snow ever!!) from vacation in Kentucky.
Gucci-rocking her Christmas outfit!
Gucci with Matthew--Matt was helping her open her gifts, LOL!!!
Gucci sitting at Moe's feet on Christmas morning.
Gucci in Moe's arms Christmas morning.
Gucci modeling new Santa hat on Christmas morning.
Gucci snuggled in Moe's arms, ready for a Christmas morning nap.
Gucci with Bubba (Matt's dog, my grandpuppy!!) Christmas morning.
Gucci trying to show Matthew her new Christmas outfit!
Gucci on Christmas morning,  wondering if all those gifts under the tree belong to her.
Gucci and Bubba (my grandpuppy!) snuggling in with Moe for a long Christmas nap.
Gucci in Glenda's arms. along with Shawn, Moe and friend, Ali.
Gucci snuggling with Shawn for a nap and a tummy rub.
Gucci, my best friend, love of my life and greatest dog that ever lived.  R.I.P. Gucci, July 6th, 2011.  Gucci, I love you and I miss you more than I can ever say.  Please wait for me at the Rainbow Bridge.

9 comments:

  1. your story is so sad, your love for that little doggy is quite evident, I'm sorry.

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  2. I am so beyond sorry for your loss and to hear about what happened to Gucci. She was truly an amazing dog and I know she was such a huge part of the family and touched the hearts of everyone who came in contact with her. It is so tragic reading this post and hearing the situation and how it happened. She was definitely a once in a lifetime dog and will be forever missed! My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Love Mary

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  3. I am so soory for your loss, Glenda! I know there is nothing I can say to ease your pain, but just know you and Gucci are in my prayers.

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  4. Oh I am so sorry for your loss. I can totally understand how you feel as I also have a 'dog of a lifetime' and I would be beyond myself if we lost her although we almost have 3 times. I don't know how she survived. My heart goes out to you and just know that she is in my prayer as are you.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your love. There are no words to soothe your heart. I have felt that pain and it just hurts. I will cry again just thinking of your sorrow and the pain I've experienced with the loss of my four legged family members. I'm so sorry.

    Diania

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  6. I so so sorry Glenda, it just broke my heart reading your story do I can imagine how you are feeling. Just be comforted by all the many memories you have of her God Bless
    Donna

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  7. I am very sorry for your loss!

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  8. Glenda, I know what you mean by your Once In A Lifetime Dog. It's so true. I also know your pain. I hope you are able to get some sleep. It will help. Gucci will always have a special place in your heart and in time you will find joy and comfort again with your memories of her.

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  9. It's SO hard to understand and hard to get over. I totally feel for you since I have 5 dogs on my 'wall of fame' that have gone to doggy heaven. Thumper, was 7 when within 36 hours died of cancer (at least that's the vets best guess, we didn't autopsy either) I knew she was a little off for about a week but didn't do anything. The next 2 we had to put down, that's hard, very hard to decide when they go. I still cry when I think about them. But my brother says "Dogs have such short lives so you can give your love to another dog". When you ready, you might. As far as why your vet missed it, perhaps it wasn't bad until recently, don't over analyze it. Cry, you need it, hopefully you'll sleep soon. And I'm sure we'll all say, we're here for you.

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