Friday, May 5, 2017

Oh, Baggins, Baggins, BagggINS.

Part 1 - Pre-5/4

This is Phil's fault.  I'm not supposed to be writing about Phil so soon, but here I am, 36 hours later.

The day that my post about Phil's mystery problems went live (yesterday at 0600) was kinda like any other day.  Although in the middle of the night, Phil had barked and when I turned on the light to inspect for problems (Meri harassing him, he needed to pee, anything), nothing was amiss so I told everyone to go back to bed.  Truthfully, his bark had scared the crap out of me and I jumped so hard I hurt my hip.  My gasp woke up Teh German who was like, "WTF!?"  He really doesn't like to be woken up in the middle of the night.  Everyone settled back down and our alarms went off at normal time.

Teh German was showering and Phil started to pant.  I took that as the "I gotta pee, Lady" sign and I rolled out of bed and headed downstairs to let them out.  Phil had his Cushings test Tuesday that week and his leg was extremely swollen which was abnormal, but after speaking with the vet's office on Wednesday about it, they said to monitor it and if it was still bad on Thursday to come in.

Phil was very hesitant to come down the stairs on Thursday morning.  Not wanting him to pee on the floor I demanded encouraged him down the stairs.  Then I noticed something amiss, Phil wasn't able to put his left front foot down properly and he was "knuckling."  I fixed his foot and he mostly stumbled (very scarily, I might add) down the stairs.  I let him out immediately and noticed his gait was off.

When Meri and Phil came back in for breakfast, Phil wasn't interested.  He laid down on his slumber ball and I tried to put the food in front of him.  Ever the foodie, Phil finally decided to eat, but he was going to stand to do it, which was a struggle.

By this point, Teh German has come downstairs to get ready to leave for work and has noticed Phil's "off" behavior.  Teh German was almost hysterical and not in a funny way.  I told him I couldn't deal with him being that way at this moment and focused on Phil.  Phil would take a few extra sloppy bites of food then walk away and do a circle and come back to his bowl.  It was like he wasn't aware where his food bowl is and once he almost flipped it.  When Phil was pretty much done, I let him back outside for business.  I let Meri eat his leftovers (which is a standard operating procedure).  When Phil came back inside, he laid down on a slumber ball.

I told Teh German that I'd be taking Phil to the vet as soon as they opened and I would call him.

Backstory: After Phil's test on Tuesday, Teh German and I had a difficult conversation about me not putting Phil through any more testing and just making him comfortable.  The night before everything happened, Teh German and I had a heart-to-heart (in the dark, well past bedtime, of course... True Megan style) and we discussed Phil and having to make the decision and we were sad about it.

After Teh German left, I messaged my boss to let her know that Phil was having issues and I might miss our meeting but I'd try to be in after the vet, if possible.  Have I mentioned lately how awesome Company is?  There was no issue and they told me to take care of Phil and they'd get someone to cover for me in the meeting.  Before going to get ready, I laid down with Phil on the slumber balls and talked to him.  I noticed that his heart was hammering irregularly.  Normally, I have to watch him for a long moment to make sure he is breathing...

After I showered, I called Teh Running Bestie (aka Phil's Other Momma) to let her know what was going on... aka, cry in her ear about how I was pretty sure that today was the day I was going to have to make the worst decision ever.

After getting ready, I went downstairs to find Phil exactly where he had been since he'd came in from breakfast business.  This was strange because Phil is a velcro dog.  I rarely get to leave his sight unless something is significantly wrong.  I couldn't get Phil up to get him loaded into the car.  I called Roux's Humom to assist me with getting Phil into the car, but she wasn't answering.

Teh PT Wife just happened to still be home (because some asshole decided to take a bat to the back window of her work vehicle) and she was able to come over and help me carry Phil, and his slumber ball, and put them in the back of Yurtle.  This is Phil who will jump up the moment you touch his collar.  He not only let me slide the slumber ball with him on it, but we were able to carry it all the way to the car, then when we had trouble lifting his heavy ass into the car, he still didn't budge.  This was not my Baggins.

I dropped Meri off with Roux's Humom and learned that she had been in the shower and she was happy to take Meri off my hands for our vet time.  On the way to the vet, I called to let them know I was coming and did something I never thought I'd have to do.  The receptionist answered, "Hello, GC Vet Office, can you please hold or is this an emergency?"  I had to say, "This is an emergency.  I'm on my way with Phil and he's acting weird."

Our last car ride.

My next call was to Teh German to ask him to meet me at the vet.  He had already informed his boss that something was going on, so it wasn't an issue for him to leave.  The techs were able to get Phil out of the car.  Phil decided he was done with the laying down and wanted to stand, but he was obviously struggling.  He mostly just did an assisted slide out of Yurtle, especially since his front paw was knuckling.  The techs brought Phil to a room while I put the slumber ball back in the car and I headed inside to find him.

As I explained what had transpired since I had talked to them last, a tech took notes.  Teh German arrived as I finished with the story and the techs went to inform the vet of the situation.  Teh German was a mess.  Eventually, the tech and I laid Phil down so 1- she wouldn't have to hold him upright, and 2- he could relax a little.

When the vet came in, she did an exam and said that he was neurologically off (which we had kind of assumed that he might have had a stroke over night, which is what woke us up) and that his heart rhythms were off.  She offered to send us to a specialist for a sonogram of his heart and I said no.  I explained that we had already spent through all of Phil's account and Teh German asked, "If they do find something, is it something that can be fixed?"  The vet explained, probably not.

The vet's guess was that Phil was having strokes or seizures which caused the bark during the night.  Then the weirdness at breakfast.  She was concerned about the blood in his leg, which shouldn't have been there, which would have indicated a blood problem.  She was also concerned about his heart and how it was arrhythmic.  Her best guess was that he possibly had a tumor in his heart, which was causing him to throw clots, which would be causing the neurological episodes (and/or seizures).

I then explained to her that euthanasia was our option.  I think she was a little surprised at how quick we were able to come to that, but after everything from the week, we knew what decision we would make.

They started the process right away.  They let us spend some time with him, which mostly consisted of us bawling over him and using all their tissues.  The techs eventually came in and inserted the catheter for the meds.

At this point, Phil started making this weird motion like he was trying to puke.  After they finally got the catheter inserted, they told us that they would give us some time with him and the vet would be in for the final steps.  At some point, they send a receptionist so that we could pay.  Phil continued to do the head thing intermittently.  Eventually, I started feeling like, "Ok, where is this vet at?  I'm ready for her to get this done."

Then Phil's intermittent "puke attempts" turned more frequent and I realized he wasn't trying to puke because his head was always straining to the right.  He was having mini-episodes.  THEN, Phil started to fully seize and I freaked the fuck out.  I told Teh German to get for someone and he was too slow so I just started yelling, "HEEELLLPPP!!!!"  At which 3 people came running, including the vet with the shot.

I don't know how she was able to do it, but the vet was able to get the needle in the catheter without poking herself or Phil while Phil was seizing, which was absolutely horrific to watch.  I was super impressed, not gonna lie.  She gave him enough to sedate him and stop the seizures and asked if we wanted more time.  I said, "NO.  Just do it already."  We're all suffering here, Lady, let's get this shit over with.  I'm tired of sobbing over my soon to be dead dog (oh Megan, always the realist).

She finished off the injection and explained step by step and checked when she was done that his heart had stopped.  She said that we could take as long as we needed to say goodbye and to knock on the door when we were ready.  We stayed for a few minutes and gave him some last love.  Teh German was awesome because when it was all done, he hugged me and gave me kisses and reassured me that we made the best decision.  Not that I was questioning it, but his reassurance did calm my heart.

Just like my boy to be in the middle of the floor, so everyone has to walk around him.

The tech was kind enough to let us out the exam room door instead of us having to walk through the waiting area.  Teh German checked to make sure I was ok to drive and said that we could leave my car and pick it up later if I wanted.  I declined since I was in a prime parking spot and I knew I was fine to drive home.  Once we got home, we had some quiet time.  Meri was still at Roux's house.  Teh German asked for a photo of he and Phil walking on the beach, which I found and cropped and edited for him so he could make his Phil tribute post.  I wasn't ready yet.  Instead, I typed up this post to this point.  I focused on all the details so I wouldn't forget... and so I wouldn't have to retell this story over and over.  I can just send out the link. 

It wasn't until after we'd picked up Meri and I needed to leave (if I was going to make it to my advising appointment) that I was ready to make the Facebook announcement.  I actually made myself late for my appointment, but for Phil, I didn't care.

By now you may have seen the news in other tagged posts, but today Phil went to the Rainbow Bridge. I know he's in good company, but there is a Phil-sized hole (which we all know is pretty damn big) in my heart because he didn't come home with me.

While I knew this day would eventually come, I didn't expect it to come so soon. I know that Philbo is in a better place and that we did everything we could to give him the best life possible (fact: you don't want to know how much I've spent on rugs since 2012 for PHIL).
The reality is, my Baggins was sick in ways we couldn't figure out and today he told me that he was done with this life and his body. I've been waiting for the sign and this morning he made sure I didn't miss it.

I know we all say it about our dogs, but Phil was one of the bestest dogs in the entire world ever. He was my cool dude and he kept everyone in line and failed miserably at teaching Meri his manners.

I know that the days following today will be easier and that eventually the little things won't make me catch my breath to hold in the tears. But today, I'm loving my boy and missing him like crazy and my heart and house feel empty without his presence.

There are many of you here who were touched in some way by Phil's life and I hope that you are able to be comforted by the fact that he's in a better place now. Even up to this point I've received lots of calls and messages and I appreciate of you and I thank you for keeping my family in your hearts. Please understand if I don't respond that I am a quiet griever and I'm not trying to be rude or push anyone away.

To my Philbo, who will remain in my heart forever,
I never knew just what lengths I would go to for a dog until you came into my life with your quirks and your personality and demands and velcro-ness. You could frustrate me to absolutely no end and then look at me with those big brown eyes and melt my rage. You knew how to look at me just right to get my bread crusts and practically anything else off my plate. You were my rock so, so many times and I never wanted the day to come when I was crying on your shoulder because you were leaving me, but today was that day. You were always stubborn, so you must have known when your blog post went live about your past few months, so I should have known that you'd have the last word about everything. No matter how much pain you were in, rarely did you let me in on that, stoic as ever. I know you're in a better place, but I always wanted the best place to be with me.. forever. Thank you for all your signs today. You'll always be the bestest puppy-luppy in the whole wide world ever and I'll love you until I can't love anymore. ~Your Momma

Wednesday night I had told Teh German, "I'm not saying we're going to put Phil down this week.  But I doubt he will make until the end of the summer."  We were having the conversation about next steps and how to best help Phil until it was time.  Apparently, Phil was listening to our conversation.  It was like he knew that I was ready, so he was ready.

At 0600 when my "Oh, Baggins" post went live, Phil was barely successful at eating his breakfast.  By 1000, my Baggins was gone.  Thankfully, Teh German and I were on the same page due to some difficult chats and a LOT of tears earlier in the week.  It wasn't hard for either one of us to say, "No more.  We're letting him go."

It's still strange to me.  I keep thinking that when I go home I'll let Phil and Meri out of their crates and refill the water bowl and fix 2 doggy meals.. but that's not how this goes right now.

Some things so far that have choked me up have been:
-Going to hang up Meri's leash after a pack walk and Phil's leash and collar not being there.
-When I was prepping Meri's dinner Thursday night, I didn't need to dip any pills in peanut butter for Phil.
-I realized that I have almost a year's worth of tick applications for a 50+ pound dog that haven't been used.  (This just means that our next dog has to weigh more than 50 pounds.)
-I had to put the rest of Phil's pills for the week back in their proper bottles.
-I just ordered a refill of joint supplement for Phil and he didn't even get to take one of them.  I have this thing where I don't like half full bottles, so I marry the pills into as few bottles as possible.  Fortunately, I can probably take those, lol.
-I have 900 25mg Benedryl that Phil won't be using.
-As soon as I open the box of collars to actually put Phil's collar away, it's going to make me cry.

Signs Phil has sent me that he's ok now:
-I received the email that Phil's new tag had shipped shortly after we got home from the vet on Thursday.
-It rained Thursday night.  It rained on our first date, it rained the day we closed on House, it rained after Teh German proposed...
 -I helped a very old, confused man who stumbled and tripped and wasn't completely aware of what was going on (and if that's not a human version of Phil on Thursday, I'll be damned).

I'm on the lookout for more signs, but I know that Phil is in a better place and I did everything I could to give him the best life possible.  There may be more feelz posts for Phil, but for right now, my goal is to keep on going and to remember Phil in the good ways.

Mr. Baggins,
I love you so much and I'm so glad you were a part of my life for as long as you were.
You changed me in ways I never expected and for that, I am forever grateful.
You are my very bestest boy and I love you forever.
~Your Momma


  1. Oh Megan.. I'm so sorry hun. I had to take a breather part way through to finish reading. I cried reading this. Poor Phil... you gave him the best life and I know that if you could've moved mountains to make him better, you would have. It's just so effing unfair they don't live longer/forever.

    I have no doubt that Quincy, my moms dog who passed away nine days ago, welcomed him in the afterlife.

    Although one of the hardest things you'll ever do, it's the most selfless, greatest gift you can give them, helping them crossover.

    Sending tons of hugs to you and Timo, Megan. I'm here for you if you need an ear. He'll be missed deeply, myself included, even though I had never had met him.


  2. Megan, I don't even know what to say, as I attempt to type something through tears. There really isn't anything to say is there. You are a wonderful dog mama, and I hope Timo, Meri, and you are showering each other with love.


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