I apologize in advance, this might be all over the place, and may not make sense. It also may be hard for some to read, because I am going to be describing traumatic details of the accident, and Cash's death. I'm going to start from the beginning, in hopes that this will help me sort some of this out, as well as not have this post be more rambly than necessary.
Friday morning was like any other morning. Rob left for work at 6, and around 6:30 I got up to get the kids ready for school. Friday is garbage day here. Rob and I had started not letting Cash out until after 8 on Friday mornings, so we knew for sure the garbage truck had gone. Cash loved garbage, not unlike any dog. But, we had noticed lately that what we thought was a wild animal going through our garbage across the street in the morning, was actually Cash. And since we knew he would risk life and limb for garbage, we thought that making sure the temptation wasn't there was for the best.
The only thing is, for some reason, this Friday, I didn't even think about it. It was around 7am, and Cash was whining at the door, and without even thinking, I opened the door, and let him out. A decision I will regret for the rest of my life. He wasn't even outside for 5 minutes, when I heard the most horrible, awful sound I've ever heard. Screaming. Screaming so loud, and so horrifying that it is forever burned into my brain. I knew, I knew right away. I threw open the door, and bolted to the end of my driveway, through 2 feet of snow, in my socks. He was howling at the end of the driveway. There was no car, but I knew what had happened. I didn't see the car hit him, but, I could tell that it was his back end. All of a sudden, a car appeared. A man and a woman bounded out. Both extremely distraught, and apologetic. "He popped up out of the garbage at the last second. I'm so sorry, I didn't even see him!" I didn't feel anger at the driver. I didn't blame him....I blamed myself. I let him out, knowing it was garbage day. It was dark, and Cash was black, I knew that it wasn't the drivers fault. It was at this time, that I was trying to assess Cash's injuries, and figure out whether or not I could get him into the house. The couple offered to help, but Cash didn't want them anywhere near him. He hated strangers, and he was in a lot of pain. I told them to just go. And I started gently leading Cash by his collar into the house. He was in pain, but I honestly thought he would be fine. He was limping, but he was able to walk, with me leading him. We made it the 50ft to the porch, and then he refused to move. He has a fear of steps on a good day, and now, with his back half not working properly, he wasn't having any of it. I walked up the steps to open the door, and Cash climbed up on his own, and into the house, where he immediately laid down. He wouldn't let me check out his back legs, but I could only assume that's where he was hit. But, I still didn't think he wouldn't make it through this. I even told Ciena that Cash wouldn't die. Why would I say that?
Cash was whining, but he was coherent, and didn't seem to be in shock, so I was hopeful. I called my mom right away to come get the kids on the bus, so I could get him to the vet. But, when I called the emergency line, they said they closed at 8, so my best bet would be to just take Cash to the vet's office for 8am. After we got the kids on the bus, I got ready to load Cash into the van. But, when I tried to get him up, he screamed and screamed. Now, Cash is 130lbs. He is big, and in pain. There was no way that I, or my mother, or both of us, would be able to get him into the vehicle. I needed my husband. When I finally got a hold of him, he left work right away, and rushed home. I had called the vet's office, so they were expecting us.
When Rob showed up, we worked fast. We slid a blanket under him, as gently as possible. He howled in pain the entire time, but once we lifted him, he relaxed. Maybe he knew that we wouldn't d anything to intentionally hurt him. We got to the office, and got a muzzle on him, since he wasn't to keen on strangers touching him, especially in the kind of pain he was in.
The first thing the vet did was take his vitals. She said his temp was good, his lungs sounded clear, his gums, and his colour looked good. She said his heart was a little fast, but not fast enough to be worrisome, and it was probably associated with the pain. She felt his legs, and said nothing felt broken, so she was mainly worried about his hips, but since he had a lot of padding, she was hopeful. So, they sent us off for coffee so they could do x-rays. I felt sick. I just wanted her to say he was just banged and bruised. And, honestly, I thought that was what she would say. There was no way anything really could be wrong. Cash was stubborn, and sweet, and protective, and healthy! He would be fine. He had to be.
When we got back to the office, they weren't quite finished, so we had to wait another 15 minutes, which was torture. But, they finally called us back. As soon as the vet came in, I knew it wasn't good. She showed us x-ray after x-ray. Each one worse than the one before it. Cash's right hip was completely out of joint. The vet explained that when that happens, not only does the hip pop out, but it tears the muscles, and everything with it. She also pointed out that Cash's tailbone was crushed. And, he was actually peeing involuntarily while they were x-raying him. So, there was concern that Cash's nerves were damaged. While they were moving him, he was almost oblivious, so there was a good chance that he had nerve damage that resulted in loss of feeling. The vet told us that the nerve damage aside, she could try and pop his hip back into joint, but he would then need to have his leg in a sling for 2 weeks, and he would not be able to move, which would mean being carried outside for bathroom breaks. Now, like I said, Cash is 130lbs, I am a stay at home mom, it would be up to me to get him outside, and there would be no way. Not only that, he would have to not move, and we would hope that scar tissue would form to hold his hip in place, which we were told very rarely works.
She also told us that we were free to have a consult with an orthopaedic surgeon, to discuss whether or not there was anything that could be done surgically. But, she warned us that the starting costs for something like that were around $3000, and she was pretty sure Cash's nerve damage was the larger issue, and that would prevent him from having a normal, or decent quality of life. So she left us alone to discuss our options. I already knew what was going to happen. Even if we did have $3000(at least) to spend, we had no idea if this would give him a life quality that we knew he deserved. We cried, and hugged. I said I was sorry over and over. I let Cash out, I felt to blame for this. Rob told me repeatedly that it was NOT my fault. We both knew that this was a danger as far as Cash was concerned. We both failed. We knew that Cash wandered to the road, we failed him. Rob was convinced that I hated him, because he was the one saying that we couldn't put out the money. But, we both knew that wasn't an option. We had 3 kids, and we had a doctor telling us that she thought the nerve damage was too extensive for him to make a recovery. We made the most humane decision for him.
Talking about making the decision to euthanize, and actually doing it create such different emotions. This was a situation where we had a dog that couldn't move. He was big, and in pain. It wasn't like we could take him home, and have some time with him. It had to be done now. Thinking about my kids made my stomach ache. I had told my daughter that her dog would not die. And I didn't think I was just saying that. I truly believed it. And now, here we were. Thinking about how I would tell them was making me physically ill.
We asked if Cash was still sedated, or if he was awake. We wanted to spend some time with him before we let him go. She led us through the doors, it wasn't a peaceful environment. They had him on a blanket on the floor, with all of the animal cages around him. Obviously this wasn't where any of us wanted to do this, but like I said. He's a big dog that's hard to move, and even harder when he's in pain. He was awake, but he was really groggy. We both sat down, with his head in my lap, we told him how much he was loved. We told him how proud we were to be a part of his life. We told him what an amazing protector he was for our family. We rubbed his head, and his paws, and his belly, and just loved him. We looked into his eyes, and knew that he knew what was happening, and that made it even worse. We told the vet we were ready, and she warned us that it would take a few minutes, and we might notice some twitching, and funny movements. I remembered how quick it was with Max 4 years earlier, so the second she started to inject him, I held him and just repeated to him over and over "We love you, you are so loved, we love you, you are so loved." And his breathing got more rapid, and it sounded like he was snoring, and then he seemed still. She checked his heart, and said he was just sleeping, that he needed a little more. Like I said, big dog. After she gave him the second injection, I knew he was gone. I felt it. I felt empty. He was gone. Just like that.
We left immediately, and went to the kids' school to pick them up. We wanted to be together as a family, and we wanted to tell them right away. As I was signing the kids out, I heard Ciena talking to Rob. "Daddy, sis you hear about Cash?" "Is he at the vet?" "Are we going to get him?" I could hear Rob skirting around every question, wanting to not be in the school when we discussed this. As soon as everyone was buckled, I told them that Cash wasn't coming home. We explained what happened, and tried our best to answer their questions. I sat in the back holding my daughter as she sobbed. Joel, being 5 was slightly upset, but he was thinking of other things almost instantly. Logan obviously didn't understand anything beyond "Cash dead"
Our home was anything but a safe haven. Rob immediately got to work busying himself with housework to keep his mind occupied. I just layed on the couch and cried. But, little did I know, the worst was yet to come. Every day I wake up feeling worse than the one before. I can't even explain the level of grief I'm feeling. I have lost many beloved people in my life, relatives that I was extremely close to, and the grief I felt then, doesn't even touch the way I'm feeling now. Every detail of my day involved my dog. He slept at the foot of out bed, and after Rob would leave for work, he would lay down on the floor by my side of the bed. He would go outside with the kids and I, and wait for the bus with us, then he would bark at me constantly after they drive off, waiting for me to let him into the house. He was my shadow, he was my protector. If someone pulled into our driveway that Cash didn't know, he would stand in between me, and them, and not let them get anywhere near me. During naptime, he would lay on my lap while I read on the couch. He made my days better, he made my days so full of love and companionship. Now, I have never felt so lonely. Walking back up to the house today after the kids got o the bus, was the loneliest walk I've ever taken. It was so debilitating, that I had Rob get them off the bus this afternoon, because I just couldn't handle it. I don't know how to cope with this feeling. I can't sleep, because every time I close my eyes, I can hear his screaming. I flutter between wanting to adopt another dog right away, to never wanting another one again, every 10 minutes. The loneliness is almost crippling. I couldn't wait for Logan to take his nap, so that I could cry. And that's what I did. For the entirety of his 2 hour nap, I sobbed, I called my dog, I screamed to my dog like a complete lunatic. I counted down the minutes until Rob got home, so that I had someone to talk to, someone who understood how I felt.
Not knowing if my dog is safe, or happy, or missing me, or surrounded by love, makes my heart break. I'm so desperate for answers that I have been reading up on pets in the afterlife, and desperately grasping for anything to let me know that he's alright. I just need a sign, a small one, a large one, I don't care. I miss my friend. I miss the way he used to stop before taking a step because he had the biggest problem getting up and down them. The way he used to wait until Rob would get off the couch, and immediately take his spot. The way he would come into the bathroom while I was taking a bath, and lick the water off the edge of the tub, it seemed so gross at the time, but now I just miss it so much. He loved us, he loved us all so deeply that it hurts to think about it. He loved my kids, and would do anything to protect them. He was the greatest friend I've ever had, and now he's gone. I can't make sense of any of this. I just want to feel this less. I want to feel one second of happiness that isn't followed by 20 minutes of complete devastation. I've just never felt so alone in my life. Sometimes my sadness feels so deep that it terrifies me, and makes me think I'll never feel better. I have no desire to leave my house, or to be around people. I can't sleep, I can't eat without feeling sick, and throwing up. And as much as people keep telling me that it will get easier and easier to cope, I just don't believe that right now. All I can see right now, is darkness.
I just pray that my friend is safe and happy, and knows how much he is loved. I hope he can still feel that, wherever he is.