02.14.2001 to 08.24.2010|
12.23.2012... It's that time of year again, Christmas. I miss you so very much. When I put all of the ornaments on the dog Christmas tree this year, it brought tears to my eyes AGAIN. I miss all of you so very much but I know you all had to leave me. Not a day goes by that Lily doesn't talk about you. You were her doggie for a few short years. I love you my sweet girl. xoxo
Well here it is, almost Christmas. My pretty girl...not a day goes by that I don't think about you. I miss you sooooo much. I was decorating the doggie tree today & I pulled out your ornament. Made me cry. You're always in my heart. xoxo
02.14.2011... HAPPY BRIDGE BIRTHDAY... I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON & BACK... xoxo
02.14.2011... HAPPY VALENTINE's DAY... xoxo
01.01.2011... HAPPY NEW YEAR... xoxo
12.25.2010... MERRY CHRISTMAS... I miss you with ALL my heart... xoxo
11.24.2010... HAPPY THANKSGIVING... our first Thanksgiving away from each other. I hope you know how much I MISS you. Not a day goes by that you are NOT on my mind. To hold you ONE more time... to give you ONE more smooch. I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON & BACK... xoxo, mommie
If I should stay..
And I will always love you..
And I will always love you..
I hope life treats zander & atticus kind..
And I will always love you..
Mommie & Daddy, I love you..
Prior to you coming home with me, you had several play-dates with Mandy to make sure you would get along with one another. And you did, so you became part of our family.
What a precious little girl you were. You are a lab/pit...a mix that many said was the BEST mix. You were very much a lab. You had all of the characteristics of a lab but the markings of a pit.
You had 3 family members/friends. You had Mandy. You had Cole. And then you had Zander. You would have been able to play with atticus but you got very ill. Your best buddy was Cole & when he went to the bridge, you were lost. You did everything with that big boy. We still have the photo of you on the back porch looking for your friend. Seeing you there that day broke my heart. I knew you were going to miss him so much. We waited a few months before we got you another friend. That friend was Zander. (Mandy & Cole have residencies)
You loved to chase Zander around the yard. You were my fly catcher. You could catch a bird in flight... that's the lab in you. You didn't like your walks... you would whine all the way. You hated the water... bath time was NOT a pleasant time for you. But you always looked so beautiful & smelled so nice afterwards.
Your health wasn't too bad. You had a couple of issues with cancer. You had a tumor near your breast area which was removed. Your Dr. thought it was just a cyst when he first looked at it but once he did the surgery, he was shocked to find out that it was a stage 3 cell. Then you had to have another tumor removed on your foot.
When you turned 9, we were so excited. We had NEVER had a doggie live to 9yrs old. We lost them all at young ages to cancer & 1 to a back issue. You were 9 YEARS OLD. WOW.!!! I think I might have jinxed you.
On August 14th, when you woke up, you looked as if you had had a stroke. You were shaking... your eye was really droopy... you were drooling. I called your Dr. & said I needed to bring you in. Off we went. He did an exam & found NOTHING. He said to watch you though. So watch I did. Later on that same day, you weren't getting better. In fact, you were having trouble standing up & turning your head. I called the "BIG GUYS"... the place where we have gone for cancer treatments. They are THE BEST doctors. They said to bring you in... so again, off we go. We were there for over 2hrs. They did exams, tests, took blood... and they found NOTHING. So they sent you home but said to watch you & if you changed at all, call them & bring you back. So away we went... more watching you.
August 15th... you woke up & you were NOT better. Still shaking... still drooling... now BOTH eyes are droopy. So off we go again... back to the BIG GUYS. They are waiting for you as we get there. Your blood work had come back & everything was fine. Now they are going to keep you... they are going to do x-rays, scans, more tests... they are going to eliminate what could be wrong. You are in the hospital until tuesday, August 17th. They STILL can't find anything wrong. Why are you drooling? Why are you shaking? One of the specialists, Dr. Herrera thinks you MIGHT have had a light stroke or seizure but she's not 100% sure. They tell us you can come home, so I put Lily in the car & we drive to get you. You are happy to see us but still look NOT yourself. Again they tell me that if you change, call them & bring you back.
August 18th... you woke up & you were WORSE. You are shaking, drooling, walking in circles, bumping into walls, chairs, furniture, you have now lost control of your potty functions. I call your specialist... I am crying so much now because I know that there's something REALLY wrong with you. They tell me to rush you in... they will be waiting to take you as soon as we get there. Again, more tests... they come & tell us that you ARE alot worse than the day before. They can see a BIG difference in you. They want to send you for an MRI. They make the arrangements for me. I drop daddy off at home so that Zander won't be alone. You & I head off to Los Angeles to see yet another Dr.
I have to say that up until now, I had NOT thought about the "C" word. I really was HOPING that you had had a stroke or a seizure. We CAN handle that. You will take meds for the rest of your life & be OK. SO I THOUGHT.
We meet with Dr. Sullivan, the neurologist. She goes over all of the scans, x-rays, blood work. She's talking to me but at this point, my brain is NOT working. You are in the room with us, walking in circles & bumping into things. Everytime you bump into something, I start to cry. SOMETHING IS SO WRONG WITH YOU. BUT WHAT? I am HOPING that they can find what's making you do this. And I WANT them to HELP you. You HAVE to stay with them. They tell me that you should be able to come home by the weekend. I leave you... my heart is breaking.
As I make my long drive home, WITHOUT you, that horribe "C" word keeps popping up in my thoughts. No one has said anything about this being cancer. So I really shouldn't be thinking that but I CAN'T help myself.
August 19th... you have the MRI. The Dr. calls me with the BAD news. It IS the "C" word. You have a mass on the left, front part of your brain. After she tells me this, my brain stops absorbing ANYTHING that she's telling me. The word that comes to mind is... WHY?? WHY are we going to lose another fur baby to cancer?
Dr. Sullivan gives me options... IF we don't do ANY treatment, you will only be with us for 4-5 months. IF we choose radiation, you COULD be with us for 1-2yrs. They CAN'T do surgery because the mass is in the tissue part of your brain. They can't do chemo at this time. She tells me that you have SWELLING in your brain & they NEED to get that swelling down so they are going to keep you in the hospital & administer a drug called MANNITOL. This will help release the fluid that has built up in your brain. You should be better by the weekend & should be able to come home.
I am getting updates on you twice a day. Your condition ISN'T improving as they would like. But they AREN'T giving up. With the drug mannitol, it should work after 2 doses... it's NOT.
August 22nd... I get a call in the morning from Dr. Wong. You had a seizure during the night. They found you pressing your head against the wall in your kennel & you were drooling uncontrollably. They want to give you POTASSIUM BROMADE to control the seizures & relieve the pressure. They want to LOAD you up with this... that means you AREN'T coming home yet. They need to give you 4 doses every 6hrs. to get this under control. My heart is BREAKING. This doesn't sound good at all.
Each day, I pray that I will get the call telling me that YOU ARE OK. That they have things UNDER control.
August 23rd... I get a call telling me that you weren't able to get all of the doses that you needed because this new med makes you VERY sleepy. You have to stay for the final dose. With EACH passing day, your prognosis is NOT looking good... BUT I am STILL hopeful.
August 24th... Dr. Sullivan calls me. The meds are NOT working. At this point, she doesn't think radiation will work BUT we can give it a try. IF we decide to do radiation, it has to be done NOW. I told her that I wanted to bring you home. I was NOT going to put you through anymore tests, meds, etc. You don't deserve to be so sick. You deserve to live a HAPPY life & you weren't at this point. She agreed...she said I could pick you up that afternoon.
At 2pm, Lily & I made the trip to LA to get you. They brought you into the room & you came right to me. You knew who I was. You knew that Lily was there too. I thanked your Drs. for doing everything they could to help you. I told them that I wanted to spend as much time with you before I released you to the bridge.
Once again, we made that long trip home. You were trying to do your circle walking in the car which was NOT an easy task. You were stepping on Lily but she didn't mind. You were crying... a cry that I had NEVER heard from you before. I knew that I had to make that horrible decision when we got home. I HAD to make the call to your Dr. We would HAVE to release you of your confused state the next day.
We arrived home... you got out of the car. Your daddy was there to greet you. I handed him your leash & told him to let you walk in your circles on the grass. He watched you do this & it broke his heart. You could NOT walk in a straight line for ANYTHING. You were panting so heavily. We took you in the house. You went to the backyard... you were walking around & around. I was behind you making sure you didn't bump into anything. You did this for 2HRS... NONSTOP. I called your Dr. to see if you could take a sedative. There was NO way you could do this circling for 24hrs. You would be exhausted. Your Dr. said you could have a sedative. We gave you 1 pill. It only took about 20 mins for you to calm down. I placed you on your blanket, on the couch. Lily sat with you... petting your head, giving you smooches. She even covered you with HER blanket.
Lily was being so loving to you... she asked me this... "will Dakota be here next week"? Lily is only 3yrs old. She has been with Dakota her entire life. ( I take care of Lily) I told Lily this... "no, Dakota is going to heaven because she's very sick." Lily said... "awwww, no, I don't want her to leave." I TRIED not to cry but I couldn't hold it back.
During the short time that Lily had left with Dakota that day, I took photos. Lily put silly glasses on Dakota. She tried to play with her. And before we left to take Lily home, Lily gave Dakota a final smooch. That photo SAYS IT ALL. It's very touching.
Dakota was sleeping peacefully so I decided to go into the PETLOSS CHATROOM. I told everyone there that I had brought Dakota home & that she would be released to the bridge the following day. ANGEL DUCK, JAN, TOM, MAGIC, GA, LKC, BABYGIRL & I honestly don't remember who else was in there & I apologize for that... they all said so many nice things. Words of comfort. I remember Jan telling me to get out of the room & go spend time with Dakota. I told her that she was sleeping but that I would be leaving soon to spend time with her. I did leave the petloss chatroom. Dakota's daddy was sitting on the floor in front of her... rubbing her head, stroking her side... tears falling the entire time... not once realizing that she had passed. I went in to sit with my precious girl. I lifted her head to place it on my lap. I realized that her head was LIMP. I looked at her eyes... they were semi closed. I then touched her chest... she WASN'T breathing. OMG... she wasn't breathing. This wasn't suppose to happen. She was suppose to HOLD ON. I had asked GOD for 24hrs... WHY didn't I get my wish? I ONLY got 6hrs with her. And ONLY 11 days from the FIRST sign of something being wrong until LOSING her. I knelt by her... holding her, crying into her body.
SHOCKED, CONFUSED, CRYING... I returned to the petloss room. Angel Duck asked if I was OK. I said... "no duck, she's gone." Angel took me to PM (private msg) & talked with me. I have NO idea what she said to me. I remember telling her that it was too hot to leave Dakota in the garage until the morning. I know Duck called Jan to let her know that Dakota had passed.
Once again, I left the chatroom. I had to call the FIRST hospital that Dakota was in to see IF I could bring her to them. The people at this hospital are wonderful. We have been dealing with them for MANY years so they know us. When I called, I told them what happened. Danielle told me to bring her in... they would be waiting for us & that she would have all of the paperwork done for me. Dakota's daddy picked her up, wrapped her blanket around her & carried her to the car. This was her FINAL roadtrip. Our LAST time together. I don't remember the drive. When we got to the hospital, they were waiting for us. They took her inside. They checked to make sure she had passed. Then Danielle brought us to the "good-bye" room & we were able to spend time with Dakota. We cried... we told her how much we LOVE her... how much we will miss her. I told her that she would ALWAYS be in my heart. I told her that I KNEW Cole had been with her as she made her journey. I held her in my arms & smooched on her head. HOW was I going to let her go? I mean, she was ALREADY gone but I was going to have to WALK OUT of that hospital WITHOUT my girl. Everytime I walked to the door, I turned back. ONE more smooch... ONE more "bye"... ONE more hug.
The drive home...lonely, sad, tears, reality. Dakota WASN'T coming home. She was REALLY gone.
My heart's broken in a MILLION pieces. Not in a MILLION years did I think we would lose her so soon. I was reminded by Jan that Dakota went to the bridge ON HER TERMS. Dakota was home, with her mommie, daddy, Lily, Zander & Atticus, on her blanket, on the couch, surrounded by love.
I KNOW in my heart, that Dakota is pain free... she's NOT walking in circles anymore & she's NOT bumping into things. She's NOT confused anymore. And she's with her BEST BUDDY, COLE. Cole must have missed his FAVORITE girl so much... that's why we ONLY got 6hrs with her at the end.
As a MODERATOR in the petloss chatroom, we tell the NEW losses how sorry we are... how their babies are happy & healthy once again... how, with time, their sadness will grow into happiness & fond memories. I think we FORGET that INTENSE pain that we feel when we have a loss. I TRIED to tell myself ALL of the things that we tell the new losses BUT they didn't work.
I want to thank EVERYONE who has been there for us during these 11 days. So many KIND, LOVING words. Those words got me through those days.
I want to thank ANGEL DUCK, JAN, TOM, TONY, GINNY, LKC for this residency. I want to thank GINNY for this wonderful site. Her loss & pain give us a place to remember our babies.
I want to thank EVERYONE on FACEBOOK who sent their kind words, prayers, poems, thoughts...those things meant alot to me. It kept me going through those 11 days. LIZZIE... she asked for prayers & got them. She shared photos of Dakota... writings for Dakota... she was there at all hours of the night when I needed to talk. There was a candle group for Dakota... they lit candles for my girl. That touched my heart.
I also want to thank EVERYONE on DOGGYSPACE. They, too, posted kind words, prayers, poems & photos of Dakota. Today, I received so many cards from the doggies at that site. I opened the first one & I couldn't open anymore. I will try tomorrow. They really touched my heart.
Just to say "THANK YOU" doesn't seem like enough but it's ALL I can say right now.
TO MY PRECIOUS DAKOTA... I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON & BACK.!!! Run fast, play hard & sleep well. We WILL see each other one day, NEVER to be parted again. I CAN'T WAIT. Until then, stay close to Cole, Aker, Ursa, Mandy, Lady Wendy, Bucky, Karley, Regina, Shepp, Mercy, Snow Puppies, Gods Gentle Giants, Trail of Tears, Charro, Agbenyaga, Tiger Lily, Keisha & Buddy... a few of them DIDN'T have loving homes or gentle hands.
I MISS YOU SO VERY MUCH... I put your collar under my pillow so that you are close to me when I TRY to sleep. You were ALWAYS there with me. Maybe it's because of that collar that the other night I THOUGHT you were standing at my pillow but when I looked, there was NOTHING there.
***This was sent to me as a msg from my girl...
"I stood by your bed last night,
I whined to you softly
I was close to you at breakfast,
I was with you at the shops today,
I was with you at my grave today,
I walked with you towards the house,
You looked so very tired,
It's possible for me,
You sat there very quietly,
The day is over...
And when the time is right for you
I have so many things to show you,
Today, on my walk, you & Cole must have known that I really needed to clear my head... and so I would run. On my one running path, there you two were... beautiful WHITE butterflies. You stayed with me until I made my turn onto Reino Rd & then you went to the left, towards the beach & I went to the right, towards home. You & Cole ARE OK. Cole brought you to see me. I love you my precious girl. I love you with all my heart. xoxo... mommie
08.31.2010... my precious girl, you have been away for 1 WHOLE week. Seems like just yesterday that my heart was ripped from my chest. Today, Lily asked for you. She wanted to see HER Dakota. She asked if you were at the Dr's again... I said "NO". She wanted to know where you were. I said "HEAVEN". How do you explain heaven to a 3yr old? She said "NO" to that heaven answer. She said she wanted you with her... that she wanted to see you. I tried to show her photos of you... she didn't want to see them. She wanted YOU. ME TOO!!!
Today I had a msg on my cell phone...your ashes are at VMSG. YOUR ASHES... you will come home to us tomorrow. I MISS YOU SO MUCH. xoxo
Here are a few of the msgs that I received before & right after dakota passed...
***Paula I don't know what to say. I just can't accept it but I know I have too. I
***Paula, I am so very, very sorry to hear this news. I think that what you have chosen to do is the best and most kindest thing that you can do for Precious Dakota. Cherish every moment and know in your heart how much Dakota loves you. I believe that Dakota knows and understands the most difficult decision you will have to make and is so proud of her Mommy because you have done the best possible for Dakota and she knows that. Please know that you have done nothing wrong with her or the others that got this terrible disease. Cancer is the number one cause of animal loss. It is not your fault nor is it anything that you have done - it is an unfortunate event that occurs to us. Yes, it is true that there is no cure for a broken heart, but remember that God gave you a precious gift for only a little while because he needs her back to become an angel. God chose you to be Dakota's Mom because he knew how much love you could, did and do give. His trust in you to be the best Mom is so great that he will heal your heart in time. Take some pictures, get a paw print, collect hair, whatever you need to be able to cope. Time will be the hardest but it will happen. Know that we are here for you whenever you need us and don't worry about being quiet in chat - we understand. When you are ready to talk, you will. Right now, hold, snuggle, pet, kiss, console and talk to your baby. Tell her how much you love her and look in her eyes and she will tell you the same thing. We love you Paula and we love Dakota. I just wish I lived closer so that I could give you a great big hug and share my shoulder with you. Dakota and You are in my thoughts and prayers - always and forever. Many Hugs, my friend - many hugs. Love, me PS - please give Dakota a big hug from me.*** (LKC)
***Oh Paula -- I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face, I am so sorry for you. I hope Atticus being there helps in some small way. All my best, Ranelle ***
***I just read that. I am so sorry to read that...please let her know I am thinking about her and Dakota...I really don' t have words right now just a very heavy heart knowing this***(DOC)
***What you just wrote in your last message broke me. I am bawling my eyes out. Your pain is so raw & palpitable. I feel helpless to do anything about it & I'm so sorry about that. I wish I could make it all go away. This is one of the worst things (in my mind, at least) that someone can go thru. This, to me, is worse than losing a relative...well at least some of mine...lol. The brave face won't be on at first. Don't even try to do it. Let the tears flow & break down. This is such a sad thing***(LIZZIE)
***Paula, I just wanted to personally let you know that I am truly thinking of Dakota and what your family is going through right now. There is NOTHING more that breaks my heart than a precious animal that has to endure something that they do not understand. But YOU are the angel in their life, and if it is meant to be, the God will welcome Dakota with open arms and know that she was LOVED.
Please let me know if there is anything that I can do, even if it is just someone to listen and help to bear the pain***(ALISA)
***Hello, Paula...I just looked at Dakota's album, 'Through the Years'...someone commented that Dakota is a specimen...that's putting it mildly...what a truly gorgeous girl she is, and so obvious that she has had an abundance of loved bestowed upon her...I'm praying for both of you...take care of yourself***(ATHENA)
***Paula...I want to thank you for taking Dakota in and giving her such a wonderful family and place to live. Whatever the outcome, Dakota knows love thanks to you***(DOC)
***Just a note to tell you that I've been thinking of you. Your post about your sweet Dakota brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry you lost your baby. I can tell she was a very special one. I hope you can accept my sincerest condolences. The loss of my sweet Keema still brings me to my knees at times. It hurts so bad and it certainly isn't fair. I just wanted you to know how sorry I am***(AMANDA)
Duck called me last night and told me you came back to chat and said Dakota had passed. I am so sorry my friend, but you know she is now with Cole & feeling like the young active baby she once was. My heart breaks for you, but I was thinking, Dakota did exactly what she wanted to do. She came home to you & left on her terms. She was where she loved the most & with the people who loved her the most. Remember my friend you havebeen truly blessed to share that love with such a special girl. Dakota will always live in your heart & memory. As always Paula, I am here for you at any time.
All at once...
Ever since I met you...
All at once...
For all the joy we shared...
I can remember all those great times we had...
There's peace in where you are...
10.01.2010... Hello precious. I haven't come to visit... I keep thinking that if I don't come here, then you aren't gone. When we have had to say "good bye" to the others, it was tough BUT I knew that they were sick & that we would HAVE to release them to the bridge but with you, I didn't have ANY time to wrap my brain around your illness. 11 days from start to finish. 11 days of hoping you'd be OK. But it just wasn't meant to be. I miss you so much... you just don't know. On my walks, I cry for you. I've seen so many beautiful white butterflies in the mornings. I always say "HI DAKOTA" when I see them. I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON & BACK... xoxo
12.04.2010... Hello pretty girl. Today, Lily asked if you are better now that you are in heaven. It took all I had to NOT cry when she said that. She misses you so much & she's trying to make sense of why you are NOT with her. xoxo
"But when tomorrow starts without me.
"But, as I turned to heel away,
"I thought about our lives together,
"Remember how I'd nudge your hand,
"If I could relive yesterday,
"But, then I fully realized,
"But then I walked through Heaven's gate,
"I promise no tomorrow,
"But good dogs are forgiven,