Less than three weeks ago, I was doing this for my 9 year old cat, Toby. Five years older than him, diabetic and with a few other recent medical conditions, I'd always expected to lose Muki first but still have Toby here with me. Sitting here tonight, their absence is palpable and the silence is deafening.......|
Muki came into my life as a 5 week old, toothless pup who was so small that the lady I got her from brought her after bathing her and she was wrapped in a wash cloth. At two months old I noticed she didn't look well and took her to the ER. She had a very high fever. The vet said she wouldn't have made it through the night if I hadn't brought her in. He treated her for an infection and she was back to her goofy self very quickly. (we lovingly said she had couscous and glitter for brains!) A week later, I was involved in an accident that eventually disabled me. I continued to work for six months and then stayed home. That's when we began to develop an even closer bond. She loved to play soccer with her "sissy", my daughter, Mariah who was 9 at the time). She would sit with me on the couch and chew on Daddy's ear while he sat on the floor. This tickled until those needle-like teeth finally came in! We had one cat when we got her and rescued another a few years later. Her favorite past time became charging and chasing the cats and running her 'race track'...circling the living room, dining room and kitchen. Outside fun in the summer included "Muki boarding" in the pool and running across the field to Mimi's house if she saw her while out walking with Daddy. Five years ago, I caught Muki with her entire upper half inside the Cat Genie. (For those who don't know, this is an automatic self-cleaning litter box that uses plastic pellets instead of clay litter). Within a couple of days I had her at the vet. X-Rays revealed that her colon was blocked by these pellets and she underwent surgery. She recovered quickly and was back to herself in no time. Less than four months later I took her in on the Saturday before Labor Day because she was urinating a lot. Her glucose was over 600. She spent the holiday weekend at the animal emergency clinic getting her diabetes under control and I spent the next nearly 5 years keeping it under control. About this time she also developed dry eyes which eventually led to blindness but never slowed her down. I'd put "love in her eyes" in the form of eye drops and her eyes remained clear and bright and pretty. (I always told her she had "chocolate drop" eyes and a "three dot" face because of the dark dots her eyes and nose made on her light face). Sissy eventually grew up, graduated and moved out. One cat passed away and Mariah took another. Daddy and I separated and for the last four years it's just been me, Muki and Toby. My disabling condition improved and I began to get out a bit more. But, regardless of what I was doing I was always home in time to feed Muki and give her her insulin injection. I still spent much more time at home than I did away and after I turned 50 three years ago, I jokingly referred to it as our "old lady time" together (even though she never looked or acted her age until the very end). Last November, she became ill the first weekend of the month and I took her to the ER on a Saturday. They kept her until Monday morning when I took her to her vet. She spent a week in the hospital undergoing various tests and trying different meds for her nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. An ultrasound revealed her small intestines to be so inflamed that he needed to perform surgery because he knew he'd never get an endoscope far enough to see everything. On the day before her surgery, I took her outside the clinic to potty. She'd been sick for a little over a week by then, had lost some weight and was pretty weak. But, as soon as her feet hit the ground, she looked up at me, put her tail on her back and wagged it a few times. I promised her then that as long as she wanted to fight, I'd fight for and with her. Her vet really thought she had lymphoma and we prepared for the worst. As soon as he looked he knew it wasn't cancer and took six biopsies to confirm the diagnosis of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). Her surgery wasn't finished until late that afternoon, so my mom and I went to get her from the clinic and take her the the Animal Emergency Clinic (AEC) for overnight observation. While we were waiting in the exam room, I heard the strangest cry and immediately knew it was Muki. I was about to cry myself when her vet came in and told me that was Muki I'd heard, but that she was fine. He told me that he'd given her some "Elvis drugs" and that she would be dysphoric (more than a little bit high and vocalizing the experience!) until they wore off. My mom sat in the back of my car with her during the trip across town, Muki "talking" about what it was like to get high for the first time!! We came back to get her early the next morning and transfer her back to the clinic. The treatment for IBD was steroids which aren't good for a diabetic or an aging pup who just had major surgery. But, in true Muki form, she recovered quicker than expected and her IBD responded to the lowest dose of steroid treatment. She quickly achieved the nickname Miraculous Muki at her vet's clinic and on FaceBook where I shared her story and asked for people to pray for her. Her vet also discovered a heart murmur and the beginning of some kidney disease and put her on meds for that, too. She began eating a special diet and did great! It was during some of these most recent trips to her new vet (although her first vet did this, too!) that we began to notice that the name "MUKI" took on a language of its own. As her family, we sometimes found ourselves referring to her as "the Mook". When she was a puppy and played in the pool on the boogie board, that was "Muki-boarding". Even though the clinic staff never heard this, we'd hear them using the same expression! In addition to being a proper noun, we'd find ways of turning it into other forms of grammar. Some of the things she did were done "Muki-fully" or "Muki-full", and some things were done with "Muki-ness". If she had been feeling badly and suddenly became snippy, they were always very "PC" and simply said she was being "FIESTY" or "back to her Muki-ful self". Whenever I wanted to be sure to transfer her with the least amount of stress, I'd carry her to the car in her soft side bed with her blanket, carry her into the clinic in it and let them carry her to exam and treatment in it, too. Muki in that bed became the "Muki-rrito". The very last time she was transferred from my arms to the arms of her vet was as the "Muki-rrito". It was then that her vet told me what a special pup she was and that there had never been another. She was the only Muki in their computer. Every other name had numbers after it because there was more than one. Even here at the Rainbow Bridge, she is Muki001.
About a month ago, she developed diarrhea. While recovering from that she had pancreatitis and a urinary infection. She recovered well from it all, but it turned out to be a lot for her little body to deal with. She was in the ER the weekend before last and spent last Monday night on an IV for dehydration secondary to renal failure. She came home last Tuesday and I gave her fluids under her skin on Thursday and Saturday. The vet said that her kidneys were in really bad shape and that this would eventually happen again. We'd already discussed end of life decisions. I told her that the last thing I wanted was for Muki to die in the hospital and that we would discuss it more if the time came when she was in the hospital more than she was at home. Last Friday I worked for three hours in the afternoon for the first time in a month. My mom and Mariah's friend, Naomi, sat with her until I got home. I called when I was on my way and Mom said that Muki sat at the glass door and "looked" for me until just before I drove up. When I walked in she was lying on the floor in front of my mom and when she realized I was home she ran sprints back and forth alongside me while wagging her tail like crazy!! It'd been weeks since I'd seen her with so much energy and my heart soared!! Her 14th birthday would be in two days on Mother's Day and she was looking great! Daddy and Sissy came to visit on Saturday and it was a wonderful day. Then, at 1 AM, just one hour into her birthday, she became restless and I was up with her all night. She wouldn't eat that morning so I gave only half her insulin. Then, she ate a bit of chicken at 1 PM and I thought her appetite had returned. She wouldn't eat dinner, though so I syringe fed her a slurry of canned food diluted with water and broth and gave her a little more insulin. She seemed to like it and kept it down so I was encouraged. She was restless again when we went to bed Saturday ight. At 4:30 I offered her food and she pushed it away. The only other time she'd done that was two weeks before and she'd thrown up afterward. I called my mom and we made the 22 mile drive into town in pouring rain during a tornado warning. Her sugar was really high and they gave her some insulin and Cerenia for nausea and abdominal discomfort until her vet could see her at 8:30. She was back into full-blown azotemia (renal failure) and was looking at another two days in the hospital. She was so weak she could barely stand. I took her outside the back of the clinic to potty and she made a wide stance to stay up. When she started walking it looked like she was going to fall so I lifted gently upward just in front of her hips. She looked up at me and wagged her tail and I picked her up and sobbed into her "sweet spot" just behind her ears and told her that she would always be my warrior princess and my Miraculius Muki...and, that it was ok not to fight so hard anymore. We went back into the clinic so she could get meds to make her comfortable and have an IV port taped to her arm. Then, we made arrangements for her vet to come see us after she finished work at 5:30. We came home and eventually she settled onto her spot on the couch with me, stretched over the arm rest at my feet. A few hours later she awoke panting. She drank some water so I took her outside but she was too weak to stand at all. I brought her inside, carrying her on her back, wrapped in her pink Snugglie like a baby and her breathing became easy. I called for my mom to come over. It was about 2:00 and I didn't think she'd make it until the vet got here. I moved her to my bed, lying on her side with her head on a pillow and held her hand. By then, she was in a deep sleep and was snoring and "chasing rabbits". I used my bottle of holy water from Lourdes and made the sign of the cross on her head, heart, hands and feet while reading the prayer of St. Francis. Shortly after, Mariah's friend, Naomi, came over followed soon by sissy herself with her boyfriend, David. Sissy came alongside Muki from the side of the bed which meant she was behind her. As soon as Muki realized it was Mariah, her eyes popped open wide and she pushed herself up. No matter how much we tried to get her to relax again she kept fighting to get up and off the bed! By then, Daddy (Jim) and my friend, Karen had arrived. Jim and Mariah took her outside for a bit to potty. Muki walked around the living room where we were all gathered. When she got tired again, Mariah picked her up and held her on the couch. By then the vet had arrived with her vet tech and the medication for Muki's IV. I sat with Mariah and Muki and we stroked and kissed on her while she quieted. The vet asked Mariah if she'd ever been present for a euthanasia before. Only for Tippy, the hamster, and that was much different. So, the vet gently explained what to expect. Muki had begun to tremble a bit in her sleep and I knew then that the return of her strength was because the pain meds she received earlier had run their course. The vet connected the tubing which already had the sleeping medication, Propofol, in it. When we were ready, I had everyone gather around holding hands in a circle surrounding me, Mariah and Muki. The vet attached the syringe with the drug that stops the heart. Muki was asleep in her sissy's arms with me holding her hand and kissing her head. She kept right on sleeping and was running across the Rainbow Bridge, restored and whole and chasing Toby before the second drug even made it to the tubing. Mariah continued to hold her for awhile longer and we used barrettes saved from grooming over the years to get locks of the silky soft hair from the top of her head and ears. Then, the vet assisted while we moved Muki into my lap. I sat stroking and kissing her while we laughed and cried and shared photos, videos and stories about Muki with everyone there. Reluctantly, I asked for her "traveling bed" so I could bundle her up into a "Muki-rrito" one last time. I laid her in her bed, on the couch, in her pretty pink Martha Stewart for pets polo dress with the ruffles on the bottom. Then, Jim reminded me that although I'd kissed on Muki a lot, there wasn't the "usual evidence" of it. So I put on my lipstick and kissed her on her cheek and the top of her head one last time. The vet took her from my arms to hers, bundled up in her soft bed, and I was reminded of when the lady I got her from had passed her to me in much the same way, wrapped in a wash cloth nearly 14 years ago. We followed them outside and I stood on the deck and waved goodbye and blew kisses as the sun went down on the final day in the life of my precious pup, Muki....🐾❤️
18MAY2015: My bitty bumpkin, my punkin numpkin, Momm's Muk....it's been a week since I kissed you goodbye for the last time and left 'mommy tracks' on your cheek and head with my red lip gloss. I haven't left the house much, but when I come home I still open the door carefully to keep Toby from darting out, forgetting that you two are playing together now. Even then, I still find myself saying, "Where's Momma's Muk? Where's my bitty pup?" My smartphone alarm went off last Tuesday. You'd been gone less than a day and it was reminding me I needed to give you your B12 injection. No matter where I am in the evening or how little I've slept in the morning, I still find myself thinking it's time for your food, meds and insulin. Did you ever know how much I loved taking care of you? I wish you never needed any of those things. It was still my joy and honor to show my love for you in that way. I miss you so much and it hurts so bad. I miss hearing your toenails on the kitchen floor. I miss looking at you sitting on the kitchen mat, looking up at me with an expression of love and expectation that only you could give. I miss holding you close as I carried you outside or back inside, kissing you over and over both ways. I miss putting you in bed with me at night and hearing you snore. I miss you kicking me whenever you slept deeply and "chased rabbits". I miss your sweet smell and the feel of your warmth and your silky hair on my lips when I kissed you. I missed those rare times when you snuggled close as we laid on the couch and you blew your sweet, warm breath under my neck. I've made a bundle of your pink Snugglie, your jammies and your sleeveless green dress. I carry them with me and bury my face in them and breathe deeply so I can smell you. Can you feel my love for you from so far away? Do you know how much I long to see you again? I'm so happy that you're whole and restored now and there is no more pain, sickness, pills or injections. It does give me joy to know that your eyesight and hearing are perfect again and that you've got your strength and running back reflexes back again. I hope you can interest some of your friends there in learning to play soccer so they can see what an amazing goalie you are. Mommy's trying so hard to take care of herself and get a good night's sleep. Please come see me when I do. Just a quick visit in my dreams would mean so much. If tears could make a pathway to heaven I'd be climbing it to you. Please feel my heart and look inside and know just how VERY much I love you, bitty pup. My life isn't the same without you and my life will never be the same because of you. Your love changed me and I'm a better person simply because you loved me.