As I am sitting here listening to the rhythmical, majestic sea, trade winds gently whispering through the palms, a multi-layered chorus of birds cooing, chirping, warbling, and squawking in the yard, and the drone of a ceiling fan above my head; with Leʻa at my feet; I am reminded of just how precious life is, and how the sentience of all living things is our material world connection to the oneness of it all.
*This is a continuation of Pets Are People Too: Leʻa’s Legacy.
October 24: Last night we started the three medications our newly found vet friend recommended. Leʻa wasn’t hungry, so I fed her some chicken broth via a 20 ml. syringe. I released the warm liquid toward the back of her tongue, while she gulped and swallowed, until she had consumed about half of the bowl. She drank some water on her own. I emailed an update to my friend Caty, and gave her the list of things we needed for Leʻa. She said “OK, well I’m glad there might be some hope for her! 🙂 That’s exciting!” Our little princess was resting comfortably in her orthopedic memory foam bed when we tucked her in for the night.
Today she has been seeming much more relaxed, flexible, and engaging. While supporting her with both the service dog vest and a lower abdominal sling, we took her on three short trips to the yard, where she did her best to pee. Then we helped her back to her royal doggy apartment. Today she ate about half a can of low sodium green beans and a lot of cottage cheese. She drank lots of water, and consumed a fair amount of grape Pedialyte. We kept up with her supplements, and doubled the vitamin C.
Kathryn and I were beyond exhausted, but were effectively working together to care for our little love bear! We wanted her to be comfortable, relaxed, and pain free for as long as she was able to grace us with the physical manifestation of her joyful spirit. My love for Kathryn was deepening as I witnessed her selfless devotion to our precious Baby Girl. Everything happened so fast! Something was really wrong here! And as circumstances constantly changed, she rolled with them!
You see, Kathryn just joined our little family pack about a year ago, and had never had a dog in her life! In mid-2016 she blossomed into our lives, like a dancing fire flower, and the dogs and I were eager to connect with her vibrant, playful spirit. On the night that we met, she came over to my home with a friend to meet me and share a meal. When she learned of the dogs, she became immediately uncomfortable, if not terrified, and grabbed some cushions from the couch. She barricaded herself into the chair with the cushions, trying to protect herself from the giant, scary dobermans! This lasted for one night, and by her next visit, Malu and Leʻa had, for her, become the sweet, gentle beings that they are. And look at her now!
As we are kneeling in the pools of urine that evaded the shifting puppy pads, and as she is faithfully picking up the pads, wiping up the pee, cleaning up the gel mats, and giving Leʻa refreshing Oil of Olay sponge baths; she is singing to Leʻa, telling her what a good girl she is, and creating her own special kind of sunshine! Her alacrity and grace, under such sad and challenging circumstances, is so comely and beautiful! My heart is warmed, my spirit brightened, and I am filled with burgeoning bouquets of fondness and endearment for my regal, lovely lady!
October 25: Leʻa seemed a little weaker today, and was less interested in her food. She drank vigorously, in her ever-the-princess comportment, but only after we had emptied out her water dish and refilled it with some fresh, yummy stuff. Malu came into my life when he was twelve weeks old, and Leʻa eight. Since I became their proud, protective parent, they have drunk only bottled water and eaten only human grade, organic food. We managed to get her outside three more times today, again with the support of both the vest and sling. She was able to pee a little, while on her brief excursions into our lush, tropical yard, but quickly tired and just wanted to lie back down again. It was now Wednesday, and she had not been able to conduct any solid personal business since Sunday.
In Hawaii we often engage in a zesty, spirited tradition called pau hana. Now a pau hana is a lot like a happy hour, and literally means “done work,” or “work done.” When it occurs in bars, it is indistinguishable from a happy hour. But its application, in the islands, seems a little broader, and often includes kids and pets too. It can happen at the beach, on a country road, in a parking lot, in the jungle, or at home; and usually includes food, drink, and music. Before Kathryn and I got together, Malu, Leʻa, and I had a family pau hana each evening out in the yard. I would sip on a good dark beer, Malu would run laps around the Areka palms and bark at those who had the nerve to set foot on our street, and Leʻa would play her highly prized toy game. Both dogs would occasionally take a break to munch on a pork roll in the fragrant, musky grass. Malu would often trot over, position himself perfectly so his beautiful head was directly under my left hand, and I would find myself petting him before even realizing it. We did this while cranking an Apple Music radio station on our seriously kick-ass system in the garage. We often listened to artists like Ed Sheeran, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Carrie Underwood, or Christina Perry. Sometimes we would listen to my station, Fire Prince, since it relaxed the dogs, and it was fun for me to get different perspectives on my music at different times, on different systems, in different places. When Kathryn joined our little pack, she eagerly embraced our family pau hanas. The dogs now had two people to play with, get petted by, and love. I now had a sweet spirit to hang out with, delightful woman to share a beer with, and lovely hand to hold!
Today we had our pau hana in the garage, with Leʻa lying on her fluffy dog bed, Malu on a yoga mat beside her, and us on the floor around her bed. We listened to an Indigo Girls station, while sipping on a Chimay Grand Reserve. Malu was perfectly calm and seemed to understand. We each had a hand on Leʻa, while Malu laid his head on the edge of the bed against her paw (when he wasn’t nudging my hand for a pet). He sniffed her occasionally, as they smiled, relaxed, and touched.
Around 6:30 P.M. we gave her her evening meds and her meal. She didn’t eat as much today as yesterday, and had a harder time rolling from her side to her belly to eat and drink. This was all so confusing, and didn’t make any sense at all to me. When we tucked her in, she was resting peacefully on her side, and seemed relaxed.
October 26: Today, Thursday, she woke up with increased vigor and interest. She wanted to go outside. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays we have another family tradition — Kathryn does yoga, I do weight training, Kathryn does the laundry, and sometimes works on promoting our music and researching articles for me for these posts. It takes about two hours, usually, and the dogs get super-excited about it! It is another of the relatively predictable pack times within our regularly scheduled programming. Dogs really love these family times! Malu likes to hang out and be petted, while Leʻa likes it when we roll a toy or pork hide for her to grab. So we took her out in the morning sunshine before starting our workouts. She seemed really happy and relaxed, and didn’t want to go back in the garage — uh-hmm — I mean royal doggy apartment. So we decided to try to take her out in the afternoon again, and to have our pau hana outside if possible.
During our workout, Leʻa whimpered a little because she wanted to be out in the big room with the rest of us instead of being confined to her bedroom. But she could not stand safely on her own, so we kept her there and blocked the doorway with a crate, instead of closing the door, so she would feel closer and more included. When Kathryn finished her stretching she went in to be with her. We were finding creative ways to modify activities to both keep Leʻa safe and stay connected as a family.
After lunch we took her outside again for a while. She quickly laid down in the moist, fragrant grass. I decided to go check out her bedroom, and do some cleaning while Kathryn sat with her. The “water resistant” mattress cover was far from it, and urine had saturated the depths of the memory foam. It was even pooling on the floor underneath it. I updated Kathryn, and then launched into a whirlwind-of-a-cleaning project! I had re-arranged my schedule to have a longer lunch, and now I knew why. I grabbed the bed, lugged it outside, unzipped the covers and took it all apart, and laid it out in the sun. Kathryn had been doing such an amazing job of cleaning the top of the mattress cover, and keeping it covered with puppy pads and towels, that we didn’t realize it was wet underneath. We had also kept her window open, and either rose or orange essential oils diffusing, so there had only been a faint urine smell in the room. That is until I removed the dripping bed!
I wonder what a bat cave really smells like! I thought maybe it was a little like this! With the bed removed, there was an overpowering urine and ammonia odor that caused my hair to grow a little faster (especially those in my nose). So I started scrubbing with a strong bleach water solution, and it took seven times scrubbing before the odor went away. I then went over it two more times with vinegar water to soften the chlorine harshness. Whew! Much better! We only hoped that, with the enhanced sense of smell possessed by dogs, Leʻa had not been too offended by the fragrance. Some rose oil helped get it out of my nose.
I took a quick break from the cleaning to get her some lunch. Her first course was some beef broth. She lapped it up. She then devoured some creamy cottage cheese. So I decided to give her about half a cup of her regular dog food before returning to the sanitation patrol. When I came back later to check, Kathryn said, with joyful enthusiasm, “Guess what I’m looking at that’s completely empty!”
We discussed the possibility of re-using the mattress, and decided against it. So I went upstairs and poked around a little, in search of alternatives. I came back with two more gel mats, and covered the balance of her floor with them. They are those mats that you put on the kitchen floor so your feet don’t hurt when you stand around for a long time. I laid down on them to see how they felt, and they were surprisingly comfortable and supportive. They were also waterproof and easy to sanitize. And we were still able to use the snake-like perimeter pillow roll, which provided extra support for her back and shoulders. So, with the addition of two head pillows, we had a new and improved sleep system for Princess Leʻa! After starting some laundry, we escorted her into her royal quarters for an afternoon nap.
Following my appointments, we started our pau hana out in the yard with her. She so enjoyed lying in the grass, watching the birds, and sniffing the moistened, salty air! She was showing more interest in things today, but we still needed to limit her activity, so we had the second half of our pau hana in the main room of her doggy apartment. Like yesterday, her Ladyship was on a big fluffy bed, Malu on a yoga mat, and we were sitting on the floor beside her bed. It was a sweet time, and she seemed happier and more relaxed than she had in days.
We fed her a dinner consisting of green beans, cottage cheese, and blended sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes had first been baked, and then blended in our VitaMix with almond milk, raw local honey, and butter. Yum! She ate heartily, we had a bit of a food party, and both Leʻa and I ended up with goop smeared all over us! After giving her her evening meds, we tucked her in for the night.
We were heartened by her increased vigor, interest, and appetite today, but knew better than to place too much importance on a single good day. We sure had fun with her though! And it was so wonderful that she had done the things she loves so much!
October 27: Today, Friday, we found her trembling and unable to get up off her side. I texted the vet to get her input. I had been keeping her informed daily via email. The vet said it could either be the medication or that we had overdone it yesterday with her activity. The shaking seemed like muscle spasms, possibly involuntary, and was something she had never done before. Another looming concern was that she had been unable to conduct any solid personal business since last Sunday. I wondered if she might be trying to hold it in because she didn’t want to defecate in her bedroom, or while we were helping her walk with the vest and the sling. Our vet changed the medication dosages, and recommended that we keep Leʻa inside today.
She continued trembling, and scooted closer to me so more of our bodies were touching. She still showed no signs of pain. She had no appetite, and later in the evening consumed 3/4 liter of grape Pedialyte. Otherwise, she had no food today.
We reflected upon yesterday’s activity level, and decided it probably wasn’t this, since she spent almost all of her time lying in the grass comfortably. We didn’t see how it could be better for her to be cooped up in a little room doing the same thing she could be doing out in nature. But we agreed with the vet’s suggestion for today because of her current condition.
The trembling slowed, and then stopped later in the day. We reduced the medication dosages as prescribed. Leʻa was still unable to roll over to her belly, from laying on her side, so I had to place one hand under her head/neck, and the other under her chest, and lift her into this position. And her poor back legs weren’t moving at all! I gently tried moving them, and they were essentially limp! So I held her upright with my knee and one hand, while sliding one of her legs underneath her with my other hand, so she would have one back leg on either side of her body. She needed to be relatively upright for me to feed her and give her her meds. I wondered how what seemed like paralysis (at least partial), could have progressed so rapidly! We were thankful she was showing no signs of pain.
October 28: When we first checked on her this morning we were greeted by the god-awful, wondrous stench of feces! She had laid another golden egg! It took her five and a half days to produce this one, and it was pretty big. We praised her profusely, while Kathryn wrapped it up in a puppy pad and removed it from the room. “Good Girl!!! Good Girl!!! You did your business!!! Good Girl!!!” We wanted her to get used to relieving herself like this, since we didn’t know how long it would be before she was able to go outside and do it on her own again.
But as the joyous, smelly smoke cleared, we noticed that she was again trembling, and that her left side, the side she had slept on, was soaked with urine from her tail to her shoulder. Our poor little love bear! So I rolled her over on her belly, gave her her morning meds, offered her some fresh water, cottage cheese, and Pedialyte; and then rolled her over on her right side. While Kathryn was gently giving her an Oil of Olay sponge bath and cleaning up the floor, I texted the vet. She texted back with another medication change, recommended that we periodically rotate her from one side to the other, and asked us to keep her informed.
Now just hold on! Wait a minute Buddy! What the heck is going on here?!?! It was only three weeks ago that this gentle, joyous creature was a rip-roaring tank-of-a-dog, with some minor symptoms that seemed a lot like arthritis and some intermittent urinary leakage. And such leakage was one of the listed side effects of Previcox, the anti-inflammatory we were giving her for her sore lower back. Sure, we had begun limiting the intensity of her play, when she over-did it a little and had a sore front paw; but how did we get from there to here??? We have been so busy chasing the tail of this rapidly-deteriorating condition, trying to keep our Sweetie Girl alive, that we haven’t really had the time to step back and look at what is really happening. So this furry athlete went from joyfully romping like the wind, to sadly lying on her side without even being able to roll herself over — in a three week period? Come On! All of her blood work was normal, and our new vet, after reviewing the x-rays, said they provided no evidence of CSM, the cervical vertebral condition the other vet, the one who took the x-rays, claimed was confirmed by them. She said the x-rays did reveal some Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), but there was no sign of a fracture or other abnormality in her cervical vertebrae (or anywhere else in her spine). She said the only things that were abnormal about Leʻa’s neck, in the x-rays, were the artifacts produced from taking the x-rays, and that an MRI would offer more information if we needed it.
Now this sent an icy shiver down MY spine, since the first thing I had wanted to do when we got Leʻa back from the iatrogenic x-ray process was have a chiropractor check her out, and adjust her if needed. Both of the prior vets violently opposed this idea, claiming that it could, and probably would result in permanent paralysis. And look at her now! I thought that, because the one vet claimed the x-rays confirmed CSM, a chiropractic adjustment would be pretty risky too, but this had been my initial intuition, and I wish I had gone with it! Leʻa has deteriorated to the point that where there were massive leg muscles, there is now only bone; her back legs are limp and dangling, as if paralyzed; we now must pump her bladder with our hands because she cannot push it out on her own, and only a little seeps out while she is lying down; she has lost interest in eating; the only thing she moves on her own is her head; when we try lifting her up in the vest and sling she can’t get either her front or back legs underneath her and they just hang there; so she is confined to lying on her side in a little room. And now there is a yellowishh milky discharge coming out of her vulva — she has an infection. This is SO SAD!!! And, although her life force is still clearly there, her personality, or conscious presence, seems mostly missing. The one thing she still seems to crave is our touch. Our Baby Girl wants to lie up against our leg, hip, or hand. And, even if it had been CSM, with proper treatment dogs typically live 3-5 years after being diagnosed. So why has it only been three weeks for Leʻa!
So we spent all day with her; praising her, singing to her, offering her food and water, touching her, and loving her in every way we could. We wanted her to feel our love, our hope, our presence. For today’s pau hana we carried her out to a yoga mat in the larger doggy apartment, so she could get a break from her bedroom for a while. Except for an occasional warm lick on my hand, she laid in exactly the same position on the mat until we carried her back to her bed. Malu had seemed less interested in her than usual, although he was just as interested in sniffing her things, nudging us, and investigating her surroundings. While I propped her up on her belly, I gave her her meds, she drank some water and ate a little cottage cheese on her own, and was otherwise uninterested in food. Although unbelievable to me, it seemed like our little love bear was slipping away!
In the early evening our new vet texted us that she had broken her toe today, and also needed to accompany her husband to Oahu tomorrow, Sunday, for a surgery and would be back later in the day.
When we tucked Leʻa in for the night, she was pretty non-responsive.
October 29: Leʻa was resting peacefully when we greeted her this morning. She was no longer trembling, and this felt good. Her head was still on the memory foam cervical pillow we had placed it on last night. She managed to lift her head a little to welcome us. She was such a sweet, courageous friend! We cleaned up the night’s leakage, pumped out some more, rolled her on her belly and gave her her meds, and then laid her on her other side. Kathryn then gave her another sponge bath, and finished cleaning up the mats. She drank a little water, and showed no interest in her food. Her situation was seeming pretty bleak!
So we spent the day with her, like yesterday, and did our best to help her feel our love. Today’s pau hana was held in her bedroom, and its doorway. She was continuing to fade and waste away. She was completely uninterested in food today — even cottage cheese and that yummy sweet potato blend — so I fed her a little with a 20 ml. syringe. She seemed to be struggling to gulp and swallow. The back of her tongue seemed a little swollen or enlarged. She still showed no signs of pain, although she seemed to be growing increasingly sad and uncomfortable. She was just such an active dog, was always joining us in everything, and now she couldn’t.
Toward the end of the evening, while I was laying beside her holding her, she seemed to be telling me that she was ready to leave this broken body and move on! As I was trying to confirm this with her, she reached her beautiful head around and began licking the urine off my arm, like a mother cat, and then her own leg; before collapsing in exhaustion, with a racing, pounding heart. I interpreted the entirety of this experience to mean that she was saying “Yes, silly! I’m ready to leave this body, but I’ll always be here with you, and when I come back physically, I’ll be a kick-ass girl goalie, a shamanic healer, a much-needed vet, or all of the above!” She said “You don’t need to be rolling around in my urine anymore, and neither do I!” She said “I want to be free! Free to run, free to play, free to chase the stars around! Please help me be free!” I was still holding her, and she was now getting pretty wet from something else! I still couldn’t believe it! How could something like this happen — and so quickly?!
Kathryn and I talked it over, and decided that, unless something pretty miraculous happened tomorrow, we would plan our last pau hana with Leʻa. We wanted to get her out to her favorite spot in the yard, help her feel the earth, the sunshine, the gentle breezes; help her see the grass, the trees, the vastness of the sky; help her hear the ocean, the birds, the wind within the palms; help her smell the many things she loves about the yard; help her taste the air, the salt, the sweetness of our love! We wanted to make it a real celebration of life for Leʻa! We wanted her to be in her favorite place with her favorite people feeling really loved when she left this broken body behind! We wanted her to be surrounded by flowers. We wanted her friend Caty to be there.
October 30: Although it came as a real surprise to me, I slept better last night than I had in the last six weeks. Before going to bed, I had emailed the vet our update as usual, including our tentative plan for tomorrow’s celebration.
Leʻa was lying on her side, her beautiful head off the pillow on the mat, and she seemed really thirsty. I propped her up, and we gave her her medication for the last time. She took a big drink. I rolled her over on her other side, and Kathryn gave her her final sponge bath. She had not improved, and seemed even less present than yesterday. We stayed with her for an hour or so, and then I texted the vet to schedule her part of the celebration. She texted me back and said she understood, and could be here between 3:45 and 4 P.M. I confirmed. I texted Caty, and she said she would come over in the early afternoon.
Leʻa was resting peacefully, still not trembling, and showing no signs of pain. We stayed with her until she fell asleep — much like what would happen later today — and then hurried upstairs to have lunch and get ready. Kathryn selected a variety of colorful flowers to spread around her, and we headed back downstairs.
I put her favorite fluffy dog bed beside her, rolled her into it on her side, and then together we lifted her into the bottom half of her crate. We had taken the top off so she could have a little convertible of her own, and to make it easier to put her in and take her out. We then lifted the crate onto a flat refrigerator dolly, and began rolling her toward her victory celebration! Kathryn said she looked like she was smiling, as her rag top cruised along the driveway in the sunshine! This was the first time she had been outside since Thursday, and outside was her favorite place to be. Except for the past three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), there had not been a day in her life since she was eight weeks old that she had not spent at least part of in the great outdoors! She had always slept, eaten, and hung out with us inside; but otherwise preferred to be in nature. So it felt wonderful to get her out there now.
Kathryn had laid a purple yoga mat in one of Leʻa’s favorite places under the Areka palms, where it was sheltered from the sun. She had arranged the pretty flowers on it. We carried her over beside it, and set her down in the dog bed. I then rolled her out of the bed on the yoga mat, where she could breathe in the earth and feel its support.
“You’re a good girl buddy! You’re such a good girl!” I whispered in her soft, floppy ear. “We love you, and you will soon be free! Free to run, free to play, and free to chase the stars around out there!” Kathryn and I sat on another yoga mat next to hers, caressing and holding her, gushing sad, but joyful tears, while generating cascades of love and laughter to fill her final moments with. Leʻa really liked the Indigo Girls station on Apple Music, which was now streaming across the sunny, fragrant yard like a soulful outdoor concert. “Multiply life by the power of two …” I opened a Chimay Grand Reserve, offering Kathryn the inaugural sip, as was our established, high tradition. Then I ran upstairs to get Malu.
Caty and her three month old daughter Everlyn arrived while I was saddling up our sweet doggy boy.
Malu heeled out in his body harness, happy to join the pack in its pau hana. He sniffed Leʻa, her flowers, and the mats; like a doberman detective who would leave not so much as a millimeter unexplored. He greeted Kathryn, Caty, and Everlyn with a snarking little kiss and nudge. Then he trotted off to fulfill his territorial obligations.
We all spoke of Leʻa’s joyful, sweet spirit, unique and playful personality, and evolving intelligence; while caressing her underneath the whispering palms. The yard seemed to come to life, even more than usual, as if the universe had turned up a vibrancy riostat. Richer and more golden seemed the sun. More intensely fragrant were the flowers, earth, and trees. Arabesque was the wind, as it swirled around in well choreographed moves, like dancing spirits performing for our girl. Fuller and sweeter were the sounds, as if enhanced by a hallucinogenic drug. Nature was amplifying its beauty in her honor, and visibly joining us in her celebration of life! As the life force was leaving her body, it was joining with nature to help us see more clearly that she would always be there, all around us! She was trying to help focus us on the oneness of it all. Her broken body was dying, and although this is the form through which we were blessed to know her, this is not who she is. She was showing us who she really is! This made it even easier for us to feel the joy behind the tears!
Caty took some pictures of us with Leʻa during her last pau hana, her celebration of life. Kathryn took some photos of Caty and Everlyn.
Leʻa was lying peacefully on her side, relaxed and happy, surrounded by nature and the people she loved. She still showed no signs of pain. Caty said “I’m glad you’re doing it this way. I hate it when people just keep their pets alive as long as they can when they are suffering.” We agreed.
At 3:30 P.M. I received a text that the vet was on her way. About ten minutes later I heard her diesel truck pull up outside of our large arched wooden gate. She let herself in, after Kathryn had acknowledged her arrival, when she had finished gathering her things from the back of the truck. She walked over to Leʻa, who managed to lift her head a little to greet her. She was filled with warmth and compassion. We all started talking about Leʻa, and the sad state of veterinary medicine in our area. Kathryn and I kept our hands, and sometimes cheeks, on Leʻa the entire time.
After we openly discussed life, love, and the ways that pets are people too; and how this caring act would set her free; the vet explained what would happen next. She said she would administer a shot containing various tranquilizers to relax her further, and make her really sleepy. She said she would then insert a catheter into her leg, and release the pentobarbital that would stop her heart from beating. She explained the possible physical reactions that could occur, and the timeframes. She noted that she would check her heart at two different intervals, to make sure it had stopped, and not started again.
“We’re almost there, Baby Girl! You’re almost free to run and play, to chase the stars around, to join the spirit animals!” I whispered in her soft floppy ear. She laid there quietly, relaxed and happy, surrounded by love and the touch of our hands and bodies. “You’re a good girl Leʻa! We love you!” Kathryn exclaimed, tears tracing well the contours of her cheeks. “We love you Leʻa!” Caty expressed, adding love and tears to the blossoming sentiment.
The vet administered the tranquilizer cocktail. We continued talking to her and touching her. I was kneeling on the mat beside her, touching her with my leg, and alternated between laying my cheek against hers, and whispering loving words into her right ear. “You’re almost free Baby Girl! You’re almost free!” I whispered joyfully. “You’re such a good girl!” “You’ll soon be racing with the wind, chasing the stars, and playing with the other spirit animals!” She was really relaxed now, and Kathryn said she looked like she was smiling. “You’re such a good girl Leʻa! You’re such a good girl!” Kathryn softly murmured. Caty added “We love you Leʻa!”
Our vet inserted a catheter, and then released the pentobarbital into Lea’s bloodstream. I was crying and trembling, while holding her and whispering in her ear. “You’re a good girl Buddy! You’re such a good girl! And now you’re free!” I felt the life force leave her body as the vet checked the first time for her heart beat. Her heart had stopped! Her life force energy sparkled, swirled, and danced around the moment; dazzlingly bright, alive, and joyful; and as it continued spreading outward and upward to rejoin the wholeness of its essence, I sensed her spirit in my spirit, heart, and body. It was even stronger than before, and she was free! I mentioned that I had felt the life force leave her furry form, and Caty said she could even see that it was gone. She said the glow around her body had disappeared. Leʻa, our little love bear, had now departed from her earthly, broken form. The vet checked a second time, and she was gone. I had Caty bring Malu back down so he could experience Leʻa’s body without its life force energy. He walked toward it, and then on past it, immediately realizing that she was no longer there. He sniffed around for a while, and then started break dancing in the grass. He was happy for her too, and felt her spirit as he wriggled, writhed, and rolled.
Trying To Make Sense Of What Happened
After a lot of soul searching, I find myself struggling to make sense out of what has happened here. One thing that seems certain is that something harmful occurred while Leʻa was at the vet getting x-rayed. Why did he anesthetize her? She was unable to provide any feedback regarding her pain or comfort level while under anesthesia. Why did he encourage us to euthanize her on the day she was x-rayed, when dogs with the diagnosis he gave her usually have 3-5 years to live? Why did he tell us that dogs only live 3-12 months after the condition is diagnosed? Why did he tell us the x-rays confirm CSM when they show no sign of it? Why did he tell Caty that he needed the x-rays back immediately, when he was providing no further treatment for Leʻa?
We are essentially peaceful people, but live our lives in pretty responsible ways, and encourage others to live this way as well. When I had checked with the other of the two former vets, his office said they had recently heard quite a few concerning things about the one who took the x-rays. Since they had originally referred me to him, and since they knew I was considering having him take the x-rays, I wondered why they hadn’t shared their concerns with me? The office manager just said, in a regretful, somewhat guilty-seeming way, “Yeah, we’ve heard this a lot lately. Sometimes people just get old, have personal problems, or become impaired for other reasons.” She also commented that their vet had said that the x-raying vet’s explanation and prognosis didn’t make any sense (based on my post-x-ray update). Why didn’t he share this with me? So we are considering filing a complaint with the Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) pursuant to potential malpractice and animal abuse. We want him to either get the help he needs to be a more responsible veterinarian, or resign if he is unable or unwilling to do so; to help protect other animals from his apparent irresponsibility and abuse. This, too, will be part of Leʻa’s Legacy.
I had written to an esteemed physician colleague soon after Leʻa’s x-ray experience, a brilliant doctor who has successfully bridged the turbulent waters between traditional and alternative medicine, to gain his perspective. He has designed, developed, and delivered innovative resonant frequency healing instruments that can, among other things, stop the growth of cancer cells (which are being used in traditional hospitals and medical centers because they work). Unfortunately, he was extremely busy and couldn’t get back with me until November 2, three days after Leʻa left her physical form. He said “Am sorry to hear about your dog. Reading of what happened – will offer a suggestion from my own experience. She has been physically abused and twisted. I don’t know if there was bone damage but there certainly is damage to her structural alignment and possibly ligaments and muscles. I used to see this in my own patients after surgery. People would be in a state similar to being in a pretty major accident of some sort. Just very roughly handled so to speak. From what happened, this Vet needs more training in how to properly handle animals. His lack of compassion is an attribute that as an animal lover myself I find not to be reassuring. Your dog needs to see a Chiropractor that works with animals. May be a little difficult to find, but ask if the Dr. you call doesn’t do this, perhaps they know someone that does. This should get your dog back on track.” And then he offered various treatments on the F125/PGM1 device that I have had since a dear friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015.
Two days after the x-ray process, when Leʻa had not yet recovered with the use of Previcox, I told Kathryn it seemed like either her spine was out of alignment, that she could have possibly been dropped on her back, and/or that her hip ligaments had been stretched or torn while she was being x-rayed. It seemed like both to me (both an alignment/fracture issue and a stretched/torn ligament issue).
So what now? Our Baby Girl is gone! My spiritual self is accepting of what happened, focusing on the love, and seeing that, based on her ultimate condition, her physical death set her free. I also believe the universe needed her back for an important purpose, and that she has some amazing adventures lying ahead. My human side misses her so much, and cries out for justice!
*To be continued — including sections on Euthanizing Pets, Losing Pets, and Pet Resources to Consider When In Question.
Photo credit: Alternative Shrink