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Bloganuary prompt for the day: How are you brave?

When I first saw this prompt, I had a hard time coming up with an example given the definition of brave, but yesterday ended in a very unexpected way, and I will consider the decision we made as an act of bravery.

Yelps of pain

At about 3pm yesterday afternoon, as I was in my living room, a series of yelps came screaming out of the backyard; my wife rushed in and said it was our dog, Rylee. As I came out she tried to come to me, dragging the rear half of her body along the ground. Based on the yelp and the behavior, I was pretty sure she must have broken a leg — I wish we were that lucky.

I tried to comfort her and did a complete check of her extremities, with no sign of a break or bleeding. I tried to see if she could put weight on her back legs, but nothing. My initial thought was to let her relax and see if it went away, but something told me this wasn’t one of those “shake it off” moments. While others tried to comfort her I started calling emergency veterinarian services. It was a longer process than expected as most of the emergency facilities in our area were at capacity or had an 8-12 hour wait. After a half dozen calls, I found a facility in Frederick, Maryland. We moved Rylee to the truck and headed to the ER. The entire time, Rylee was trembling and clearly uncomfortable but not crying, so I was hopeful.

The Prognosis

Rylee at 10 weeks

After being seen by the veterinarian, we were told that whatever happened was neurological. Either a ruptured disk or a stroke. Rylee would need an MRI and neurologist, and surgery with no guarantees of recovery and, at best, a 70% return to normal. While offering us a host of options, it was clear that this vet did not have high hopes for the outcome as almost every statement seemed to reinforce the inevitable — we would have to let Rylee go.

Honestly, to this point, the idea of life without Rylee did not seem to be a big deal, but now this was different.

Rita and I discussed it and weighed all the options and known challenges that would await us. This, combined with the fact that Rylee would likely suffer the entire time — for our lovely girl this was unacceptable.

Saying Goodbye

Rylee at 6 weeks

I am not a person who wants any part of death, and the idea of being with Rylee as she died was an immediate no. But my wife and my memories told me I was wrong. Just over 8 years ago, an 8-week-old puppy picked me to be her new “dad,” and there was no way I wouldn’t be with her at the end. It sucked. I hadn’t really realized how much I loved this dog until this moment, and thankfully, Rylee seemed to know and calmed down a little. The vet was kind and made the process as peaceful as possible.

My father and mother passed due to cancer, and while these were sad, they hadn’t been a constant part of my life for years, but Rylee had, and her loss has hit me in a very unexpected way. I never want to forget her, but man, I want these feelings to go away.

2023Bloganuary 2023
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  1. Gwena January 2, 2023 at 18:31 - Reply

    I am so sorry to hear about Rylee and I do know exactly how you are feeling. We lost our dog Logan very suddenly about 5 years ago. I was devastated and just couldn’t get over it. Within two weeks I knew I needed a way to move on. We adopted another dog and although he could never replace Logan, he definitely helped to fill the void in my heart. You have my deepest sympathy and I hope you can find whatever is needed to fill the void in your heart. Rest In Peace Rylee.

  2. […] weeks ago, when we lost Rylee, the pain and the feeling of loss were unexpected. The thought of another dog was simply not in the […]

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