Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Goodbye Jes

With much sorrow, I had to say goodbye to my sentimental favorite, Jes, this morning. I adopted Jes from Birmingham nearly 10 years ago when I was 18. What a decade of life changes it has been. She is not my most famous hound, not the highest titled, and never made a top 10 list. But she was my screw-up dog. The screw-up dog is the one you train and retrain over and over. The one who endures all of your mistakes, hard lessons, and your what-NOT-to-do moments. The screw-up dog is the one that helps you to make your future dogs be all they can be. I'm so grateful for everything she taught me, for getting me hooked on dog sports, for making me learn about clicker training, and for all the great times we had. She's probably most people's favorite of my crew. She's the perfect one who generally stays out of trouble except for jumping baby gates. In fact, she was still jumping them last week. This literally started and ended in less than 12 hours. I came home from class around 9 PM on Tuesday. She did not get up to greet me and had not finished her Kong. After a closer look, I thought that she was bloating and took her to the ER. X-rays showed that she was not bloating, but had a mass near the spleen. She was in shock and needed to be stabilized immediately and then ultra sound in the morning to determine what it was. She responded well to the IV fluids and blood work showed nothing alarming. So I went home. At 5 AM, the Dr. called to say that she was crashing and that the tumor had started bleeding into her abdomen. At that point she needed a blood transfusion and exploratory surgery. He said the chances of it being a benign tumor where unlikely and she was a high risk for dying on the table. I opted to let her go and rushed back up there to say goodbye. She didn't respond to me at that point, but I'm glad I was there. I'm grateful that she didn't suffer long. She really had great quality of life up until the last evening. She's always been healthy, eaten every meal offered, and always had an active life. Even went on her last hike 3 days ago. She wallowed in the lake like she usually does. She got a burst of speed and galloped up the hill. I remember shouting "WOO HOO" at her because it's always great to see an older dog get a burst of energy. Just didn't expect it to be all over so quick. Anyways, hurting like heck right now.