Miss Truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair.
Thank you all so very much for all of your kind comments, e-mails, messages, cards, calls, and everything else I've received over the last several days. I have read and appreciated every message, and I am just overwhelmed by the many people who have taken the time to send a little bit of love and comfort our way. It really has meant more to us that you know, and I have been so touched by your generosity. And, for everyone else who wrote to me about losing their own pets, or who is going through their own tragedy, my sympathy is with you, and I hope you are surrounded by people who are as wonderful as all of y'all are.
I've been okay. It was, of course, hardest in the beginning; on Sunday, I would randomly transform into a screaming M'Lynn from Steel Magnolias, grabbing whomever happened to be nearby, and screaming, "I can jog all the way to Texas and back, but my dog can't! She never could! I'm so mad I don't know what to do! I wanna know why! I wanna know whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" etc., ad nauseum.
I also succeeded in essentially locking my own self out of this website for a few days; even though I knew everyone was leaving nice comments, and I wanted to read those nice comments, I would come over and see the "Goodbye, Girl," and break the hell down. It was one of the last things I ever said to Tasha, and reading those words up there just killed me all anew. In retrospect, I should have named the entry something with less locking-Leigh-out capability, such as "There is a lot of wine in the refrigerator right now." That is the sort of thing I should be keeping in mind. Think positive!
I have realized that the fact that Tasha's death was so sudden is both a curse and a blessing. From my own perspective, it was horrible. I am still reeling from the idea that she really, really didn't make it. I think it truly sunk in yesterday, when the pet mortuary (yes) called me to finalize her "arrangements," and to see if I'd picked out an urn. That was stark and real and awful, and I think the weight of the thing hit me then. But Tasha's death was just so wholly unexpected, and so totally out of the blue; on Saturday morning, I had four dogs. By the time the sun went down, my little girl was gone, and I was left with three. I didn't see it coming, and it took my breath away.
But, on the other hand, I am so very, very thankful that Tasha did not suffer. On Friday, she was seemingly healthy; she ate her food, she sniffed the bushes outside, and she watched television on the couch, curled up next to me while I packaged up some orders. I was eating potato chips, and every time I dropped one, she'd spelunk into the depths of the couch to retrieve it. She seemed fine, and I don't think she was in pain.
Hell, even on the day she died, she didn't seem that sick until the very end; we decided to take her to the vet as a precaution. Her cough sounded a little different; she seemed to be wheezing, and she was holding her head in an odd way. Little things -- and things that are not unheard of in a dog with asthma -- but enough to convince me that we needed to take her in. Within several hours, she did not have the strength to lift her head. Shortly after that, her little heart just stopped beating. And though the doctors were able to revive her, the lack of oxygen to her brain had resulted in severe brain damage. Looking into Tasha's eyes, I could tell that she was already gone, and so we did what had to be done.
Putting Tasha to sleep was probably the hardest thing I have had to do. And I hate that her illness and death happened so quickly, but at the same time, I am so glad that it happened so quickly. Tasha did not suffer for long. She did not have to endure lengthy treatments, and she never had to spend the night alone and scared at the animal hospital. Even though it was harder on us to have her taken so quickly, it was much easier on her, and she was the one who mattered. She gave me seven wonderful years, and I am thankful for every second.
But, it's still hard. Because I apparently enjoy torturing myself, I cannot stop going over the past few days in my mind, trying to remember something I'd overlooked, a sign that she was sick, and that she needed my help. For the first few days, I was convinced that if I'd only done something differently, that would have saved her, and that Tasha's death was all my fault. But I am slowly beginning to realize -- having spoken to the veterinarian who cared for her on the day she died, and her regular veterinarian -- that there was really nothing I could have done. On Saturday, as I cried over my little girl, the vet put her hand on my back and said, "She didn't tell you. You couldn't know, if she didn't tell you." And logically, I am beginning to see how that's right. But it does not stop me from wondering.
And, it sure as fuck has not stopped me from one bit of the insanity I have now developed for the other dogs. I am convinced that they are all about to up and die from Mad Cow disease, malaria, rickets, ebola, or any flavor of other obscure disease, and I have analyzed every cough, sneeze, growl, bark, and whimper until I am about to drive them all insane. Seriously, they are about to rise up and KILL me. I can't stop picking them up, poking all over their little mad, brown bodies, checking their gums for color and their little noses for cold-and-wet, before depositing them hesitantly on the floor again. Now, when they see me coming, they scatter like cockroaches, screaming, "FOR LOVE OF GOD DOGS ARE FINE! STOP POKE! STOP POKE US!"
But don't worry -- they are not completely miserable, because I am also spoiling the holy fuck out of them all. This is arguably a Bad Thing, but I don't remotely care. On the night Tasha died, my family went into full-on-crisis mode; mom and dad went to the store and purchased me ice cream, potato chips, frozen pizzas, and five bottles of wine. I also sent Dukay shopping, with explicit instructions to bring back every single dog treat and bone available in the metro area. Which he did, and the remaining three dogs have lived in an orgasmic, bone-chewing land since Saturday. And their enviable position has become even more enviable when you also take into account the new dog bed I have purchased them, as well as the new faux-fur blanket they have received in order to maximize their snoogly comfort on the sofa. The remaining dogs cannot believe their good luck. They love this whole mourning/death thing! Someone should die DAILY! And if the treats start to subside, they'll just shoot Pugsley, and then helloooooo, bacon!
So, the dogs are fine. They're fucking GREAT. And I am getting better. As many of y'all know, it's just hard to lose a pet. But I am trying to keep my perspective -- I still have my awesome parents, wonderful sister, cute-bottomed boyfriend, and three really bad, rapidly-getting-fatter doxies. My family is healthy and whole. In the grand scheme of things, I know that this is a little tragedy, and I am incredibly lucky.
But, as it turns out, I am even luckier than I thought. When Tasha died, one of the things that made me the most upset was just how pointless it was. I mean, no, the death of a pet doesn't often have a purpose, and it's not like most dachshunds are out there dying for their country or in protest of our environmental policies or things like that, but still. There wasn't any "why" to the whole nastiness, and there was no way that it could be turned into something positive. You know? Like, if your dog dies of some odd disease that has symptoms X, Y, and Z, you can tell people to watch out for those symptoms, and maybe other dogs will be saved. With Tasha, I can't do that. I can't tell people how to prevent their own dogs from dying, and that only made things seem even more awful.
But, as I said, it turns out that I am incredibly lucky. Because, several days ago, a missdoxie.com reader donated $5,000 to Dachshund Rescue in memory of Tasha. And immediately after that, DRNA sent me a list of other donations y'all have made in memory of my girl. I read all of this, and I burst into tears. Because now, Tasha's death will have a silver lining, and other doggies will be helped because of her. It's the only thing that makes any of this okay.
So when I start missing my girl, and when I first wake up in the morning and remember that she is gone, this is what I think about: I think about how, somewhere out there, is a dachshund who has lived a shitty life. But now, thanks to several wonderful people, and in honor of my little Tasha, that little guy is going to be saved, and he is going to get to live in a home with people who wil love him, and give him bacon, and scratch him in just the right place behind his little ears. He's going to have a chance to be happy, and Tasha played a part in giving him that chance. Knowing that makes everything so much better. It doesn't quite answer the "whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?" question that the M'Lynn in me keeps screaming, but it helps a lot. And then, as M'Lynn would also say, life goes on. And sure enough, it does.
So, thank you so much to everyone. I will be back soon with tales of the three bad dogs (I am officially the only female in the household now; ergo, I am totally fucked), Christmas shopping, and my white-hot hatred for that song about the fucking Christmas shoes (which makes me scream "HURRY UP AND DIE, WOMAN!" at the radio every time it comes on). But I wanted to close this chapter first, to say goodbye to our little lady, and to tell all of you how much I appreciated your support and your generosity. And of course, I also want to encourage all of y'all to give to DRNA this holiday (or really, to any other animal rescue organization you like), in honor of any four-legged creature that has touched your life. Even if the donation is small, it still makes a huge difference for everyone. I know what a huge difference it made for me.
Thank you all, for all of your support, and kindness, and sympathy. You're all wonderful, and I love you more than my luggage.