Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hey, let's go to Bend for the weekend!

Jacob and I decided that we were going to go visit some great friends of ours that live in Bend, OR. We had never been there before. Every time we mentioned "we are headed to Bend this weekend" to anyone they would say "Oh! I love Bend!" We were so excited.

The trip started out last Saturday morning. All of us, Jacob, Tank and myself, drove up over Mt. Hood and it was beautiful. I was doing all the things I love to do in the car...listening to great tunes, knitting and eating beef jerky!

When we arrived, we were greeted with a warm welcome, a beer and the most glorious lunch I have had in ages. Home made coconut crab and lamb soup with puff pastry tarts. DAMN. THAT WAS GOOD. While planning our evening, Jacob and I noticed that Tank seemed a little bit stiff. That is not uncommon for a 107 lb. giant golden retriever that has just been on a 4 hour car ride. We didn't pay much attention to it because he had taken 2 spills in the car which would result in him moving around this way. Off to Deschutes, Bend Brewing and this cocktail bar called Vault (i think.) We were shown a good time while experiencing the night life of Bend....

When we arrived back at the house,around 11 pm, Tank was not looking good at all. He was barely able to move. He did show some interest in drinking water and was able to go on a short walk to use the bathroom. We just figured his condition could still possibly be from the car ride but decided to keep a watchful eye on him just in case.

Around 2 am is when it became obvious that Tank needed the attention of a vet. His breathing was labored and his extremities (feet, nose and inside his mouth) were ice cold. We was completely unable to move at this time, so Corey brought in a mechanics 'sled' to load him onto. Jacob and Corey carried Tank to the car and we were off. When we arrived at the vet, the snow was really coming down. They brought our a gurney and wheeled him directly back to examine him. About 5 minutes later the doctor came out and said she had found straw colored fluid in his abdomen. She suggested an ultrasound of his heart as well due to it beating 200 bpm rather than the standard 90 bpm. When the results came back, fluid around the heart, we knew that we were to be faced with a night of deep sorrow. Our dog, our friend, had a terminal ailment and we, after hours of loving on him and crying knew what our role was.

We were escorted to a quiet room with dim lighting, pillows and a comfortable couch. There was a blanket laid down on the floor where Tank, when they brought him in, was to lay. We said our goodbyes and notified the vet when we were ready for the injection. There were a series of 3 shots and then Tank was gone.

In one evening into the night, our lives changed again forever. Two months prior, almost to the day, we were faced with no choice but to put our other dog, Hanna, to sleep. I am sure that part of the reason Tank passed away was due to a broken heart. The loss of Hanna weighed heavy on all of us. Perhaps more than we even realized. Tank stayed around long enough to see that Jacob and I would survive after Hanna's passing, and then, he too let go. Those dogs continue to be humongous bright spots in our lives. They inspire me every day to keep moving towards things that make me pay attention to the little things that make me smile. Their spirits, in death as well as in life, are so strong and guide me through. I love my dogs forever and ever and ever. If I close my eyes I can still nuzzle my face in their fur.

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