For those who follow my site (if anyone even does) and may have noticed there has only been one post. Well I am going to go out of my comfort zone regarding this topic, and explain why. I would have sooner, but I needed time to myself and was in no state of mind to discuss this. I have basically taken this last month off, and only spoken to the very small circle of my friends (consisting of like 3 people, 4 if you count my Momma).
My puppy mill rescue, a Maltese named Riley (also known as Rileyboo, Booboo, Little Fred or just Fred)
Sadly went to the Rainbow Bridge on February 2nd.
This is the one and only time I am explaining what happened.
Background on Riley:
Riley, formally Toby was adopted on August 10th, when I was 16 years old (turning 17 the 6th of that next month), and all I wanted was a little Maltese girl. So my Momma surprised me after cheer practice and said we were going to look at some at a local rescue. All of these Maltese pups had been puppy mill rescues. I had taken my time with all of them, but nothing felt right. I was discouraged and thought I wouldn’t find the right one after all. So as we were leaving, I noticed in the very back of this huge black crate, was a little tiny white (or at the time more off-white, ball of fur) literally curled up into the smallest little ball. So I asked the lady if I could see him, and she was like he is really shy and a lot further behind socially than the others. I didn’t mind! So she crawled in and got him out, handed him to me and that was it. He laid down in my arms and lap, and I fell in love.
This top picture is when she handed him to me for the first time. The bottom two are our ride home after we left.
I have had Riley for 8 years (9 years this coming August 10th). They never could tell me for sure how old he was because his jaw had been shattered, and his teeth were rotten and had to all be removed except two…. and those two eventually fell out. As time went on we noticed his little back legs and hips were not right, so we took him to his vet right away. He had x-rays done, and we discovered he had Hip Dysplasia and Luxating Patellas, but nothing that caused him pain. With his age and all he had gone through, plus being so small (4 pounds) they just could not risk surgery. The vet taught me how to help him, and how to help put his leg back into place in a way that he didn’t even feel it. So for years after that he was fine, other than just typical older dog issues. I did everything for him. I carried him to help his leg, I let him sleep with me. He sometimes had seizures and once again, I took him to the vet and they said since it wasn’t very severe, to just stay calm and he should be okay. They never got worse, so I just would wake him up and calm him down….. much like one would do with a baby. I never wanted to treat him like something was wrong. He was a normal dog, and that is how he wanted to be treated. Not saying I wasn’t always aware and the second something happened he went to the vet. But over all he was fine.
The first year with Riley:
Finally this year (really since last fall), things took a drastic turn. His little bad leg was completely unusable and he lost most of his hair. He went down to 2 pounds. Some people think I didn’t take care of him quick enough, but I did. I spoke with the vet and our main goal was getting his weight back up and treating his skin. The vet put him on special food to help him gain weight, plus antibiotics when he had a gastrointestinal infection. He also got special prescription shampoo for his skin and to help these sores that he kept getting all over him. We all knew that nothing could be done for his leg, and trust me I had asked many times, but it would have been too dangerous. Fortunately though he was still not in any pain. He didn’t whimper or cry out when I touched him or when he walked on it and he could still run with it.
As more months passed and he started to look more frail I pretty much knew what was coming, and the decision I had to make (even though some people thought they would try to take him and make that decision for me). He was and always will be MY baby, and no one was going to take him from his Mommy. He would have been terrified.
Around the 31st of January (I believe), we noticed his leg was worse, and it seemed like he had fallen. Which happened sometimes, the main reason I mostly carried him, but he was still eating and drinking fine. I had a nerve block for my shoulder on February 1st (that I tried to cancel, but couldn’t). I went to my procedure and even while out of it from anesthesia I spent the whole day with him when I came home and scheduled an appointment with the vet for the following morning. I was a mess, because by that point he was not well, and in a lot of pain. I knew what I had to do for him, and my heart was breaking. I had gotten him pain medicine from the vet, before my procedure so he would be comfortable until I could take him to the vet. Thank God for those!
When we went to the vet on the 2nd (the very vet who first saw him when I got Riley) we all made the decision that his quality of life was not very good, and that we could do pain medicine but that would just prolong the inevitable. I said I didn’t want him to suffer, and made the choice to end his pain and suffering…… hardest thing I have ever done. I held him the entire time (with his stuffed Turtle) and told him he was so brave and it was okay to let go, that Mommy loved him so much and I would be okay for him, and he didn’t have to worry. I said I was so proud of him, and said night night, baby (what I sang him every night). At this point even the vet was having trouble not crying. I held him until his heart stopped, and then handed him over to the vet. He was amazing and didn’t even charge us for it, just to bury him there (which is what I requested, I couldn’t do that myself). After I said goodbye, I handed him over. I ran out to the car and broke down. If it wasn’t for my boyfriend, I think I would have collapsed in the parking lot. I know I did the right thing, and he is no longer suffering from his leg, but it doesn’t help the heartache.
Now remember, I had a nerve block procedure the morning before this, so my pain level was intense, but honestly I was so numb I didn’t even feel it. I went into a very severe depression, that I am still dealing with. I suffer from that and anxiety to begin with, so it was really bad. I had lost a dog (my Husky, Patches at age 9 almost 10), very suddenly on Christmas 2012. In 2014 I also lost my Grandfather (Pap) also very suddenly and when I was very young I lost my Grandmother (Mamaw) in a head on car crash, where both my mother and I were there driving in front of her, and were almost hit ourselves. So it isn’t like I am being overly dramatic and do not know loss and grief. I unfortunately am well acquainted with it, but for some reason, this was just too much. I am so tired of losing loved ones.
I get there are some people, who are like it is just a dog. Well to me, he was my baby. When I first got him he wouldn’t even make eye contact, and then he was playing peek-a-boo, and just morphed into this little ball of fur who loved me as much as I did him. I could not be more proud of Rileyboo now and forever!
I think due to the time and dedication, and all of the effort I put in to help take care of him, plus the strong bond we shared, is why my heart has just been completely broken and shattered into a million pieces. So I took this month off, to just cry and feel. Lexi (my 5 year old Yorkie) and I have helped each other. She loves and misses her brother. Riley left her his Turtle, and she has taken care of it, and slept with it ever since.
I know I will be okay, every day is different though, I was good for a week, and then out of nowhere sobbed and stayed in bed for two days.
All of the stress and tension from this has had a huge impact on my body and recovery from the nerve block. Two weeks after it, I had horrible pain and side affects. I am doing somewhat better now though thankfully. My next nerve block is on March 20th, so lets hope this one goes better.
With all of this being said, I would now like to share pictures down below of my sweet little Fred (his nickname). For anyone who has gone through a loss of any kind, I am so sorry! It never goes away, but with time the hurt isn’t so intense. I just personally haven’t gotten there yet. Thank you for reading my post! I promise a happier one is coming up next. I just couldn’t not mention him and what happened. Next post will be a Q&A that had mostly been finished before all of this happened. Anyway, enjoy these pictures of my little Rileyboo!
We love you so much, baby Boo!
Love, Mommy, Daddy, Lexi (puppy sister), Willow and Mesha (kitty sisters), Momma, my Daddy (your buddy), Uncle Josh and most of all your best friends; Turtle, Ella the Elephant and Henry the Hedgehog
You and Patches have fun at the Rainbow Bridge until we get there and can be together again.
I love you so much! Night night, baby!