Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SASSY - My Little Baby Girl Dog Died

Montage of Sassy Type Photos from the Net

37 yrs ago. My little baby girl, Sassy, passed away.  She was a black and tan mix of coonhound and dachsund, tiny runt of her litter, born last.  Her mom, a red dachsund struggled for an hour pushing up against the box springs, under my bed, trying to force the last one out.  Finally, exhausted, she did it, and crawled out and up onto the mattress of the bed where we had put all her other puppies after she had cleaned them off one by one.  She laid down next to them and didn't move.  I reached under and pulled out the tiny fluid sac with puppy still in it, and laid it by her mouth, and kept encouraging the mother, Hot Dog, to help.  She finally licked off the sack and the puppy started wailing a tiny little wail.  Hot Dog licked the fluids out of it's nose and mouth, it was half the size of the other others, and it wailed back at her the whole time.  My mother said "it sure is Sassy!" and the name stuck.  It was a little girl. Hot Dog fell back in a swoon, and the puppies latched on to her teats.  Sassy did not seem to have the right instincts.  My mom knew the formula for feeding baby cats and dogs, made with milk and egg yolks and honey, and we scrounged up an old small baby bottle, and I hand fed "Sassy" who was a little female.  She'd suck and wail, suck and wail.  We weren't sure she'd make it.

 To make a long story short, the next day, Hot Dog developed calcium deficiency epilepsy, seized on the front porch, and all her teats became rock hard.  To save her life, I had to massage her teats three times a day with camphor oil and attempt to squeeze curdled milk out of them, or break it up.  Her body had robbed itself of all calcium to make the milk, triggered the epilepsy and everything broke down.  She could not feed the puppies and she almost died.  So I hand fed all the puppies.  All the others were quickly given away and my brother took Hot Dog with him, but I kept Sassy.  I had her for six years.  Those pics at the top are not her, I lost her pics in a computer crash, but they are very close.

Sassy was my baby girl.  We were extremely close.  She slept with me, often head on my pillow, her back snuggled to my front.  If I was not home, she knew when the door was me or someone else.  My mom says she'd come home, open the door, calling for Sassy, and find her lying on my bed, head on my pillow. She'd raise her head slightly, look at my mom as if to say "you're not Lyle" and lay back down with a big sigh.  Then, when I'd come home, she leap out of bed, run to the door barking and scratching until I could get the door open then about knock me down.

Eventually when she had been through being in "heat" or estrus, and the huge strain that put upon the family, and the neighbors.  She howled all night.  Packs of dogs gathered outside.  She constantly tried to get away to run with the dogs.  The vet convinced me she should be spayed.

After she was spayed, she started having little "seizures" where she'd stop, tremble, bite her tongue, foam would come out of her mouth, and she'd pee herself.  During these, I could not get her jaw pried open to stop her from biting her own tongue.  She'd growl, and seem hostile during them.  I suspected something had gone wrong durng the spaying, maybe a nerve had been damaged, I didn't know what?  The vet gave medicine to control seizures, and for a year I forced the pill down her throat.  She was adept at seperating it from dry dog food and spitting it out, and if I crushed it she'd avoid it altogether, for days if she had to.  So it was coat it with butter, and force it down her throat followed by food to make her swallow it.

It turned out she had inherited some kind of epileptic strain from her mother, and the fits got worse and worse, longer and longer.  In between she knew me less and less.  During them she would bite if you got near her.  I was the only one that could get near her during a fit and even then I had to really watch it.  I'd hold her down until it subsided and clean her up, but she no longer knew me.  She'd started leaping off the bed when the fit hit and hit her head on the floor and got big bumps.  She'd soil the bed and floor, no control. When she started trying to bite my mother when I was not home, I knew I had to let her go as the Vet had been suggesting.  He'd told me I was being cruel to Sassy to keep her suffering just because I could not bear to think of being without her.  That if I really loved her, I'd allow her to peacefully go to sleep and stop suffering.

So one fine summer day, I bundled her into a blanket to minimize her struggling in the car, by then she was so sick she didn't fight much.  She tried not to vomit during the car ride, she was such a good girl.  I carried her in, and the Vet took me right back and had me lay her on her side on the cold shiny metal table waist high.  She struggled, her claws scrabbling trying to stand up, but I hugged her chest and hind and held her head down with my head.  She looked up into my eyes, trusting me completely, with the love she had always given me unconditionally - she knew me in that last mnute.  I cooed to her kept telling her what a good girl she was and how much I loved my little baby and she barely jerked when the vet put the needle in her leg.  I kept staring into her eyes and he said it won't be long... and I saw the light just go out in her eyes.  She didn't close them, or move, but I knew she was gone.  I looked at him and he closed her eyes and I broke down bawling and sobbing so hard I couldn't breathe.  He asked "do you want us to take care of her?" and all I could do was nod yes and I started race walking thru the halls to the lobby and burst out the doors running.  When I got outside the sobbing rasps trying to draw breath were so loud, I got in my car and just started driving, I don't even know where I went, I couldn't see very good for the crying and sobbing.  Every time I started thinking of heading home the body wracking grief would keep me driving.

It's been 37 years, and still I feel my chest shut down, I can't breathe, I get totally upset with an anxiety attack and jumpy and anything sets me off and I bawl like a baby.  I can't go through the memories, my heart is still broken.  If you ever had a tiny dog who was your baby, and quite possibly the only other creature in the world that ever loved you besides your own mother, then you can understand.  I have been unable to have a pet since then.  It's too painful.

Copyright 2011 VROUK

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