I've been dreading writing this post for a while now, and while I could've just shoved it under the carpet and never mention it again, I figured it would be best to write my feelings down and share about this sad time in our lives.
A few weeks ago we lost our first "baby", our dog Zuma. Zuma has been with us since he was a teeny tiny puppy, leaving diarhea piles in our house, biting our ankles and chewing up our couches. For the last six years, he has been an important part of our family and it's hard to imagine life before him.
He was the weirdest dog you would ever meet, he never let anyone but us and Ashlie pet him and he was deathly afraid of everything. Sometimes you would pet him and if he didn't see it coming he would cry like you had just spanked him.
If you followed my blog for a while, you know that Zuma had epilepsy. He had his first seizure when he was two years old and we've been dealing with multiple seizures a year ever since. We started out with one seizure pill a day, but as the years passed by and his epilepsy worsened, we had to give him more and more medication to keep the seizures at bay. Lately, he had to take five pills a day, at specific times.
Ever since his first seizure, he started to go blind, which was probably a big reason for why he was so afraid of everything. It was very sad to watch, but we loved him to pieces. I remember, a few weeks before I had Fox, I asked Katie if she thought I would love Fox as much as I loved Zuma. Sadly, I didn't know how much my heart would expand and how much you could love your baby, but that also shows how much I loved this dog.
He loved the beach in Mexico, loved his brother Cosie, loved Cheese Time (we would wrap his pills in a piece of cheese and called "Cheese Time") and being outside in the grass. He loved Fox and Fox was obsessed with Zuma, he loved him so much. His first word was dog and he would always get so excited whenever he saw Zuma.
Zuma was such a good listener, but was also stubborn and had a mind of his own.
So a few weeks ago, we had Show Week from Work, which means long hours and very little time at home. Zuma has had seizures two times during previous Show Weeks already, which was also the reason we had to stop bringing him to Puppy Camp at PetsMart.
When I came home one day, Matthias was on the phone with Katie because Zuma had started to seize. I don't want to go in the details, but it was pretty hard to watch. I tried calming him down for a while, but after 30 minutes of one seizure after the other, decided to bring him to the vet.
When I got there, they were ready for me (Katie had called ahead), so I grabbed my big 50lbs fluff ball and carried him into the vets office, where they had a table with various shots prepared for him. As I mentioned, Zuma was a very scared dog, so when he saw where we were, he freaked and bit me in the face. I immediately knew that my tooth had broken off and could taste blood right away. While they were helping Zuma, I went to the bathroom to assess the damage and I had two bite marks on my face and as suspected, a broken tooth. One of the vets took a look at me and said I needed to go to the Emergency Room immediately, at this point, I was crying and in shock, so I left my dog, not knowing, that I would never see him again. You see, we've dealt with seizures like this many times in the past, and usually it only takes a good shot of pheno and valium to get him out of it and back to "normal", which is why I left without looking back. I don't think I will ever forgive myself for this.
I went to the ER where they treated my wounds, which luckily weren't as bad as they looked, but he had bitten through my cheek and lip twice.
When I got home, Katie was beside herself, crying hysterically. She told me that the vet had called and told her that he's suggesting to put Zuma down. Not because he bit me, although he said with a 1-year old in the house, this might happen again and we wouldn't want to risk that. He said that Zuma's condition will worsen very rapidly now. His liver had already been damaged tremendously from the amount of medication he'd been taking for the last four years, he was going blind and he would have a lot more seizures going forward, each of them getting worse and worse.
While I was initially very upset that the decision had been made without me, in the end, I was glad that I didn't have to be part of making the decision, because I know I couldn't have, which Katie knew as well.
The following days were full of sorrow, guilt and regret for me. I just felt like I could've prevented what happened. What, if I didn't bring him to the vet? What, if I didn't decide to carry him into the vet's office myself? What if we would've brought him home instead?
On some level I know that it was the right decision, especially with Fox in the house, but that doesn't make it better.
Most days, we still think that he'll be coming home. Seeing his pictures all over our house, his toys in the yard and his bed in our bedroom is hard.
We know that he's in a better place now, where he doesn't have to be afraid anymore and we hope to see him again someday.