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Monday, May 23, 2005

Haley is dead

Haley died in her sleep last night.

After I left the movie yesterday I headed directly to the hospital to see my uncle. When I saw his condition, I called my mom and told her to come up immediately and not wait for me to get home.

I got home a little after three and bottle-fed Haley some water. We then went outside, where she could breathe more easily - it was a cool day, and there were plenty of shadows for her to lay in, and after a while her panting slowed, and then stopped. At one point she stirred a little and stood up, so we went for a little walk around the house. I then repositioned her to a spot a little lower on the lawn where she could see passing traffic. When somebody walked by with a dog, she stood up and barked. I was so happy, I wanted to invite the strange dog up to play.

I left her outside while I wrote yesterday's entry. I rolled open a window so I could hear her, and she perked up her ears and looked at me. She looked fine. She wasn't panting anymore.

At about 6:30 I was invited up to my cousin's house. They had gotten back from the hospital and were making the arrangements for my uncle's funeral. A neighbor had ordered pizza, and they were having a sort of impromptu wake - minus the body, of course.

At 8:00 I excused myself and walked home to give Haley her Lasix. I also gave her some bits of burger and another 6.75-ounce bottle of water.

At about 9:30 I decided to head for bed. I helped Haley down the steps to the place where we sleep. She was very weak and slipped down a few steps at the bottom before I could catch her.

She was restless. I think it was uncomfortable to lay down, because any position would crush her lungs and cut off her breathing. So she kept changing position, standing here, sitting here. She would lay down occasionally, but I think these were the times when she was too weak to stand.

Then she did something unusual. She came into bed with me. For as close as we are, she never liked sleeping in my bed.

She kept changing position, usually so her panting mouth would be pointed at the fan at the foot of my bed. I fiddled with my alarm clock and changed the wake-up time from 4:30 to 6:00. We would not be going for a walk in the morning, and there would be no point in stressing her by waking her up early. And if she died in the night, there would be no point in finding out about it too early.

Every once in a while she would go from a sitting-and-panting position to a laying-and-panting position for a few seconds - but again, I think this was when she lost the strength to hold herself upright. I tried to prop her up with a blanket and with my body, but that didn't seem to help.

At about 11:30 Haley became a little slower about getting back up when she would lay down. Her panting had become more desperate, but when she would lay down her breathing would slow - a lot. I called my mom and told her she should kiss Haley goodnight, because I didn't think she would make it through the night. Haley's cat friends came down to attend, too.

Just before midnight Haley stood up and, showing surprising strength, jumped out of bed. She walked out of the room towards another room where we have some papers laid out for her. Maybe the Lasix is working, I thought.

I found her in a dark corner of the room. Maybe she was peeing, I'm not sure. But it was the most cave-like corner of the room. I know that when dogs decide to die, they often choose a small, enclosed, cave-like area to do it. I didn't want it to be there.

I led her out of that room and she headed into the adjacent bathroom - again, small, dark, and cavelike. No, not there either.

I took her to her bed. It is a dog bed from Sam's Club, laid out in front of the washer and dryer in the laundry room - small, cavelike. The bed is thickly padded, so I thought that might relieve some of the pressure on her chest. And if she was to die in the night, that would be a proper place for it to happen.

She looked up at me with something that wasn't pain. I think that it was gratitude. She wasn't panting. I kissed her goodnight one last time.

I lay down and tried to sleep.

I woke at 4:44 this morning - a pretty typical time that I would finally stop hitting the Snooze bar and finally rally and get out of bed. No, stay. Wait.

I finally allowed myself to get up an hour later. I went to see Haley. She was stretched out on her bed in a typical sleeping position. I reached out to stroke her head, scratch her behind the ear.

Cold.

I touched her outstretched front legs. Stiff. Back legs, too.

Haley is dead.

I will make arrangements for her cremation later today. After the vet's office opens.

Haley is dead.

And I want no part of any Heaven that will not admit dogs.

9 comments:

Betsy said...

Betsy said...
I was with Harold at the movie that he speaks of in his recent blog. Something that I forgot to mention to him when we spoke today briefly about Miss Haleys passing is the following.

I have a wonderful 7 year old son.
In the past year he was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome. A mild form of autism, but one which comes with its own set of problems.

I was given a list by this or that doctor of all of the symptoms etc. He has just about all of them...BUT...one of the symptoms is that these children generally do not like to hug, or make physical contact which he loves to do...and the other thing...these children generally cannot sense when someone else is sad.

At the movies yesterday my son said to me as we were walking out.
"Mom, Harold looks sad". He then looked up at Harold and said
"Harold, how is your dog doing"?

From the mouths of babes....

The world will miss Haley, but noone as much as her best friend.
You did well by her Harold, never forget that.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry, Harry. I know you loved Haley very much and I echo Betsy's thought that you did well.

Deepest condolences on both Haley and your uncle. Pax.

Anonymous said...

Oops, that was me, Bill.

rimalicious said...

I am so sorry to hear about Haley. Your post brought me to tears and I almost started up again when I read Betsy's post because I am struggling with my son whom I too believe may have asperger's syndrome. What a small world! We are working at getting him in to testing and evaluations but it is a slow process. He is 5 yrs old so his age also makes it difficult to diagnose. I would LOVE to speak with Betsy about her experiences. Please contact me through my Blog or on Yahoo IM, username rimaburt.

D.B. Echo said...

Rima, I have passed your message along to Betsy.

In the meantime, you might be interested in contacting Jess Nevins - his site, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, is linked on my sidebar. I believe that he has stated - in all seriousness - that he has Asperger's, and he is doing quite well as a married research librarian and author of several incredibly detailed books on literary minutiae. Several other people with varying degrees of Asperger's post regularly on his site.

While I have never been diagnosed, I think it is possible that I may have a touch of the condition. And I'm doing pretty well for myself.

rimalicious said...

Awesome! Thanks!

D.B. Echo said...

Here is the relevant post from Jess Nevins. It sounds like he wasn't suggesting as seriously as I thought he was that he might have Asperger's, but from what I know of the condition, I wouldn't be surprised. Anyone whose chosen career involve delving into footnotes of footnotes of footnotes of minor literary works seems to be exhibiting some of the traits that caused Dr. Asperger to refer to his patients as "little professors."

http://www.livejournal.com/users/ratmmjess/80203.html


Check out literalgirl's comment on Jess's post. You may want to get in touch with her, too:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/ratmmjess/80203.html?thread=709707#t709707

Betsy said...

Dear Rimalicious, my aol addie is Irisheyez44@aol.com Send me an e-mail and I would like to forward you an article that I found very informative.
Harold of course found it for me as he was with me as a freind when they diagnosed Ricky.

I will send you more info in e-mail form to not make all of Harolds faithful readers suffer thru the boredom. LOL!

rimalicious said...

Thanks again to both of you. I had actually read the article Jess linked to before and I feel that it is dead on with my son. I just met with his principle (he starts kindergarten in fall) and some of the special ed staff for an IEP last week and they were very helpful. He will be pulled from mainstream classes for 2 1/2 hr and one full hr session per week. At lest that's the plan now, could change by the time school starts. I meet next week with a therapist he used to see when he was three to get him back in with her. I think 3 yrs may have just been too young to get a diagnosis but I would really like to get one now because I know it will help him and it will help ME! Thanks again!