(First of all, I want to start this blog post off by saying this…I know people are suffering and struggling from Covid sickness and there are far greater problems in the world than mine. In my small circle of people I know there has been great loss in the past couple of weeks. My problems do NOT compare in the least, but man, we are sure struggling in our own way right now.)
(Oh and also…I feel like I only blog about sad things. I will really try to make my next post a bit more upbeat, but I am not making any promises depending how the next few days go)
And here we go.
I don’t know if you remember, but 2 years ago when we forced our kids to move to Florida away from everything and everyone they knew and loved, we also forced Abbie to leave her beloved pet pig behind. This was devastating for her. She had always wanted a pig. She wrote us an illustrated persuasive book telling us how better our lives would be if we got her a pig. Like any good parent would do, we got her a pig. We couldn’t bring sweet Lola with us to Florida and she had to leave her behind. We thought that was bad…boy were we wrong.
After we moved to Florida, Abbie began her quest for a new pet. We took her pig away from her and now she was lonely and in a new state. She started talking about a French Bulldog on our drive down to Florida. Of course we said oh heck no. Just what we needed was another animal to add to our sad lonely chaos. We made it 3 weeks being here before we caved. (Hey, I count that as a win!). On a whim we googled “French Bulldogs for sale near me” and about 3 hours later we surprised our sweet Abbie with her new Frenchie that we named “Pumba.” Pumba is basically a pig in dog form. Her snorts, grunts, and has some smelly gas. He even was born on Abbie’s birthday. They were a match made in heaven, but living on earth.
For the past 2 years, Pumba and Abbie have been living their best lives. They are connected at the hip. Where Abbie goes, Pumba goes. Where Pumba goes, Abbie goes. He runs out to greet her every time she comes home. He whimpers when she leaves. I don’t get it. I guess I would classify myself as a non-animal person (even though we have 2 dogs, 2 cats, a bird and a hamster). The bond that these two have is indescribable. I never understood when people talked about their animals and treated them like people. I will be honest, I probably even said not kind things about people who spend more than $50 on any animal. Well, that was until yesterday. Our world was rocked yesterday.
Yesterday around 1:00ish, Dan called me at work and told me Pumba was having a really hard time breathing and he thought he was going to die. He was going to rush him to a vet hospital because his tongue was turning purple/blue and he was stumbling around gasping for air. I started calling vet clinics immediately and every vet in Marion County was at lunch and couldn’t see him until 2:00. There is a vet clinic right down the road from us so I told Dan to head there. Thankfully, there was a vet tech standing outside and took one look at Pumba and rushed him inside the clinic for Oxygen. Because of Covid, Dan wasn’t allowed to go in so he sat in the car waiting for updates. In the mean time I left to pick Abbie up from work and we headed over to the clinic. Very very very long story short…we had three options. The vet clinic closed at 6:00pm and Pumba was requiring Oxygen to breathe. Option 1…put him down. Option 2…take him home and let him suffocate on his own and pass away struggling to breathe. Option 3…take him to an overnight emergency pet clinic where he could be in an Oxygen cage. We had now become in a position that we NEVER wanted to be in. We knew option 2 was out…not a chance. Option 1 was on the table, but there was nothing internally wrong with him that we could find or know of yet. Putting a 2 year old dog down with good bloodwork and functioning, healthy organs seemed wrong to us as well. We opted for option 3 and Pumba spent the night breathing in all the Oxygen he could. Since that clinic is an overnight clinic, we had to pick him up this morning at 7:30 am. Sadly, Pumba still needed Oxygen right away, which meant we needed to take him back to the vet.
This time we headed to a different clinic where a friend of ours is a vet. I had chatted with her a couple of times yesterday but we didn’t think Pumba would make it over to her clinic while he was struggling so hard to breathe so we couldn’t take him there. This morning we knew she needed to see him. Dr. McCormick and her team have been nothing but amazing with Pumba.
Abbie and I met with Dr. McCormick and we agreed he would stay the day in her care and she would do the best to figure out what was going on. We left and headed home. About 15 minutes after leaving, we got the dreaded call. Pumba had gone into respiratory distress and Dr. M had to intubate and sedate him. He was bleeding from the nose and vomiting and she suggested we head back right away. That was a very long car ride. When we got back to the clinic, they took us back to see Pumba. This is a sight I will never be able to unsee. Abbie was devastated. It was hard to look at him lying there looking completely helpless and sad. Tears flowed instantly. (Let’s be honest, we were already a hot mess before we got to the clinic). After trying to listen to the Dr. and take it all in, we decided the best thing for Pumba was to say goodbye and let him go peacefully. Let me try to explain this…I never ever ever ever ever never ever want to see one of my kids suffer in pain ever again. How do you tell your 16 year old daughter that we have to put her best friend down. By this time, Dan made it there and between the three of us, I think we could have filled a milk gallon with tears. We were/are a mess.
Abbie had to leave the room. She was feeling light-headed and couldn’t bare to see her sweet puppy the way he was. After crying some more with her and trying to console her, I went back in to see Pumba. I am not sure what happened, but he started to wake up a little bit from the sedation. We didn’t think we would see him move again so I called Abbie in right away to come talk to him. This is where I became a “Dog Person.” Pumba was fighting hard to see Abbie. He wanted to be by her. She talked to him and she rubbed his ears. Slowly he became more aware and it was clear to me that Pumba wasn’t ready to go quite yet. His Oxygen levels went from 80-100 in an instant. How do you let a dog go that is clearly fighting to try and stay…he just wanted to be with his Abbie.
Very long story short, Pumba is still fighting to live. He (and Abbie) spent the day in a room together. She literally sat there all day on the floor with him trying to talk to him and keep him calm. He is in an Oxygen cage where they are trying to see if his lungs might just need some time to heal. He seems okay when he is in the cage, which is making it even harder if we do have to decide to say goodbye. Abbie knows that Pumba can’t come home on Oxygen. She knows this is the last thing we can try. Tomorrow will either be a good day or the worst day ever. She didn’t want to leave him, but sadly she starts her Junior year tomorrow and the best thing for Pumba right now is rest.
I also need to say this because I feel like I have basically been a “butt” since we moved here. I talk about not having a lot of friends and lacking in community. Well, let me just tell you, my heart has done some major shifting recently. I reached out to Dr. McCormick, whom I have only talked to in person a couple of times and on the phone a few more times than that. She didn’t have to help us. She didn’t have to ago above and beyond this level of care for Pumba. I also reached out to a a mom of one of Griffin’s friends because someone told me that she was a vet yesterday too. Between Dr. Fritz and Dr. McCormick jumping in to help us on one of our lowest and hardest parenting moments has reminded me that we are going to be ok and people do care about us. Even though we have been overwhelmed in life with raising kids and doing foster care and acclimating to a whole new life down here, people who we probably should have tried harder with in relationship gave us their all to help us. I mean, I just can’t even.
It’s been a really hard (and expensive) 24+ hours. I know there is a life lesson in here somewhere. We have gone on a rollercoaster of emotions and I am mentally and physically exhausted. School starts tomorrow. We still have baby “J” and are just a few days away from handing her over to her forever (hopefully forever) home. I just don’t know if I can handle a call tomorrow from Dr. McCormick and needing to say goodbye to Pumba. I want everything good and amazing for Abbie and Pumba. I want them to live a long happy life together. I want Abbie to be happy, most of all. I know if Pumba doesn’t get better this will be painful and I just never wanna see that again. I know this not realistic and life is full of pain and loss, I just don’t like it. My heart is breaking for Abbie. My heart is aching for Pumba and his lungs. My heart is bursting with love after having so many people love on Pumba and do their best to care for Pumba while navigating my baby girl who might lose one the things that means the most to her.
They don’t teach you these things in parenting books when you are pregnant. They don’t warn you to not give your hurting child a puppy. They don’t tell you how to comfort a daughter that just wants her best friend to be snoring away in her bed tonight like he always does. Abbie will be ok either way. Pumba will either live the best life here on earth or have the biggest pile of pepperoni waiting for him in puppy heaven. (yes, now I believe animals go to heaven because I just can’t see Pumba not waiting for Abbie one day to greet her when Jesus calls her home.)
I am sorry for the very long blog. I don’t I think I even did the last 24 hours justice trying to describe all that has happened. I think the best way to describe the loss we could feel is by looking at these pictures Abbie just sent me. Either way, God will be glorified and Pumba will be forever loved.
I am only including this link because Abbie and Molly asked me to share it on Facebook and I didn’t want to because I am afraid people will have all sorts of judgments and comments. They created a gofund me account to try to help with the vet bills. We told them that our limit has been reached and they are desperate to help us. This is not a plea for help or a guilt trip…and I really don’t want to even put this in the blog because this is not what it’s about. However, they set it up on their own and as their mom I want to support whatever effort they want to try. I know some of you are dog people and get it. I know some of you are just like me, before I changed today, and think people who spend money on animals are dumb. I get it now. I get all you dog people. I get all you animal lovers.
Tomorrow will be a big day for Pumba and I’ll share as soon as I can an update.
Thank you for reading, friends.