Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Goodbye Odie

The last 6 months have been tough.  Odie’s had a heart murmur since we first got him at 2 years old (he was from Poodle Rescue) but it was classified at level 1-2, which doesn’t affect his health.  Last September, I worried about an persistent cough and took him to a vet where we were in Sedalia, MO.  Our home vet had mentioned that coughing could be a sign of the heart murmur getting worse.  But this vet said, “No, the cough isn’t from the heart, it’s a collapsed trachea.”  Well, is that good news or bad?  But, he also listened to his heart and classified the murmur at stage 5-6.  All bad news.  But he was hanging in there.
When we got back to Ft. Lauderdale in late October, I took him to his primary vet with the idea that it may be time to put him down.  The scariest thing was when he collapsed once – I thought it was a stroke, it could have been a seizure, or it could have been fainting for lack of blood flow – he just fell hard, in a twisted little pile of poodle.  But, in a minute, he recovered fully and was livelier than before.  Jim and I joked that he overheard us talking about putting him down, and he was trying to say, “Hey look at me!  I feel Great!”
The Vet took some tests and prescribed some heart medication.  That really made a difference, Odie wasn’t struggling to breathe anymore, he could sleep peacefully.  But it was still clear that he was declining.  The coughing continued and the collapsing episodes started up again.  Sometimes he would collapse 3-4 times in a day.  But he always recovered.  And he still had good times – he still went for walks every day, just shorter ones.  It was tough to get him to eat.  Dog food was out of the question, but he still eagerly accepted bites of steak from our plate!
But, yesterday, I felt I saw real pain on his face as he tried to stretch but something caught him mid-stretch.  I have seen this before and believe it was something intestinal.  I couldn’t get him to eat at all – not even a piece of stew meat – and he wasn’t even drinking.  Intestinal issues pass in a day or so, but I just said = “Enough.”  It’s time to let him go.  Whenever I’ve suggested that over the last few months, Jim has poo-poohed me.  My sense is that Jim wasn’t ready to let go.  But, yesterday he said, “I agree.”
I called a local vet and started to make an appointment for the following morning, then I looked at Odie in distress and asked if they had a time available that afternoon.  They did.  My greatest fear has been to wait too long.  I didn’t want to spend a painful night with him, when it’s in my power to prevent that.  We took him for a last walk to the nature trail we all love so much, but we had to carry him half the way.  I think we made the right decision.
Since Odie has lived his whole life on the road – a car ride is not a bad omen for him.  He loves car rides, and he loves going inside new places … even Veterinary offices!  Wouldn’t you know, he was perky and making friends with everyone in the waiting room.  I was in agony.  Jim tried to comfort me.  He picked Odie up and we both went into the exam room.  They call it ‘putting them to sleep’ for a reason – that’s just what it’s like.  Odie laid his head on my arm and we both stroked him.  I didn’t know I had so many tears in me.  Then we left to face life without our dear sweet Odie.
Jim tries to get me to focus on the good memories with Odie, and he’s right – there were SO many.  Here’s one of the best – and we caught it on video:

With all that energy, people sometimes asked us, “Isn’t he hyper and drive you crazy in the RV?”  Nope, he was as mellow as could be in the motorhome – he would just lay on his couch all day long as long as we were there, usually at our computers, he was content.
He didn’t like it when we were gone though.  We would say that he Hated Rallies, because at RV Rallies we were gone most of the time.
20041105 odie lookout
We loved our Odie.  Now we have to learn to live without him
Lots more pictures of Odie – from the beginning.


John and Nan said...

Crying with you. It is so hard to have to let them go. Fro experience, it will take quite a while for the hurt to get better. It never goes away. Said from 14 years of missing our Portia.

Lynne (WinnieViews) said...

So sorry for your loss, Chris and Jim. Having to say goodbye to a pet is about the hardest thing I've ever experienced, so I know it's not easy for you right now. But what a long and happy life Odie had. Adventures most other dogs can only dream about! Great that you have so many wonderful memories with photos, videos, and blog posts to remember him.

Tammy Fletcher said...

I just now found your blog, not good timing, but even though I do not know you yet, please let me give you my deepest condolences. Your little Odie looks like a real special little guy.
Have lost many pets and I certainly know what you are going through, it is rough!

ChasinRainbows2 said...

My heart goes out to you and I'm crying with you for your loss. It hurts and I am so sorry, but I'm also happy for you for the time you spent with your Odie and the obviously happy life he had with you. You have some wonderful memories and the knowledge that he is not in pain any longer and is over the Rainbow Bridge racing madly with all his new and old friends there. Hugs and smiles

longdog2 said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is really hard to do what you know is the best for your dog. Hugs and healing. Odie will be remembered by many.

Colleen (longdog2)
Traveling with The Longdogs

Rod Ellison said...

Chris, Jim - we are so sorry to hear about Odie. What a worldly companion, and so nice. Three years ago, we had to do the same for Nat's cat Felix of 18 years..and know the pain of the last visit to the Vet. We are thinking about you. Rod and Nat.

Mary and Tom Williams said...

We send our deepest sympathy! Like so many others, we too have been through the similar situation several times...its not easy! How great, though, that you have some many photos and videos to keep Odie's memories alive. What a great life he has led! (and did I recognize the Palm Creek International Airport?)
Hugs to you both from Mary and Tom

marymay said...

Talking about Odiie, writing about him, and looking at pictures of him and all the beautiful memories you've shared is helpful in your grieving process. Anyone who has or has had a pet is feeling your pain with you. I'm glad it was so peaceful.

QuiltinLibraryLady said...

I'm so sorry you've lost your Odie. My son just emailed me tonight that they are having their chocolate lab put to sleep tomorrow night. Roscoe was born with an unattached front leg that they had amputated. Most people would have killed him instead, but they gave him a chance. He's such a sweet boy but he developed arthritis in his back legs and just lately fell and hurt one of them badly. Instead of having him in pain they decided it was time to let him go. His favorite vet is actually coming to their house to send him on his way. The last thing he sees will be a place he loves. Not a bad way to go.

Wayne and Roberta said...

Our thoughts are with you on this sad day, it is the hardest decission to make but as you said you wouldn't want him to suffer. Odie was one special little Poodle that enriched your life and you have great memories of him to get you through this.

Allan and Jeanne said...

Allan and I were one of the fortunate people who met Odie. I am crying with you now. I have lost numerous family members(pets) over the years, none of which was easy. But they leave many wonderful memories with us. Sorry for your loss.

Evada Cooper said...

What beautiful pictures to always hold your wonderful memories close to your heart.
I am so sorry for your loss....although I really do feel we all are better people because of the incredible unconditional love and companionship we receive from our pets.
Hugs to you both!
Evada and Terry Cooper

Jeff said...

None of us have the right words to say in a situation like this. Just know others have survived this same loss of a furkid, and you two will also. You have such great memories and lots of pictures t remember all the good times. Just know you gave Odie a great life ad he knew and deeply appreciated it. You and Jim take care.

Patricia Whitney-Jones said...

So sorry to hear about Odie. I feel your pain. We are going through the same pain with out fur baby boy 'Kume'..he is 12 years old and was recently diagnosed with 'Degenerative Skin Disorder (Necrolytic Dermatitis). When he gets to the point of no eaty, drinking, or going potty, we have to take him to the vet to be put down. ((hugs)) to you in your time of sorry. ~Tricia

Debbie Cohn said...

Chris and Jim, I am so very sorry and sad for your loss. I never met Odie, but I feel like I knew him from your blog. My heart goes out to you--I know how much you will miss him.

Camille Carnell Pronovost said...

Thank you for sharing a beautiful tribute. Odie was lucky to have you for "parents". My deepest sympathies on the loss of your "fur-baby."

Debbie said...

My condolences! It is so hard to let them go but how wonderful it is that you were brave enough to think of Odie first, yourselves second. He will be at that Rainbow Bridge waiting on you!

Rick and Judy said...

I'm so sorry you had to let your buddy go.... I cried as I read your post and really enjoyed the video! What a character! You have had so much fun together, Odie and his forever family.
Cherish the memories, not that I have to tell you that, I know you do, and will.

Larry and Marilyn said...

We are so sorry for your loss. Buster and Angel send licks. The Vanstones.

Steve and Karen said...

We are so sorry to hear about Odie. We have been through the same several times with our Golden Retrievers. It's never easy to make the final decision, but be consoled by the fact that he's not in pain anymore and I'm sure he went to doggie "heaven" where he's free to run and play as much as he wishes.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog several years ago because of Odie, back when you were "Odie's Roadies". I, too, have a miniature poodle so felt a connection there. My little guy is 12 and also has a heart murmur and recently developed kidney problems. I won't have him much longer but what a joy he has been and continues to be, just like your Odie. So sorry for your loss.

Bob and Jenine Steele said...

So sorry to hear about Odie! We met him once. He was a fine gentleman. I know you will miss him terribly