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December 28, 2010

Our Christmas Eve

It was the darkest couple of days in our marriage, thus far.

Sunday of last week Mav started throwing up about 1-3 hours after eating. I was concerned after it happened twice. he was growing skinnier and I was definitely not OK with that. It was hard because my family hounded me time after time about something that I had been watching happen. Yes, of course I had noticed that my dog has been losing weight rather than gaining it. Yes, we were worried. we were trying to make sure that all of our bases were covered at home before we took him to the vet, where we knew things would get pricier than a new bag of kibble.

When I took Mav to the vet. He had lost a whole pound in the 3 weeks since we were last there. A 6 pound dog doesn't have a pound to loose. We were given a multi-vitamin, fatty canned dog food for dogs with sensitive stomachs, and specific eating instructions. It seemed to go well. Mav loved the new food. He chowed it down like a pro.... Then proceeded it throw it up all over Jake within the hour. We tried the new food for almost 2 days.

It was 2 nights I spent sleeping downstairs on the couch with the little man. with the absence of the nutrition of his food he was lethargic so I made up games to play with him while he was resting. On the second day I stayed home from work. I could see putting him in a cage as a good idea while he was as sick as he was. Plus, I was tired of washing bedding, blankets and worrying the whole time I was at work.

It was a hard day home. I ended up calling the vet at least twice, and once Jake got home he called 2 more times before the night was over. with the last call we were instructed to bring Mav in first thing Thursday morning. We worried. I cried. Jake didn't sleep.

Thursday morning we dropped Mav off and after talking for a little about the possibilities of a stomach/intestinal obstruction as well as a quick brief on birth defects/gene issues, we went to finish our Christmas shopping. We were called at noon and told to come in and look at some xrays. I got to hold my little pup, who was attached to an IV, while we looked at his insides. It was interesting to see Jake in his element. Everything looked OK. His stomach looked full, even though he wasn't keeping food down. That looked more in favor of a stomach obstruction... Maybe it was foam or something similar.

We left him in better spirits, going to meet Jake's family for lunch and a dollar movie.

At 3pm we were called back to the vet. His barium swallow was moving at a normal pace. His insides looked great.... but he was still in bad shape. The vet started talking about surgery to get the mass of whatever it was out of his stomach. They'd do blood tests tonight and hopefully do the surgery in the morning.

Mav was a trooper throughout all of this. He was sweet and wanted nothing more than to be held by Jake and I. He would just cuddled up and stuck his nose in the crook of our elbows, just like nap time at home. All of the vet techs would oo and aah over his cuteness. they were all pulling for him, and he was a charmer.

Jake had to deal with me at home silently crying while we cleaned our house. I didn't want a puppy to be home and be reminded of being sick. Jake didn't say it at the time but the possibility of a Liver Shunt was in the fore front of his mind the entire time. I noticed that the symptoms were the same but refused to fully believe that something like that could happen to My little pup.

Friday morning we were told that the blood test "couldn't have been worse". It was so bad that after the vile was spun, Mav's blood looked like curdled milk. his liver was failing. Jake and I cried the entire morning.

At 10am we went into say good-bye to our perfect puppy. We understood the offer the vet made to allow Mav to come home as a kindness that would just hurt more than heal all three of us. The Dr. didn't want us to go through Christmas the way that we did. But I couldn't imagine a puppy in the shape Mav was in, being toted around as we "did Christmas". It wasn't fair. We needed our families, especially at that time. I was personally afraid of mav having seizures. I couldn't imagine the fear and pain he was going through. So we chose to put him down. On Christmas Eve. I knew that it was going to happen so I tried to get all of my heavy grieving out before hand so that mav's last moments with us could be more joyous.

Jake didn't allow himself that luxury.

I chose to go to the car, rather than be with Mav as he left this world. I knew Jake would stay with him. Jake needed me to be strong enough to calm and help him after everything was over.

I'm always going to wonder if that was the right decision to make for my family, or if it was the coward's way out of having to face death.

We went home, cried as we got dressed to go to our 3pm Christmas Eve service and went to Jake's mom's house. We were met with watery eyes and comforting hugs. Everyone was as broken hearted as we were about what happened. Being with family then as well as on Christmas truly helped us grieve. We were busy and had places to go, but we weren't allowed to wallow in our pain due to the things going on around us. I can't even imagine how things would have gone if it had happened any other time of year.

It's been the most emotional 2 weeks of my life. I can't even imagine if we had had that little guy for longer than the awesome 2 months that we did... Or if it was a family member, rather than a pet.

But God has blessed our lives with one perfect pup and will bless us with one again.

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