Last month I blogged about my son’s dog and the health issues he was having. Well, they finally took their toll and at 8:03pm, Saturday, April 13th, Ryan Jackson Sanders AKA RJ AKA Jeezie crossed over the rainbow bridge (my mom said that). I came home Saturday to find him moving slow and breathing very heavily. I immediately freaked out and started crying. Naturally, I called my mother and my dad told me to take him to the ER. I found one very close to me and flew like Superman to get there. I was crying as I walked into the door at 6:55 and handed her over RJ. A few minutes later, a nurse came out to ask questions and then she left again. Shortly after, she came back out with the prognosis, he had heart failure and fluid on his lungs…he was critical. I cried even harder. I again called my mom who told me I would have to make a decision. There was no sense in keeping him in pain, especially if he was not going to get better. Again, I cried. I called my ex husband, whose bright idea it was to get a dog in the first place, to let him know. Terrance was still at the campsite and was none the wiser on what was going on with his dog. His father said that I shouldn’t let Terrance be there because it might be too tramatic for him to see his dog in that state. I agreed. The doctor came back in and told me basically he was suffering because his heart was pumping way too hard and the fluid was just building up on his lungs and throughout his body….I cried more.
At 7:56pm April 13th, I made the very difficult and painful decision to have RJ put to sleep. I couldn’t stop crying. I was hurting for myself, my son and for RJ. I went in to see him one last time and tell him that I loved him, that his brother Terrance loved him, that I was so sorry for doing this and that he was going to be ok now. His eyes showed pain and yet excitement to see me. Tears rolled down my face as I ran out the room. Ten minutes later, the doctor came out and told me he was gone. Of course I cried harder than ever. How would I explain this to Terrance? How could I tell him that the last time he saw RJ was the last time he would see him. The last thing Terrance said to RJ Friday morning was “I’ll see you after school”, but he went straight to camping so he would never see him again.
I went to the campsite to pick him up and when I told him that RJ had died, he started crying and screaming “no, I don’t want RJ to be dead”. He said that RJ was not in a better place and he wanted him here with him. What broke me down was when he asked “now who’s going to sleep with me at night?”. I had to call my mom to help calm him down cause I just kept crying. He decided he wanted to stay at the camp grounds and didn’t want to come home so I let him. I came home by myself to an empty apartment. A place that is usually greeted by feet across the hardwoods, or barking or a look of “where the hell have you been all day, I gotta pee”. I didn’t turn on the kitchen lights so I wouldn’t have to see his bowls or beds laying on the floor. I cried myself to sleep, with anger, grief and hurt on my heart.
Sunday I woke up with a massive headache. My first thought was “I gotta get up and feed and walk the dog”. Wait, there is no dog to feed or walk…more tears. I walked into the kitchen and picked up his bowls to wash them, and got his beds out the living room. I cleaned out all his stuff, I threw some away and kept some for memories. Terrance came home and we talked about everything that happened and he was actually handling it better than I thought he would. He asked for another dog and eventually, we will get to that point. I am not there yet. Throughout the day, he would say “I’m sad that RJ is dead” and I would just say “me too”.
Today, I am still crying. I feel guilty for not doing more for RJ when I could have. I feel guilty for the decision I made. I feel guilty for all the times I fussed at him for making “a mess” on the floor. I feel guilty for taking my son’s only pet away. I feel guilty for not paying more attention. I feel guilty because I was gone all day. Maybe one day the guilt and pain will subside, but right now, I am a wreck. There was a knock at the door yesterday and I cried because I am used to hearing him bark. I pulled into the garage and saw his leash and collar hanging their and I cried because I knew walking in, he would not be there. There is no snoring, no barking, no coughing, no jiggling collar, no wimpers for attention, no nothing. Just silence….
Hanging with the fellas