Kelly's Dog Blog - Maggie

Another heartbreaking loss

July 18, 2019
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Truthfully, I thought Maggie would be fine. There were occasional coughing fits. There was a fainting spell she experienced a couple weeks before, which she immediately rebounded from. Chuck and I were both so busy with work and other projects that we put off taking her to the vet. We thought about Olive and Wrigley, who, in spite of serious health issues, seemed to hang in there, thanks to meds and constant monitoring. Chuck finally got around to making an appointment, but he couldn’t get her in until next week. 

Related: An Emptier, Quieter House

Turns out we shouldn’t have waited. 

Maggie’s second fainting spell happened Monday night. It was brief. We contemplated taking her to the emergency vet, but I had to get up early, and we figured we would just monitor her throughout the night.

Around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday, Maggie’s coughing kicked in. I tried to go back to sleep, thinking, “Chuck can handle it; he doesn’t have to get up at 3:30 for work like I do. Finally, at 2:30, he got up and took her to VCA in Mission Valley, our emergency vet.

He came back within the hour, right before I had to get up.

“Are they going to keep her there for some tests,” I asked sleepily.

“Yes,” he replied, then climbed into bed and pulled the covers over him.

I went on about my day.

Reporting traffic, searching for a couple recipes for my podcast, then recording said podcast, then a hospice patient visit all consumed my morning. Earlier, during my traffic shift, I checked my email and saw that there was a receipt from VCA for Maggie’s appointment. My eyes naturally gravitated to the cost: $254. I didn’t bother to read any other details. I also called Chuck around 8:30 to see if he had heard back from the vet. He said he hadn’t

Around 11:20 a.m. I returned home. Our three boy dogs, Griffin, Homer and Curly all greeted me. Minutes later, Chuck came downstairs, eyes welled with tears.

“Chuck…” I knew something was terribly wrong.

“Maggie died on the way to the vet this morning.” 

Chuck had not wanted to upset me before work and the rest of my busy morning, so he kept the news from me until he could tell me in person. 

We sat on the couch and wept. He told me he had specifically requested that VCA not call me, not email me, for anything; he wanted to give me the news himself. 

Chuck didn't have the vet run any tests, but the doctor surmised that it was more than likely a combination of stroke and some sort of blockage that took Maggie's life. She was two months shy of eleven. 

I told him I had received a receipt from VCA earlier that morning. I asked him what it was for. He said it was for Maggie’s cremation. Silly me, had I bothered to read the details, I would have seen that. Apparently, the receipt had been sent to my email automatically. In a way, it is probably better that I didn’t read the details at 6:40 a.m., halfway through my shift; my job entails being upbeat and energetic on the air. But there is still a part of me that feels guilty. In fact, there is a lot that I feel guilty about where Maggie is concerned. 

Maggie is the third dog we have lost in just a nine-month period. Schnauzer brother Wrigley in October, and Boston sister Olive in January, exactly 6 months to the day, before Maggie’s death. 

Related: And Then There Were Four

With Olive and Wrigley, we had plenty of time to prepare. Maggie’s symptoms had been mild, mostly, for only a couple weeks. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt for not being more proactive, for putting her health on the back burner of our busy lives. Between sobs Tuesday, I expressed to Chuck how horrible I felt for letting her down. 

There is also a substantial amount of guilt for how strict I could be with her at times; verbally reprimanding her for gobbling her dinner, then trying to steal our other dogs’ food; sending her back indoors for barking at passersby; waking us up out of sound sleep on weekday mornings — oh, if I could only go back in time. If I only knew all those times what little time we truly had. 

To be continued