I haven’t written in this blog in a very long time…and during that time so much has happened in my life and gone on in our crazy, fucked up world. Without being boorish here I’ll bring you up to date with some bullet points.
*The thing that happened that has affected me most is that my beloved, devoted and cherished dog Nola crossed the Rainbow bridge on Jan. 23, 2022. It was not expected. The story is a bit horrible.
Nola had an infected tooth that got an abscess and before I could get her to the vet the abscess burst in the middle of the night one night. Luckily I was awake because she was uncomfortable and moving around a lot in the bed. It was a bloody mess, I never knew that could happen and I had never seen so much blood pour out of a dog.
I rushed her to the emergency vet. By the time I got there, I had gotten the bleeding under control with a cold towel and ice and pressure. That little dog was so good. She allowed me to help her with no complaint. She knew she was in trouble. So, the emergency vet confirmed it was a burst abscess but they could do nothing for her except give me antibiotics for the infection and pain medicine for her to make her more comfortable. So we went home and she got babied and I got her in to see a regular vet for an exam and to talk about what had to happen next to get her treated properly.
Nola was 13.5 yrs old at that time. She was in great shape, never lame or sickly. She was the healthiest dog I had ever owned, never costing me a lot medically. She got her regular shots. Had a dental in 2019 where she lost 7 teeth and that was the biggest expense on her over the years. As dogs age, their teeth get bad because of the diet that we “people” feed them mostly. They’re not using the teeth to scrape bone and as they would use them were they still wild creatures. Of course, we think we are feeding them the best we can and they are generally happy with the grub.
After meeting with the vet it was decided that her teeth were showing signs of gum infection and several were in bad condition and needed to come out. So I scheduled the procedure, giving the infection time to clear up first. I took her in on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, and they kept her for the day and did the dental surgery on her. Because of her age I requested the heart-safe procedures and begged them to take care of her. She’s my baby. They called later and I went to pick her up. She was VERY much out of it. I even asked if it was really okay to take her home like that. The tech said she would come around, just give her time to rest and recuperate. So off we went, home.
Nola rested on the couch. She was very slow to come out of the fog. Even the next morning she still wouldn’t walk or get up on her own. I had to make her get up and I had to carry her outside to do her business. She wouldn’t eat or drink. By noon on Saturday, I was giving her water by syringe because I knew she needed hydration. She did drink a few times on her own after that. But she had to be escorted and helped every time she got up. She was pitiful. I was becoming desperately worried. The young male tech called to check on her and I told him what I was going through with her, he said give her time. It didn’t make me feel good, but I said okay. in hindsight, I now wish I had taken her straight back in first thing Saturday morning.
Sunday came and everything was the same, even worse. She was obviously out of it. In pain and confused. I tried everything. Spoon feeding her mushy dog food, syringing water, trying to get her to walk – or at least STAND UP! by herself. It was horrible to see her like that I couldn’t take it.
Finally, I called my vet, yes, it was Sunday and miraculously my vet’s clinic IS open on weekends. They said to bring her back right away. So I bundled her up quickly, told little Lulu – who was VERY concerned and had not left her sister for 2 days (see pics) that we would be back. I drove like a mad man to the vet, trying to beat their cut-off. They were waiting for me when I drove in and they took her from my arms and whisked her outback.
After about 20 minutes the vet came to the little room where I was waiting. Nola remained out back for a few minutes. It wasn’t good. Nola’s heart wasn’t strong enough to get her through this. Her heart rate had actually dropped to half of what it should have normally been. Usually when a dog gets to a vet’s office its heart rate spikes, not drops. She couldn’t use her back legs at all. The vet thought maybe she had a clot or an embolism that caused some neurological damage. The vet said we could try some heart medicine, and “try” this or that….I didn’t hear anything past the heart and neurological damage. I was completely crushed.
I got Nola in 2008 from the streets of New Orleans on one of my adventures. She had been with me for her whole life and this coming July we would have celebrated 14 years of companionship. She loved me dearly and I loved her beyond the moon. She was the best dog ever. I knew as I stood there in the little vet room listening to the vet talk that we had come to the base of the bridge.
When I adopted Nola in 2008 I promised her the best life I could give her. We had great times, hard times, crazy times and loving times. We were constant buddies for almost 14 years and here we were at the fucking bridge. I promised her if we ever had to go to the bridge that I would do the right thing and I would be there to hold her tightly as she crossed and waited for me, with my other dogs, on the other side of that Rainbow Bridge.
I told the vet my decision. No, I didn’t want to extend the pain she’s obviously been enduring because she knew it was going to be very hard for me when she went. She knew. Damn, she loved me so much.
They brought her back into the room. She looked at me and we locked eyes. I could see her sadness, she looked at me and I held her tight. Our faces just about touching. I asked her if this was really it, was she ready? She told me yes, she kissed my cheek and I held her paw like I always did when we went to sleep. I held her close to my heart, her head on my left arm, my right hand on her heart as we helped her over the bridge…I felt her heart stop…I burst into tears, wetting her fur. I loved her up, kissed her face and stroked her ears…I said my goodbye to the best friend I ever had.
I was going to write more tonight, catch everyone up on other things happening…but reliving this has been hard enough on my heat for tonight. I’m going to snuggle Lulu, who has been grieving with me since Jan. 23. We’re getting better. Lu had come around, she knows I need her right now just like she needs me.
To everyone out there who knew Nola and knew how close we were I know you’ll understand.
You only get one of those “once in a lifetime” dogs they say. Nola was actually my 2nd “once in a lifetime” buddy, and now she’s joined my old buddy Jock. They’re both hanging out having fun on the beach somewhere across the Bridge. I know they’ll know when I’m going to join them, yeah, they’ll know.