It’s been too long since I have blogged about anything. Life has certainly got in the way, but tonight I feel the need to write to help heal my heart. Grab a box of tissues, because tears are falling from my face as I type…
A little over 3 years ago, I remember getting the phone call from our wonderful breeders that the puppies were born. We were praying that there would be a boy in the litter and hopefully he would be black. It feels like just yesterday I got the call from Elly, telling me there are boys, lots of them and they are black! Eliot and I were so excited! We were going to be parents to our boy, our Black Lab, Cody. I remember visiting him as a puppy and him just cozying up to Eliot. We honestly felt that day that he chose us and come to find out that he would end up being our boy after the breeders decided who got who out of the litter. That day was our first wedding anniversary and there was no argument that we had to visit the puppies just to see who might be the newest member of our family.
These past 3 years have been filled with so many memories that I will forever carry in my heart. Memories that fill my heart like our first car ride home, playing in the leaves in the backyard, taking walks, ferry rides to Long Island, picking out our Christmas trees at the farm, both our trips to NC, first swim experience in the lake, meeting Charlotte for the first time after coming home from the hospital with her, playing fetch, attending doggie training classes, first snow fall, watching C& C snuggling together and many more memories that I could just go on about.
This Father’s day was once of the scariest days Eliot and I had faced together. I felt so awful for Eliot, this was a day to celebrate him. Cody was up at 5:45 in the morning vomiting stomach bile. This was something that he has done on occasion and we just would give him some food and he would be fine. Eliot rushed downstairs to get him some food and all of sudden he ran to his bed and fell over and started to have a seizure. Eliot panicked as any dog owner would if they had never witnessed a seizure before. He grabbed him to help him because he thought he was choking. I think we both thought in that moment that we were going to forever loose our boy. After being together for over 5 years, I have yet to see Eliot shed a tear or get upset. That morning I witnessed my husband hurt for the time, so bad, and it shook me inside. Cody woke from his seizure and was completely disoriented and not himself at all, actually he was quite frightening and barked and growled at us. I was so afraid, that I ran up the stairs and closed our child gate. He eventually made it outside (Eliot somehow got the door open) and barked for well over an hour. Then all of a sudden, our Cody boy was back as if nothing happened. It was so scary to see this Jekyll and Hyde side of him come out. Cody NEVER barks or growls…EVER.
We had called the vet during all this (well I did in a panic and I am sure I made absolutely no sense at all with screaming and crying). She informed us that he had a seizure and to just let him get out of it and if he didn’t she would need to come over. He eventually calmed down and was back as I mentioned. Eliot brought him in for tests after and everything came back normal later that week. We needed to keep an eye on him and we both prayed that this would be his only one ever. I called our breeders that day when I was able to compose myself and learned that after Cody’s litter his dad has suffered from a seizure as well and now has had a few. So as my mind was optimistically telling me this will be his only one, my heart knew that it wouldn’t after hearing about his dad. We can not control where we come from, what genes we have inherited. We each have been handed a deck of cards in life and unfortunately Cody was dealt with this and so were we.
Last week Eliot had been away for work and I was home playing super mom. We decided not to take him to doggie daycare that week because he seemed fine. Charlotte and I got home on Wednesday early evening and I let Cody outside and got Charlotte situated on the couch so I could start dinner. About 20 minutes after we got in, I heard Cody vomiting his stomach bile again, and I just figured he hadn’t eaten anything since I fed him last very early in the morning. So I grabbed his water and food bowl and walked outside to witness my boy laying in the grass having a seizure. I sort of saw his first one, but I saw more the after effects. I wish this upon no dog owner to experience. My heart sank so low. You aren’t supposed to touch them or hold them while they go though it and that just KILLED me. All I wanted to do was run to him and rub his ears, like I’ve been doing since that first car ride home. It lasted about a minute that seemed like forever. He got up and I could tell he was so disoriented and had no idea where he was. After all the research we did, I learned that some dogs might even go blind. I feel like he had trouble seeing. I kept telling him, “it’s ok buddy, mama is right here, you are ok….it’s ok” I knew to give him space from the first episode and I did. He did growl at me a little when I approached him a bit, but there was no hour long barking like last time. I let him be and would peek my head out every so often to see him frightened in a corner of the yard. After about 40 minutes, he was back. I called Eliot while he was seizing and then I called the vet to let them know. He was much less aggressive then the first time. It was weird, I wasn’t afraid, I wanted to stay calm as possible because Charlotte was in the other room (distracted, thank GOD) and I know animals can pick up bad energy. Eliot and I decided that when he returned from his trip we’d go talk to the vet to see what the next steps are.
This Monday night Charlotte and I got home, we immediately went outside to play and Eliot joined us. I ran in to change and Eliot and Charlotte went exploring into the backyard looking for bugs (what every mother wants her kids to be doing). As they were walking, Cody came from one side of the patio towards them and barked and growled at Charlotte and Eliot. Eliot immediately grabbed Charlotte and recognized his posture from his first episode. He walked with Charlotte in his arms around the yard to avoid Cody to safely get Charlotte in the house. I came downstairs and was shocked, because Cody was wagging his tail at the door. This time, he did not vomit bile and though we did not witness a seizure, he was in an aggressive state as if he had one. It seems like this was a mild episode.
Some of you have gotten to meet our boy, you then know, Cody does not have a mean bone in his body. He never barks, or shows any signs of aggression, well until now and after his seizures. I would always joke that if someone tried to break in, Cody would lick them to pieces.
So with all this, Eliot and I had called out vet and got a phone call last night. His immediate advise was that Cody should no longer be in our house for safety reasons. The thought of something happening to one of us or most importantly Charlotte, would absolutely devastate us. We would never be able to forgive ourselves if something happened to her, to friends or family also staying or visiting with us. We were given options…1. medication, but it didn’t cure it or guarantee that he wouldn’t be aggressive after 2. was to put him down and in my eyes, that would NEVER be an option. Eliot and I talked more last night after talking to friends and family, and decided that it was not safe for Charlotte for him to be living in our home anymore. I called our breeders, Elly and Brian last night in tears, Elly was so sick over this and felt horrible, but this was not their fault. This is life. These things happen. After a night of not sleeping and a morning of waking up to balling my eyes out, I headed into work. I put my strong mommy face on for Charlotte until I dropped her off and got back in my car to continue with my tears. All I could think was that this was not fair, this was not part of our plan. We’ve had a pretty bad deck of cards this year and this was just the kicker. We decided that the best option is to bring him back to Elly and Brian and have them help us find him a home or stay with them indefinitely.
I left work early today to come home to a packed up car with Cody’ favorite toys, food and his bed. There my boy was in the kitchen laying down against the island. This was his stake out spot when Charlotte would be eating to have the perfect angle to spot the fallen crumbs. I gave him hugs and some more ear rubs and told him how much I love him and that he is a good boy and my boy.
We decide to not take Charlotte. I just didn’t want for her to see me upset. She is also so young that I don’t think she would understand anyway. The car ride up North was somber with my tears falling every so often. At one point I jumped in the back seat to snuggle with my boy and rub his ears the same way I did on that first car ride home. Never in a million years did I think only after three short years that today would be the last car ride he takes with us. Never in my dreams did I think something like this could happen.
Today Eliot and I made the hardest decision as husband and wife, as dog owners, and as parents. I know that there will be many more hard decisions we will have to make for our future and our family, but this one has stung us and hurt our hearts tremendously. Right now, Cody is in the best place other then our home. He is amongst his mom and dad, grandmother and cousins. He is in the best hands possible. He is and will forever be my boy. I already miss him terribly. Tonight as we were pulling in, the little voice in the back seat made barking noises as we approached our home and said, “Cody” (something we say every night we get home) I looked at Eliot and my heart broke, I felt sick to my stomach. The bond that the 2 of them had started was all I ever could have wanted and I know she will be fine since she is so young. I will miss the C & C snuggles, and hearing that little voice say, “Cody, come” while she hides in her tent for him to find her. We are hoping that we will be able to still be a part of his life wherever he may end up, especially for Charlotte.
I know one day we will get another dog, and when we do it will again be from Elly and Brian and the Jay Hawk clan. I always believe that there are certain reasons why people come into our lives. Some will come and some will go, but some will stay to affect one another forever. Elly and Brian have been the best friends/mentors/breeders a (first time) dog owner could imagine. Their hearts are so huge and the love they have for their animals and owners is so large, that it is unmeasurable. You don’t find good people like this very often, but when you do, hold on to them.
I know this is going to be difficult for our little family to overcome, but I know in due time we will. Cody will forever be our boy and our Cody Bear and he will have a piece of our hearts wherever he his. I will keep all our memories close to my heart.
I love you buddy. Mama misses you very much.
“Of the billions of
people dogs in the planet it is no accident that you and I were brought together to forever affect each others lives.”