I miss you Riley girl...

by Sonja
(Fairmont, MN)

It's been three months since I lost my Riley girl, 9/17/2011. A beautiful black lab. She was just ten years old, and one day out of no where she had a series of grand mal seizures. I was just about to go to bed and my Riley was laying on the couch, and her whole body was shaking and she was yelping, trying to get up. I thought maybe she was dreaming but I couldn't get her attention. I screamed for my husband to come help, but there was nothing we could do. She seemed fine afterwards, and I went online and confirmed it was a seizure. I laid with her a while and went to sleep. The next morning it happened again when we were outside, and again a few hours later, and then once again. Each time it was a little more intense. I stayed with her each time, stroking her and singing to her, and I know she could hear me. I felt like a mother trying to calm and comfort her child. Each time she became a little more confused and clingy. That day was so incredibly hard..I was sad and angry all at the same time. She's always been a healthy, happy dog. I didn't understand how or why this was happening. We went to the vet and he told me it's probably epilepsy, but it could also be a tumor. It may happen again in an hour, a day, a week, a month, or it may never happen again. It's not uncommon for seizures to come in mass like that. There was no way to know. He told me there was medication she could take if it would become a regular thing, but it's hard on dogs. I asked if there was medicine for me because I don't know if I can go through this again. Each day I lived in fear that it would happen again, and I wouldn't be with her to help you through it. She needed me. A week went by without another one I thought she was going to be okay, but my husband kept telling me she still isn't right, but I didn't want to accept that. Several times throughout the day she'd sit right next to me like a statue staring off into space. She'd follow me where ever I'd go. She even started sneaking in our bedroom at night, and she knew that was a big no no. She' randomly come up and want me to give her a hug. She was feeling so insecure almost puppy like again.

Then a week later my 18 year old son called and said mom will you come home Riley is having another seizure and I don't want to be here. I stopped at the vet on the way home to pick up the medication. He told me to give her two right away. It was starting all over again. I had to take her out to the garage, for she messed everytime, but I promised her I'd stay with her, and I wouldn't leave her side. I laid on a blanket on the dirty garage floor right beside her all night, and se continued to seizure all night long. Again I stroked her and sang to er trying to keep her calm. The seizures were taking all of her strength, and her energy was gone, but she didn't take her sad eyes off me. I'd try to get up and she'd whin like she was saying momma please don't go. I continued to talk with the vet on the phone, and he told me there is nothing I can do lets wait till morning and bring her in. I remember telling myself everything will be okay..she's going to be okay, but as my husband and friend lifted her in the van to go to the vet I knew she was not going to be okay. My in laws were on their way to our house to celebrate my son's 7th birthday, and I needed to go to the grocery store, so my husband dropped her off at the vet, Dr. would be in emergency surgery all morning, so I just waited to hear hear from him. A few hours later the call came in, and wasn't good. She was topped out on meds and there was two options for she wasn't going to come out of it by herself. They could either shut down all her brain activity and try to restart it, but there were no guarantees, or I needed to put her down. I knew neither she, nor me, nor my kids could go through this again, so I knew what I had to do. I went immediately to say good-bye. My heart was breaking, I was devastated. It like someone took my heart and ripped it out. I asked my kids if they wanted to say good-bye, but it was too hard for them so I did it alone. When I got there she was still laying in the same spot, she hadn't moved, and her eyes were no longer looking at me. So was alive, but I knew she was already gone. I put my 70 pound lab's head in my lap, and I tried so hard to be strong. I held her as she took her last breath. I cried for weeks. Every second of every day there was something that reminded me of her. I honestly didn't know if I was going to survive. This was the worst experience of my life. As time went on it got easier, but I still have days where I feel so lost without her. She was my best friend. She was the first person I would see every morning and the last person I would see at night. I'd get mad and yell at her from time to time, or tell her sorry not today but she loved me just the same. When I was sad or feeling low she was always right there. I was never ever alone. I loved her so.

I know my Riley girl is in a better place, running, jumping, playing ball, and swimming every day. One day we will be together again. But, until that day comes I hold my Riley girl close in my heart. I will never forget you Riley girl!!

Now I visit the dogs at the local shelter every week. There is a dog or two that have wiggled their way into my heart, and I feel so sad for all of them, but I'm just not ready for another dog. I honestly don't know if I'll ever be ready for another dog.

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