Our Sweet Little Ruby..gone too soon

by Brandi Matkovich
(Eaton, IN)

Our chihuahua Tater had a litter of 4 puppies on 8-2-13...Max,Ted,Bear and the little runt, Ruby. We wanted to keep them all, but in reality we kept Ted and Ruby. I don't wanna say Ruby was my favorite but she stole my heart in an instant. Her tiny little head on that tiny little body with her stringy brown hair..Everyone always said she had a face only a mother could love, but she had me from the start. Ruby was always little, about 1/3 the size of her brother, but that didn't stop her from rough housing, playing with her brother, drinking Frappes from Starbucks and simply being a puppy. Ruby was always the one that I knew no matter what, would be right behind me. Ruby was always the one scratching at the door if i went in a room and shut the door.
The first time I suspected something was wrong with Ruby came around February of 2014. She started acting a little confused, lethargic, had no appetite and did not want to drink anything. I feared Parvo, but she was up to date with her shots. I gave her gatorade and pedialyte and she was back to normal the next day. She did that 2 more times, and I asked the vet if he thought she was having seizures. He said it did not sound like it, and to just keep childrens benadryll around the house because she may have allergies.
She started doing better, I thought, and hadn't had anymore episodes. Ruby and Ted got spayed and neutered at the end of May 2014, and she was still doing great...until the 1st week of July. I came home from work, and she was outside playing with her brother, then started standing on her front legs, back legs in the air, and acting drunk. I immediately brought her inside thinking maybe she overdid it in the heat. She could hardly stand up, her head was tilted to the left and she started walking in circles to the left. It appeared she had drool all over her mouth. I didn't want to drive 25 min to our regular vet so I rushed her to the vet up the street. He diagnosed her with epilepsy and gave me seizure medicine for her.
Ruby took 2 days worth of that seizure medicine and had a bad reaction to it. In the meantime I was still doing research because she still had the head tilt and was constantly walking in circles. The poor little thing could not even hold her head up to eat. I had to sit on the floor and hold her close, putting the food and water right up to her mouth. I brought her back to the vet and this time he put her on antibiotics and said we were gonna treat her for an inner ear infection. He also told me any hopes that I had that my little girl would live a long healthy life--to get it out of my head. He said she was not born healthy and she is suffering. I did not want to hear that and said I was not putting her to sleep. He went on vacation, and 3 days later, Ruby seemed to just be getting worse. We took her to a different animal hospital (wanting a 3rd opinion) and he basically told us she did not have much time. He said he was going to put her on steroids to give me more time with her. All I could do is cry, look at her, hold her close and cry. I was not willing to give up on her. I knew she was not feeling well, I knew it was no way for her to live, but the more research I did, the more hope I had for her. 5 times a day, I would sit on the floor with her, feeding her as much as she could eat and drink, and then id lay with her, always worried I would wake up and see she had passed. It was slowly killing me to watch my little girl live this way, but I was so sure she was going to pull through.
At the same time, we were also dealing with my girlfriend's 38 year old brother dying of cancer. When they say it rains it pours, it truly does. It seemed as if Ruby was getting a little bit of an appetite back, and she loved McDonald's so on July 21, I brought her home some fries and she ate a good portion of the Bacon Clubhouse chicken sandwich..and this time I was crying because I was happy, she hadn't eaten that much in a couple weeks. The next day, sadly, my girlfriend's brother passed away. We were there until almost 11p.m. and when we walked in our house Ruby was laying by the door flopping like a fish. I was so scared, I had never actually seen her having a seizure. I picked her up and held her, until she stopped shaking. We gave her a shot of valium that the vet had told us only give her if she had a seizure. When she calmed down, I cleaned her up the best I could without stressing her anymore than she already was. She slept throughout the night and was in the same position when I woke up in the morning to go to work. I had a bad feeling about that day and did not want to go to work. I was afraid she would pass away while I was gone and as much as it hurts, I wanted to be there if and when she passed so she knew she was not alone. I arrived home around 7p.m. and poor little Ruby was laying on her back with a scared look on her face. I picked her up and she seemed to be looking right past me, not responding to my voice..She was shaking, and at that moment I made the hardest decision of my life which i still question today. I called my girlfriend and told her I was taking her..
When we got to the emergency animal clinic, we had one final examination, a 4th opinion, maybe there was a way we could save her. He said the best thing I could do for her was to put her down because she was suffering. I kept thinking how could it be best to take her life, a week short of her 1st birthday. It hurt so bad all i could do was hold her and cry. It didn't seem fair that a baby, a little puppy who didnt even weigh 3 lbs and didnt get to see her 1st birthday, has to be put down because 4 doctors are saying there is nothing that can be done..He too, said he thought she had a mass on her brain and she would never be healthy. I looked down at Ruby and she didnt even look like herself. I kept her hanging on for me because I couldn't bear the thought of losing her. The little girl that i held as soon as she came out of her mom's womb. I was there every day of her life, and I knew she loved me and could only hope she knew how much i loved her and still do. I held her little head as they administered the shot, and I stayed with her body for 25 minutes, crying questioning whether I did the right thing or not. I knew I couldnt let her go on the way she was, not even being able to stand, but theres always that what if..and im haunted by it every day of my life.
I know I am not the same person now. A piece of me died too that Wednesday evening. I think about her everyday, I look at her little urn with her little ashes, and her little paw print in the clay that the crematory service gave me and i cant help but ask why..why was such a little thing born so sick and how was it fair..I look at her brother Ted and he is so happy and so healthy, why couldnt Ruby be that fortunate. Ive had other runts so it couldnt be that. I just know that I wake up everyday with a sadness that I can never shake, and I go to bed with her little face in my mind. I miss her so bad that it actually hurts. I will never understand, but I will never forget my precious little Ruby and all the happiness and joy she brought when she was here. Ruby 8/2/13-7/23/14

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Aug 18, 2014
Our Sweet Little Ruby..gone too soon
by: Doreen UK

Brandi I am sorry for your loss of your beloved Ruby and also for the loss of your girlfriend's brother to cancer. You are facing a difficult time right now and confused as to whether you made the right decision. Often we are faced to make a decision and have to make it quickly, without having time to process what is happening. The doctors told you that Ruby was suffering and best thing to do was to put her to sleep. GOOD DECISION. She was suffering and you would not be able to enjoy your relationship with her because of her suffering. This was the humane thing to do. Often it is better to do what is best for the one suffering. I had a cage of 11 cockatiels. They were confined to the cage and no hope of the Aviary I wanted as my husband was dying of cancer at the time. I did what was best for those darling birds and gave them to a rescue Bird Sanctuary for their happiness in a larger environment. It was about what was best for them and not me. The most loving thing to do is to consider the best option for the pets and not us.
My husband suffered severe cancer pain from a rare cancer and he died in pain. No facility of putting a loved one to sleep to end their suffering. I am glad they have this for pets so they don't suffer.
The best way forward is by taking ONE DAY AT A TIME. It has been 2yrs. now since I lost my husband and I still have grief days every now and then. WE do recover from grief even though this be months or years. WE DO RECOVER FROM GRIEF.

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