Chapter 41 – March to June 2015

After her time in the hospital, Gabby bounced back much faster than she did the year before.  She was pushing her big Kong around within about two weeks.  Most of the time she had good days. But the bad days became more frequent.  Even on those days where she was not at her best, she did not seem to be in discomfort or suffering in any way. She just didn’t want to do much and was content just to snuggle with me. I realized she had been in something of a very slow, gradual decline since she was 16.

I recorded the video above towards the beginning of April.  As you can see, the spirit is willing but the flesh was weak. She was unsteady on the slippery tile floor.

A very picky eater

You can also hear me tempting her with “hamburger!” in the video.  It was actually a freshly-made Gabby patty.  She had been getting pickier and pickier since December, which I know can be related to kidney problems.  She wasn’t interested in dog food anymore, no matter what it was.  Sometimes I had to mix up the menu to get her to eat. Sometimes she would not want a Gabby patty and I had to go to extremes, including Bob Evans pot roast, which was always a sure thing!  I’d order the dinner without gravy or spices, then break up the dinner roll and mix it with the pot roast and some water so it wasn’t all protein.  That always worked!

April, and a touching phone call

Needless to say, I was going through a lot. After nearly losing her in March I was sensing her impending mortality, and focusing so much on her care and getting her back to 100% was very hard on me. It was a fight, but one I would gladly undertake as long as she was enjoying life and having fun. She certainly seemed on the right track, but she had highs and lows and swung back and forth.  Before, she got back up to 100% and stayed there for the most part.

Compounding the emotional situation was sensing the impending end of my relationship.  I had been seeing someone for almost two years and we had really, really connected right from the start. We had spent the past year and a half seeing the world together and I had hopes she was “the one.” It was becoming apparent that she wasn’t, and I was preparing myself for the relationship to end, often leaning towards ending it myself.

In mid-April I went on a much-needed four day trip to Whistler.  It was a welcome get-away with people I really like, though I hated to be away from Gabby.  I knew she would be OK with Dad at my house because she was in her element at home, and I had arranged for VCA Castle Shannon ER to administer her subcutaneous fluids and meds twice a day.  
On the flight home from Whistler, everything started hitting me all at once and I felt tremendously stressed and depressed.  By the time I landed for my connecting flight in Chicago, I felt physically ill and my head and lips felt numb from the stress and depression.  I had never felt like that in my entire life, and it was horrible. The loss of the relationship was bad enough, because I once had hopes of a lifetime together and we had discussed future plans. But the thought of losing my sweet little girl, Gabby… it was devastating.

As the plane taxied to the gate I turned on my phone.  Three voicemails immediately popped up.  They did not register when my phone was in Canada, and they came through as soon as I was connected to an American cell phone tower.

One of the calls was from a friend, and one was from a PR firm pitching a product they wanted me to review.  The third was from Reverend Tami, who I mentioned in chapter 21.

“Don?  It’s Tami… everything is OK with me, no worries, this is just a pastoral call.  I’m just checking in to make sure everything is OK.  I was praying and the Holy Spirit put you on my heart.  I’m thinking about you and worried about you.  Give me a call when you get a chance.”

It was remarkable.  She knew that Gabby was old, and she knew I was in a relationship, and we had discussed both in the past.  However, I had always had things in pretty good control and was optimistic, and she had no way of knowing how terribly bad things were for me.  I had kept it to myself and not really told my friends and family how hard everything was and how torn up I felt.

Here I was, at what was the absolute lowest point in my life… and she reached out to me at exactly the right moment.  Somehow she knew, just as I knew from far away when Gabby was in trouble in Canada over ten years before.  It’s one of those things I have experienced in my life that I can’t explain, and which has no logical explanation.

Tami is probably the most spiritually connected person I have ever met, and radiates peace and love and kindness.  She seems to know God and know more about God than anyone I have ever known.  I read somewhere that we should try to be the kind of person that when you wake up and get out of bed, the Devil hears your feet hit the floor and says, “Damn… they’re up.”

That’s Tami. 

The fight goes on…

Gabby pretty much rode a sine wave from April through May.  Some days she wanted to eat and play a bit, other times she just wanted to sleep and didn’t eat for hours after I put her food out. I was spending absolutely as much time at possible at home to be with her, and stopped going to the gym and worked out at home instead.

This is the last video I made of her.  It was at the end of May. 

She is playing, but her legs are spread a bit more in the back for stability.  I actually had to trim this video quite a bit because my Dad started talking to me when I was recording. She had a pretty good play session here.

By the way, when you heard music in any of the videos it was playing in the background. I didn’t add a soundtrack to anything you saw on this site and I always have music in the background at home.  The song playing in the background this time, “Superstar” by The Carpenters, is appropriate.  
She was my little Superstar!