Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I probably won't be posting much anymore. I feel I can't describe what's really going on without becoming too intimate and that's not something you want to do on the Internet. When I really feel the need to rant, I can post here. But honestly, no one's reading this.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I haven't written in a while. A lot has happened and I just haven't felt the inspiration to write.

On April 29, we had to put Bruno to sleep. Greyhounds are infamous for their bad dental health. Most of this is a result of the high protein diet they are fed on the track; raw meat and vegetables, et al. We weren't Bruno's first family; after his career on the track ended in a horribly fixed broken foot, he was adopted by a young couple. I can only assume (and hope) that they treated him well the first year or so they had him. They soon had their first child and banished Bruno to the basement, neglecting to care for this great animal as they should. The woman who runs the greyhound adoption agency soon received a call that a big black dog with a limp was roaming the town. She went and picked him up. It is in the adoption contract that if you do not care for your greyhound, you will lose custody. These dogs are retired racers and some of them have a history of abuse. All they ask for is love, a soft place to sleep and most of all, patience.

Bruno had had four dental surgeries and about 18 more teeth than the average greyhound. The first was paid for because it was thought to be necessary as a result of the way he was treated at his first "home." By the time his fourth dental surgery took place, he had been on antibiotics for about two months before and a month after (including pain medicine, obviously) He went in for surgery on Monday, March 28 and was deemed well enough to come home on Tuesday. When my mom and I picked him up, he was a completely different dog. He seemed happy. We knew his teeth were bothering him. He now had only two teeth remaining--his lower incisors, which the vet left in for fear of a broken jaw if they were removed. His gums were almost immediately back to that healthy pink color, not bloodshot red. The vet did say that the infection had spread to his sinuses, but he would stay on the antibiotics, so he should be okay.

And for most of those three-four weeks, he was. He was getting back to himself. Bruno was such a strong presence that even though we adopted him in September 2005, it felt like we had had him forever. His internal clock wax back to work, letting him know when it was time to be fed and when to bug the hell out of us. He would get in our faces and bark like he used to--except now his breath did not smell. We would laugh and he would get angry and that would cause more laughter. Echo, the greyhound we adopted after Alex's death, would circle Bruno, looking thrilled just to simply be included.

On Tuesday, April 26, Bruno had to be encouraged to eat lunch and then refused to eat dinner. He had a corn that resulted from the shit-fix he received on the track after breaking his foot that seemed to be irking him that night, and I was able to get a pain pill down him through wet food. On Wednesday, all he would eat was grounded chicken in broth. I looked at his gums and his left side was inflamed, though not as red as they had been. That night, he became lethargic and felt increasingly hot. We took him to the emergency vet, where we were told that he had a temperature of 105; they gave him a shot to help bring it down. I stayed up with him most of that night because I was worried but also because we were under tornado watches and my paranoia would not let me fall asleep. My mom took him to the vet on Thursday morning and later texted me that the vet thought maybe a piece of food had become caught in his still unclosed holes which previously housed his upper incisors. His creatine was 6.8 and his temperature was still hovering around 105. He was hooked up to IV fluids and antibiotics throughout the day and albeit he would have to repeat the process on Friday, my mom wanted him home because no one would be there to check on him throughout the night. Throughout the night, we were encouraged; though he refused to eat, he drank about a half gallon of water and even woke me up in the middle of the night to ask to go outside and when he returned inside, he found the energy to jump onto the couch. On Friday, his kidneys did not look any better, he still had a fever and worse, his heart had enlarged 25-30% overnight; the infection had spread to his heart. My mom said we were probably going to lose Bruno. The vet said the only dog she had seen survive this received thousands of dollars of surgery and had a pacemaker implanted. My mom and I made the decision that afternoon to put Bruno to sleep.

Bruno knew. While he was still able to stand, he nuzzled me and I kissed his head three times; he then walked over to my mom and licked her face (this was out of character for him, he was not a kiss-giving dog). Then, his legs gave out and the vet injected the fatal dose. I watched him take his last breaths as I watched Alex do the same almost six months to the day before.

We have our theories. Maybe he and Alex were so codependent that one simply could not survive without the other, no matter what world they were currently occupying. I do think Alex needed Bruno. And I like to think they are together, somewhere though the events of November 2010 through now have really shattered whatever belief I had left in God. In reality, though, the infection growing in Bruno's body was just too great and we would have lost him no matter what. Had his teeth still been in, he would have certainly suffered more. Whatever antibiotics, the infection would have still returned with a vengeance and taken him away from us.

It doesn't seem right that I will never call him "Bucky" or "Rooster" or one the other nicknames I had for him. It doesn't seem right that he will never follow me to my room one weekday afternoon to sleep on my bed while I browse the Internet. It doesn't seem right that I'll never see him running through the snow again, or running at all. It doesn't seem right that he and Quizzie will never sleep together again; he was the one animal to accept her when we adopted her in September 2008. Here, he was this 85 pound big dog and she, this 14 ounce kitten, not even the size of his head. It was that great acceptance and calm for which I will always be grateful.

All the words I have are not enough to describe how much I will miss that dog, or how truly thankful I am for the time we had together, however short.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Let me start by saying that I started this blog as a place for me to rant.  This will show the good and bad sides of me, also known as a complex human being. It is impossible to maintain a truly bright outlook while you are taking care of your 82-year-old grandfather. It is impossible not to resent your aunt who lives in Florida and who has told you, her 20-year-old niece to take on the bulk of the responsibility--the responsibility which is hers. It is impossible not to feel like screaming the sixth time you have heard about a tennis injury. All I can do is try my best and hope that one day in the very near future, things start to get better (for all involved).

I feel like all the bad entered my life in November 2010. It was Black Friday, the mad shopping day supposedly filled with great deals and undoubtedly with rude customers. My mom and I had agreed that it was the thing that needed to be done the day before, Thanksgiving. He was sick, he was obviously suffering; and in our selfishness, we had expected him to live longer and to just tough it out. But he was our Alex, were we really expected to let him go? We had had him for about ten years. We rescued him from Sara at ...—he was one of her first adoptions. He was our second greyhound. No adopted greyhound is totally healthy; they are infamous for their teeth problems, caused by the high protein diet on the track. We got lucky with Alex, in many ways. He didn’t have many health issues; he only needed one dental surgery. (Bruno, our third, has had, to date a total of four.) He started getting sick when he hit the age of twelve or thirteen. We gave him medicine and tried to make him comfortable. We lied to ourselves and told ourselves and possibly those around us that he wasn’t suffering, that he was happy, just that he was old. On that Thanksgiving night, he couldn’t keep anything down. If he drank a few sips of water, he would throw it up a few minutes later. He was throwing up the whole night and in the morning; we took him to our vet and put him to sleep. He was the first of all my animals (there have been many) that I have sat with while the injection took place. I watched the life leave his body. I watched his panting go from fast and pained to slow and I hope, painless. I watched bodily fluids leave his body after he had finally hastened the death that I can only imagine he had been longing for far too long.

I think about that day often. I think about how blessed we were to take in a dog that had been so obviously abused (he was the first greyhound his owner had given up for adoption). It took him years to trust us. It was at least three years before he wagged his beautiful, red fawn tail. I think about how amazingly lucky we were that he was the sweetest dog we’ve had to date. In his manner of begging, he was never pushy; he would come up, look at you with his big, sweet, brown eyes and gently lay his head in your lap. And if your lap weren’t available, he would go to the closest possible surface, such as an armrest. He was a great dog in all aspects of his life. He never came in below third place in his racing career. He knew when we, his true and loving family, were sad, when we were happy. He never went after the cats or the bird. He never went digging through the garbage. He never messed in the house, not even once. I have not let him go and I’m not sure I ever will. I’m glad he is no longer suffering but I’m also truly devastated that he is no longer here with us, especially in light of what has happened since his death. I feel as though he is needed more than ever now. I have a little hate in my heart for myself because I feel I didn’t appreciate him fully when he was alive. Recently, I’m having a lot of struggles with my religious beliefs but I really like to think that Alex is somewhere better and that he is up there with Stampede and Chatter and Blabber and Pandy. I like to think that when death comes for our other animals, that they will be there to greet them. It’s a comforting thought, but in light of recent events, I’m not so sure there is a God.

On January 12, 2011, my grandfather tried to sit in a chair, missed, fell to the floor and broke his hip.  Surgery followed on Friday.  Until the surgery, he was on narcotics for the pain.  My grandfather on narcotics has led to him wandering halls naked, throwing pillows at nurses and hallucinating at least three different humans (all of whom refused to talk to him).  I knew visiting him would be fun.  The days before the surgery, he claimed that there was a cat under the sheets, he asked me to lock my mom into the bathroom and during conversation he would randomly look to his left and say, "Jerry, what do you think?"  Jerry is one of his friends, by the way, but Jerry was nowhere in sight.  After surgery, he tried to break my mom's finger and said, "That's just the way it goes."  He tried to strangle my aunt with his blood pressure cuff.  He looked at my mom, his face turned deadly serious and said, "Your father's praying for you."
She retorted, "But you're my father."
"No, I'm not."
"Then who is?"
He looked around the room, found the male nurse, pointed at him, and said, "He is."
My grandmother was holding his hand through all of this and he had started squeezing it so hard that it was turning purple, when he was informed of the color change, he said, "Oh, that's a pretty color."
Those are just a few of the insights my grandfather offered us while on narcotics.

My problems don't rest with my grandfather. Currently, they are mostly with my aunt. I keep thinking to myself, "What if she somehow finds this?" (Not that she's technically gifted.) Then I think, "So what?" All of this has been building for a while and this is just my place to let it all out. In all likelihood, no one will be reading this. Should she find it, maybe it will be a reality check, or maybe she'll get mad. I don't care if she gets mad, because I know that I am in no way unjustified in my feelings of resentment and anger.