Today, I said goodbye to my friend.
A few weeks ago, Wyatt started having more difficulty because of his kidney disease. We lost Dakota almost 3 years ago to the same sickness so we had an eye for the symptoms. We changed out his food to yet another level of kidney-friendly diet. We hoped for the best. But we got the worst. Over the past few weeks, Wyatt lost his appetite and then finally quit eating all together. He had become toxic and his mind told him that food was making him sick so he just avoided it. Even water was touchy. For a week, we kept uping the anty while giving him medication to help calm his gut down and hopefully get him back on track for a bit. We never got a bounce. We ripped right through the best menu choices you can give a dog…fresh chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, anything! Just eat, dude. Nothing.
Against my own pact to not take it as far as I did with Dakota, I opted for one flush to see if we could reset the kidneys for a last push of comfort. So we setup our IV stand and hopped right back into the swing of things giving Wyatt an IV twice daily to try and flush the system. The plan was to see if we could flush it ourselves over the long weekend. This had worked with Dakota from time to time. Maybe he would respond too. But he didn’t. We had him peeing every hour from all the fluid but the kidneys were too far gone. We had blood drawn before the weekend and his “bad kidney levels” were up 3x from the month prior. He wasn’t happy inside.
I knew we had to make the call now. It didn’t matter if it was today or tomorrow or next week. So we spent some good time with him over the weekend in Leadville. Then I stayed up with him most of the night last night as he had to go outside on the hour anyway from the IV. We gave him a nice choice of foods today to which he turned his nose to and went and laid in his cage alone and away from everyone. All my criteria had been met for a logical conclusion. But it still hurt to do this to my friend. I always feel like I failed them somehow. With a little more experience under my belt this time around, I knew this was more of the way it goes with this disease. But it still sucked.
Its an odd thing. I have had dogs since moving to Colorado. We haven’t revolved our lives around them, especially after having kids. But they impact your life every day. Wyatt slept in my office every day while I worked. I often get up at night and work really late. He would always sense this and wake up and come down and lay in here with me. For some reason, I always thought this was so dumb. Just go to bed, dog! But he was there with me because of some bond that we develop with dogs.
Wyatt was the 2nd dog to come into our lives. Dakota was first. When we went looking for Dakota originally, we saw Wyatt in a pet store. Besides being really expensive, we didn’t want a boy dog (for whatever reason) and we passed him up. We got Dakota and enjoyed her as a puppy for an entire summer. Then some crazy part of us decided that this dog needed a playmate and we went out looking. We went back to that same pet store and Wyatt was still there! A summer had passed and nobody picked up this cute guy. He had a odd hairless birthmark on his back which I figured people fretted over. As we were watching him in his cage, we noticed the other dogs picking on him. Then, I saw him eat some poop in the cage. Gross? No, fucking sad. Nobody is noticing this that works here? This dog is starving. This went to being a rescue mission instantly. We asked to see him so they put us in a room with him. He came in and immediately started playing with this bowl in there like he was getting paid to perform. Some part of me thought…as a dog, this is your chance to make an impression and by god this dog is trying hard. We then noticed his paws were becoming sore and deformed from being in that wire floored cage for so long. Kim and I looked at each other. Wyatt never left us after that moment.
When we brought him home, we put him in the yard where Dakota was playing off in some corner. She came around and saw him and then ran to each other. It was one of those slow motion love frolics that would be in a title sequence in a movie. It was perfect. The entire night was spent with them following each other around the house. It was a perfect match. Her strong personality to his shy one. Everyone thought they were brothers and sisters. Nope, not technically. But they were soul mates.
When Dakota passed 3 years ago, I told her that I would take care of her man. I feel like I did OK. I tried to walk him more, hike with him more, and take him more places. But as he aged and got more arthritic a lot of that went out the window. He was happy just laying by me in bed. At my feet or along my side every night. Sticking his wet nose on me telling me to pet him over and over until I usually told him no more.
Wyatt lost his hearing last year which was kind of weird. I could no longer call him. I still talked to him a lot. Even today. He was on the table after being given a sedative. I am in the room with our great vet, Sue, talking to a dog that can’t hear me but I believe feels what I am saying. And with that, it was over.
With every passing, I try and reflect a bit and then move on. With Dakota it was easy to recommit to Wyatt. With Wyatt, there are no more dogs in line. And I don’t plan on replacing him. So I opted to recommit myself to my kids.
The only silver lining in this day was my vision of Dakota and Wyatt reuniting and running off together through that field once again. Thanks to you both for being apart of our lives.