Today’s memory, isn’t quite the same as the rest of this journals. It doesn’t belong to my childhood, and I didn’t intend to include any of these for a very long time, but It’s very relevant to my life right now today, this very exact moment, and yet it is also still part of one of my current past lives, because I most certainly was not the woman I am today, and I wasn’t then who I was when I was a child. It seems to belong here.
A few months after I got sick, my ex-husband thought it would be a good idea to start breeding our dachshunds. I was home full time, I could make sure everything went smoothly and well he could make some money. I’ve been involved in many things in my life, so it was a subject I was familiar with, I absolutely love puppies and worrying and watching over the mother and the newborns and watching them grow, and spoon feeding them their first real food and all of it. He thought it would be good money, as there was only one other breeder in quite a radius around us, he was an amishman, and he didn’t raise the puppies in the home with him. I thought about how it would help heal my heart and jumped on the trolley, despite my dogs being my worst allergen.
This meant we went from having three dogs, to six in the space of a year. A male, a female, and special ed pup we couldn’t legally sale due to it being stuck in the birth canal during birth, and my heart could never put her down. My long haired dachshund had been purchased intact, with the notion that I might someday want to have a single litter of puppies for that very experience again. Selfish maybe, but the heart is a raging beast.
I loved Alice, truly I did. I know all dogs are special and love and bond with their owners, but Alice had this way of looking at me like she knew. I would have imaginary conversations in words, in my mind with her, like, pretend telepathic communication, just because it made me feel better, and her big brown eyes, would just look at me, like they wanted to love it better, and like it hurt her that she couldn’t. I know that feeling, so maybe I just wanted her to feel it for me, but either way. She gave me that feeling.
She would get between the ex husband and me, she wouldn’t let him play rough with the children, I mean she truly saw me as the leader of the pact, and my children as her charges to watch over as such. Every night she would go in each child’s room, go in their closets, under the beds, look behind their chairs, then essentially tell them good night one by one then take up her place by my side. When my children were toddlers, 2 weeks shy of being 2 years apart, and their doors met in a triangle shape, she would lay between their doors any time I slept.
I truly felt that Alice was special, and that she would not only be a great mother as her instincts ran deep, but that her puppies would make wonderful pets for their future owners- because her genes felt strong, and I was sure she would pass down the personality, and didn’t really give too shits about the money that sometimes was, and sometimes wasn’t to be made raising puppies.
But there was a problem. Even though Alice was intact, she suddenly stopped coming into heat, almost the day the male dachshund came home. We waited for about 18 months, and as dachshunds only come into heat twice a year, and she was turning six the following April, we decided to address the issue. I didn’t want to be an awful person and make her have puppies when she was out of her prime and it would be harder on her body, and I didn’t want to have but one or two litters then have her spayed, as she was my personal dog, and her health matters. I knew every month I let it go, her health risks increased.
I can’t remember the name of the drug we gave Alice, I could probably google it, but it doesn’t matter. I researched for weeks, talked to the vet, got recommendations, I did the background work. I knew the risks, I knew the odds, and at the end of the day I was willing to take them. It was technically a hormone used in and produced by cattle, but that has been used in the u.k. a lot with dachshunds, and while there were risk, they seemed to actually occur very rarely. I made an informed decision, as I always try to do when it comes to things I love.
We gave Alice the injection, everything seemed fine, until four hours later. It was time for bed and I couldn’t find Alice. See I carried her upstairs every night, then back down in the morning. The stairs were pretty steep, and she used to go up them sideways. She would put her front up to the right, then hop up her back feet to the left, then turn around and do the opposite on the next stair. It took her forever and I was impatient, but then she fell halfway down once, and she wouldn’t even try after that. Apparently it was easier for both of us for me to carry her up, drop her at the top of the stairs, then in the morning she’d stand there and wait for me to carry her down.
I looked all over. I couldn’t find her anywhere, I finally thought well, maybe she went up with me. Then I heard her rattled breathing when I went to brush my teeth, in the downstairs bathroom. She was in her crate. The crate she had literally chewed threw when my ex-husband insisted we get one for all of the dogs. Six dogs can be chaos when you leave the house and the youngest one isn’t allowed to be disciplined. I don’t want to talk about that one today, so just accept it as it reads. The point was, Alice never ever went in her crate. She wasn’t crate trained, she didn’t like it, and she wasn’t the dog misbehaving, so when chewed threw it. I laughed and life went on somewhat the same for Alice.
Alice was in the back of the large crate, cowering, shaking, head down, eyes rolling back where all I could see was whites… I Pulled her out, and the most immediate sensation was of impending death. Her body was cold, her nose was dry, her gums were white. Her breathing was shallow, and barely discernable, her pulse was low her eyes, were unresponsive to stimulation.
The first thing I did, was recognize the symptoms fit the rare instance of allergic reaction within dogs and cattle. I didn’t pause, I didn’t reconsider, I decided. My husband was clear she wasn’t going to the vet, technically we’d been in the wrong, and well the hormone did come from someone after all. I looked up the dosage for Benadryl, and administrated. I wasn’t even 100% sure, that it wouldn’t kill her, before giving it to her. I googled it a few hours later, but Alice was at the door of death, and there wasn’t time to care if that was going to be the thing that might kill her. My gut told me what to do, said do it now, don’t think about it- and I did.
I wrapped Alice in fleece blanket, then turned on the heating pad. I cradled her in my arms. I prayed, but I didn’t pray to the god I no longer believed in. I prayed to myself. I prayed to my will to heal her. I prayed that my good energy would flow over and warm her, and bring her back. I held Alice from around 10pm, rocking and cradling her, pouring my love and sorrow, pain and regret into her, willing her to want to live. Willing her to fight for my sake, because god dammit, I didn’t want life without her. She deserved better, but I truly didn’t mean to. I truly didn’t ever suspect she’d be the 1 in 10,000
I didn’t mean to. I’d done my best to make a smart decision and I fckd up bad- but I couldn’t have known. Around 4am, Alice began to stir. I had been using a syringe to drip room temperature broth, that I had made just for her, into her throat and rubbed it forcing her to swallow, so she wouldn’t dehydrate while her body raged war. Alice wanted down, but she could barely move. She literally tried to crawl to the kitchen door, unable to get up even to her front knee.
I cried. My damned dog, was such a damned good dog, well trained and so intent on pleasing me, that she tried to make it outside because she was about to have diarrhea. How fcking sad is that. I knew then that Alice had the will to live. She was going to make it, but I was upset still. She was likely going to have a long recovery, and it was all my fault. She might not even fully recover. Most allergic reactions died, or had brain damage, and simply didn’t have a good quality of life. I might have to have her put down, for her sake.
Over the next day Alice continued to get better, after I got her cleaned up and settled down on the floor to sleep next to her, she started to drink the broth on her own out of a bowl. She wouldn’t stay on the couch with me, and I was afraid as she didn’t seem to be able to move her back legs at all, that she would fall and hurt herself.
Alice continued to get better over the course of the day as well. I slept on the couch the next night, with her pallet right next to me on the floor, I was in for the long haul. Becoming alert, and crawling around and wagging your tail, isn’t exactly a full recovery. The next morning, I woke up to Alice standing on my chest and licking my face. She pranced out in the kitchen to go potty, as if nothing amiss had occurred and well. We couldn’t believe our eyes.