Saturday, February 23, 2013
Our beloved Havanese, Ms. CoCo Chanel, the Harbor Master of Mariner's Cove, died last night.
She had been diagnosed with a frontal lobe tumor about two years ago, after a major seizure left her back legs weakened for a few hours and her behavior changed.
Ms. Conroy immediately left work and took her to the Vet where she underwent a complete blood panel to check the functioning of her heart, lungs, pancreas, liver, metabolism and other functions. Everything came back perfectly fine.
The Vet said that he was quite certain she had a brain tumor. He said this is growing more and more common in little dogs who have been over bred in puppy mills. (She was a rescue pup).
He guessed the tumor was in the frontal lobe because her eyesight and hearing were fine, as was her balance, but she seemed to be even less tolerant of human behavior which did not meet her Upper East Side sensibilities. And, she had very high standards.
At the time, the Vest said that he could take an MRI and confirm the diagnosis, but, with no health insurance for pets, the fees would run into the thousands of dollars. Surgery, he said, would be very difficult and no real promise of success. And, very costly.
"Take her home and love her and enjoy her," he said. "You can give her some Pet Tylenol if she seems uncomfortable and some Phenobarbital if she has more seizures."
I think she had a very good past two years.
There were occasional episodes of very mild seizure activity which only once required Phenobarbital. Sometimes, she rubbed her ears and seemed uncomfortable. When we could convince her to take a Pet Tylenol, it seemed to work well.
Mostly, though, she was one tough little cookie and worked it out on her own. We tried putting her medicine in Peanut Butter, Cheese, even Ice Cream. No way. She figured it out immediately. She would put up her nose and walk away. It almost seemed that she was disappointed in us - that we couldn't have been more clever or creative.
In the past year, she developed "Sundowners Syndrome". Somewhere between 5-6:30 PM, she'd get confused and that made her upset and anxious and angry. At any sound or sudden movement, she'd fly off the couch and bark furiously and continually. Nothing seemed to console her. She just had to work it out until she calmed herself down and then she'd curl up in a ball and go back to sleep.
Her favorite spot was on the cushion behind Ms. Conroy. Every now and again, Ms. Conroy would lean back and softly say to Ms. CoCo, "Can I have some kisses?"
She'd ask once. No response.
Twice. No response.
Third time. The response would come in a low, soft, annoyed, "Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr."
Ms. Conroy would say, "Not today? Maybe tomorrow?"
Ms. CoCo would huff and curl herself more tightly into a ball on the pillow.
Last night, as Ms. CoCo had her last, major seizure - which was so difficult to watch - we sat on either side of her, stroking her body and saying soft, loving things to her.
Our two other pups, Lenny and Theo, sat outside the bedroom door, clearly aware that something was going on but not wanting to come in. Suddenly, Theo let out a yelp - just a short, quick yelp, like someone stepped on his toe. We looked over at Theo and, when we looked back at CoCo, it was clear she had stopped breathing.
"She's gone," said Ms. Conroy.
And, it was so.
We both sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.
Ms. Conroy took a snip of her hair and put it in a tissue to save. We took off all her tags and wrapped her carefully in her favorite green shirt.
We will bury her in the front yard, where she can be near the boats and ducks and geese that go by, which earned her the name "Harbor Master of Mariner's Cove" from our neighbors.
As we tucked her into her little coffin, Ms. Conroy wept and bent over to give her a kiss. She gulped and said through her tears, "Maybe tomorrow?"
Maybe. Maybe not. I expect, when we see her again in heaven, she'll do what she always did: Run to us, dancing her little dance on her back paws, her front paws pumping up and down.
The house is very quiet without her. We're all pretty numb from the loss. Theo and Lenny are sticking pretty close to either one of us.
Our hearts are broken.
Oh, we'll heal. We'll move on. Ms. CoCo wouldn't have it any other way.
It's just not that way today.