Do the Right Thing

I had one of those moments today where I was forced to make a choice in a split second.  I had one of those moments when neither option is really what I want but the confines of time and the number of arms I have forces me to choose.  I did the “right thing.”  But it didn’t feel good. It did not feel good at all.  And my heart still hurts.


I have told the story here before of how I fell in love with Fisher.  I have admitted that he sleeps in my bed with me. But I have never spoken of the way he tears my heart out of my chest every so often, mostly because I like to try and forget.

He will hop down from the bed and then be unable to move.  Or he will be in the midde of jumping up on to the couch and he will collapse.  A seizure, says the vet.  They do not happen often enough to establish any kind of pattern.  Blood work comes back fine.  No known cause.

His legs crumble beneath him.  He begins to pant and drool.  His eyes look deep in to mine as if he is frightened.  He doesn’t move.  It lasts for a minute, maybe two.  If I am alone with him I hold him in my arms and tell him that I love him and that he is okay, that he is safe.  If I am with MQD or my ex-husband I bawl and sob and say “Is he okay? Do you think he is okay?” repeatedly until I am kicked out of the room.  (I will wait here while you make a mental note – Kelly in a crisis, bad idea unless she is the only adult present.)

This afternoon marked the first time that Fish had an episode while I was alone with him.  Alone with him and Lucy.

Fish and Lucy like to look out the window in the afternoon and wait for the school bus. When it is warm they stand at the door.  When it is cold they stand and look over the back of the couch.  Today we were all snuggled on the couch, Fish with his feet over the back of the couch, Lucy Goose right next to him.  They were watching, waiting for the school bus.  They might have stayed just like that for the thirty minutes it would take for Emily to get home.  I considered reaching back behind me to grab my phone and take a picture of these two but I feared my movement would disrupt this quiet calm.  So, I just watched them.

And then his legs folded under him and he curled in to himself.  Lucy was quick to take advantage of this chance to climb on to his back.  And this was my moment.  My split-second “what the hell should I do now?” moment.  I wanted to take my sweet ten-year-old boy in my arms and hold him, shh-shh him and tell it was going to be okay.  He was scared, he is just an animal.

In that moment, though, we were all animals.  All three of us.  And I chose Lucy. I don’t think I should get a medal for having the presence of mind to grab Lucy and hold her away from my ailing dog.  Anyone with a pet knows that a good dog, even a great dog can be squirrelly when they are frightened.  I could pet his head.  I could shh-shh him but I could not hold him in my lap.  I could not hold him because I had this wild thing of a 13 month-old in my lap instead.  And my heart broke in to a million pieces.

20130304-194359.jpgThose big brown eyes.  The same eyes I fell so hard and fast for long before I became a mother they tore a hole straight through me.  “It’s okay, big boy.  I am right here.  I am just keeping Lucy Goosey safe, baby boy, keeping her from bugging you, okay?  But I am right here, I promise, I am right here.”

I must have told him in a thousand different ways that I wasn’t going anywhere and that I was just holding on to Lucy to keep her from bothering him.  But I knew even as the words were falling from my mouth that it was not completely true.  My big boy was hurting.  And I was protecting my baby.

It was the “right thing.”  But it did not feel good.  It did not feel good at all.

Minutes went by and his breathing steadied.  I sobbed the ugly tears on the phone and Fish calmed down.  So, eventually, did I. The school bus came at 2:37 and Fisher jumped off the couch like nothing was wrong.  Cautiously, I opened the door.  He’d either take a few steps and slow down and I would know that this time, this time was different, or he’d leap off the porch to cover his big girl with kisses.

He leapt off the porch.  I leaned against the door frame and watched those two run up the front hill, all zig-zag across the flower beds.  Lucy pressed her face against the storm door waiting for them to come up the front steps.  And just like that today was exactly the same as every other afternoon.

So help me, if these kids are not the death of me, this dog will be.


36 responses to “Do the Right Thing

  1. Oh, my heart is breaking! We adopted a black lab/border collie mix a few months ago and she is my love. My boys adore her and I see how love is changing a dog that wasn’t treated so well by previous owners. I feel your pain and think it says volumes about who you are that you can feel this deeply about Fisher . . .

  2. It would be so much easier on our hearts if they could just talk at moments like this…my Chester is going through some issues right now and i know that dreaded heart tearing feeling all too well these days. Oh, you are soooo right “if the kids won’t do it to you, the dog will”

  3. Pingback: It’s Tough to be the Dog | My journey to live an authentic life

  4. This was so sweet and heart wrenching!!! He knows you love him, he will be okay. You are always with him…he knows that. I’m sure he didn’t want a baby on his back while having a seizure. You solved his problem. Its ok. He doesn’t harbor things like humans do…one minute later he was all back to normal. Loving is hard, don’t be so hard on YO’sef girl. <3

  5. Oh how awful a thing to have to go through – for both you and your sweet brown eyed boy. I think in situations like this some force, some internal strength, takes over and you simply do what is needed at the time.

  6. I had a lab named Crockett that had seizures. You are right. It is an awful thing to see. I was always worried about him having one while he was alone.

    • Oh jeez, don’t even get me thinking about that. I am sure it has happened… Ugh. Crockett is a super cute name. After Miami Vice, I hope. ;)

  7. You just tore at my heart. I read this in the morning and its still on my mind that I had to comment. I lost my sweet boy Woodrow to seizures and it was the hardest thing to put him down when we couldn’t do anything to help him.

    You did the right thing because Fish needed to calm down without Lucy climbing on him. He heard you, he saw you, he knew you were there for him. (Ok, I’m crying again … gotta go …)

  8. OMG!!! I am a sobbing mess!!! I adore Fisher and it is hard to imagine him being in that state. sniff sniff

  9. Fisher would’ve chosen Lucy too. You did the right thing and he knows it. You did protect your boy as well, you see that right? Be good to you. Allow yourself a moment to know that your protected both of them and that he gets it. He does. Xo

  10. Pretty sweet. I think you do the right thing in the moment because you act without thinking or analyzing. You do what you do, and it’s the best you could do in that time.

  11. Touching.

  12. I had a poodle mix rocky with seizures. He was medicated. It was heartbreaking.

  13. It’s interesting because it doesn’t sound like you actually made the choice. It sounds like instinct kicked in to me. Sometimes, the best we can do is go with our gut, and it sounds like it all worked out in the end. Still, it doesn’t make that situation any easier on your emotionally.

  14. Lots of feelings,but not many words…

  15. Kelly, there is no doubt you did the right thing. My first love as a mother, my weimaraner, Oliver, was epileptic. Most of the time his seizures came with warnings, but every so often they came out of the blue. When Stella was a babe I taught her which toys were Oliver’s, to stay away when he was eating, not to put her fingers in his ears (he hated that). Stella would often sit in my lap with Oliver in his chair and we would pet him, hand him a toy. Always together. One day Oliver was in his chair, Stella was across the room playing, and I was making the bed. The next thing I knew my lovely 13-month old was eagerly tottering to Oliver to give him his toy she found in her toy baket. In a split second Oliver started a seizure and my baby was headed right towards him. He didn’t know where he was, what he was doing, and I was too late. I never thought I would need to choose my baby over my first love, but here I was prying my boy’s jaws off of my baby’s face. I made a choice and Stella would eventually be fine after surgery. My love for Oliver changed that day insomuch that I would do anything to protect both of them; he went to stay in a home without little ones because his epilepsy was worse and Stella couldn’t understand why he sometimes wasn’t able to cuddle.

    You did the best thing for both of them, Kelly.

  16. This is heartbreaking. I used to have a Rat Terrier that was epileptic. His started, we think, because he hit his head really hard on the floor once…That’s about when they started. I would have to take him outside because he would get sick and mess himself. It only lasted about five minutes, but he would be out for a good couple hours afterward. I understand…it is hard.

  17. This post made me cry!! So hard to watch our fur babies age and suffer. You did do the right thing though! Many hugs to you and yours!

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