Location: Oregon, United States

Friday, August 25, 2006


Well, this is awful. Sundae died last night at about 6:00. Here's what happened:

I was getting ready to go to HomePlate, where I volunteer with at-risk youths. Paul and William had gone to the store to get some dinner. As I got my purse, Sundae saw a dog in the greenspace and started running around the house barking - she does this, partly to notify us of an intruder and partly because she wants to go play with the dog. I told her to leave it, which is our classic response to this behavior, and kept heading for the door. She followed me, still excited, and went to jump up on me to beg me to let her go play. I said, no we're going to leave it, and put my knee up, which she knows means don't jump up on me, so she backed down.

Right when she backed down, she faltered and kind of fell over. I thought she had thrown out her back on the tile, so I waited a second for her to calm down and then went over to her. She tried to get up a couple times, then did, walked a couple more steps and then collapsed completely and her tongue turned blue.

I called a local pet hospital and told them I was having a medical emergency with my dog and they referred me to an emergency pet hospital. I called them and they talked me through CPR for her and gave me the number of another pet hospital where I could bring her. The CPR helped her tongue turn pink again, but I couldn't hear her heartbeat. I wasn't sure whether that was just because I was shook up, or if it really wasn't there.

Meanwhile, Thomas and Stephen came out of their room to see what was going on. When they realized it was serious, they started weeping and wailing as loud as possible and pleading for Sundae to come back. Not helpful. I got Thomas to straighten up long enough to get Paul on his cell phone and tell him to come home immediately, which he did.

Once Paul got back, we tried to figure out what to do. I had been giving CPR, but was pretty sure it wasn't working. Plus, how can you get a good chest compression on a dog that doesn't lay flat on her back? She kept tipping over, and I had to lean her up against the wall... The pet hospitals we had been referred to were over 25 minutes away, she'd already been out for way too long even if they could revive her, the kids were a mess and there weren't enough grownups to go around.

We decided to see if one of our neighbors who is a nurse had a stethoscope, but she didn't. Then Paul had a brainstorm and went to another neighbor that has a dog and asked for a vet referral. The vet they use is very nearby and was open until 8. He volunteered to drive while I continued the CPR and his wife called them to let them know we were coming.

When we got there, after a minute in the waiting area (Ugh!), they ushered Sundae and I back and listened for her heartbeat. There was none, which is what I thought, but still...

The vet and I discussed what had happened and he said that every once in a while, a dog that appears perfectly healthy will have a heart defect that goes undetected and they just die like this. So the wind up is, she just had a massive heart attack, and there was nothing we could have done. She was only about 5 years old.

So those are the facts. Emotionally, we are a bit of a mess. It was way too fast and there was no way to say goodbye (being a social worker, I am planning on some sort of 'closure ceremony' so we can do a better job of saying goodbye). This has been a bit of a "banner year" for us. If you start from exactly one year ago here are a few big things that have happened: I went to China. The day I got home, we found out that Paul's office was closing down and we had to decide between moving or severence, we came to Portland to check it out, we felt totally peaceful about making the move, I had to quit my job, we said goodbye to absolutely everybody and cried our eyes out, we moved, the kids transitioned into new schools, we found out William has Crohn's, my mom has been sick, Paul's mom may have a tumor in her brain and now the dog has died. Any way you look at it, that's a lot.


Blogger Deb Borman said...

Lydia and Paul,
We will be praying for both of your moms and that the Lord will give you HIs perfect peace. He will never leave us or forsake us.
I'm also sorry to hear about Sundae. It sounds like you did everything you could do. I have been keeping up to speed withyou the lazy way, through asking Kristen! Actually, I didnt know about the blog thing until more recently.
Our latest news (are you sitting down?)is that we bought a puppy for Hannah 's birthday last week. can you believe it? Jay's a softie, you know, just like you, Lydia. :) I wish you were here to come over and laugh hysterically at our efforts to train the thing. Her name is Olive and she is a wire fox terrier. Very cute, which saves her sweet little life when she poops in the house.
Please tell everyone hello from all of us and we will keep you in our prayers. I know it feels like we are far away but you are still close in our hearts.
We love you! Deb and Jay, Christina, Hannah, and Scott

3:37 PM  

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