Today has been a tough day. My heart absolutely aches right now as we navigate the unknown with one of our dear furry members who is not feeling well.
Over the past couple of months, we have been witnessing the slow progression when an unknown illness begins to take hold of a life. Last evening around midnight, when talking with Jenny from our team, we knew that things were progressing to the point again of needing to possibly seek emergency care. After a restless night, I woke to a phone call from Jenny indicating that Jersey, our beloved English Bulldog, would need to go to the vet.
Arriving at Friendship Heights Animal Hospital, we began to navigate the unknown. Sickness is such a tricky thing in life. It's not as though our beloved furry companions are able to just say here is what is wrong, or here is where it hurts. But... you know. The look in their eyes, the lethargic movement, the extreme tiredness, the struggle for a good breath of fresh air. While current vitals can be stable and blood work unremarkable, your gut just tells you there is something much more significant going on.
There are no concrete answers right now. However, during the attempts at additional diagnostics, Jersey began to show signs of great distress thus requiring her to be admitted to the ICU. Oh, how my heart aches.
Pets teach us so much in life. A safe refuge, a forgiving soul who never judges, just loves. A cuddle buddy when we are sick and need a day to recoup in bed. How much better would the world be if we were all more forgiving and loving to one another.
This evening, Jenny and Ceheirra from our team, met me at the hospital. We sat on the floor next to the oxygen tent Jersey is currently in and put our arms and hands through the two holes and just petted her telling her how much we love her. Her ears perked up a bit as she lay there still under the effects of mild sedation.
Perceptions in life can be a funny thing. We are blessed to work with many members in all facets and walks of life. However, when the rawness of illness and possible disease sets in, all things are leveled. Sickness knows no status. The rawness of seeing your loved one in pain and not feeling well is an emotion everyone can relate to.
As professional pet sitters, we do our best to navigate the potential unknown. We hear it over and over again that most pet sitters just drop off or pick up a pet at a vet. They aren't staying around and helping to navigate the unknown. To be perfectly blunt, this mentality escapes me. We love our furry members and their owners. Our motto "Where All Pets Become Family" is not just a "when it's convenient moment." We are invested in the good and the not so good. Jersey's mom thanked us today and referred to us as angels. I pause because isn't the truth here that Jersey and her owner are the true angels?
There are certain pets who truly capture your heart. Jersey is that special soul who teaches us much about life. A bond established with Jenny's dog, Pinkerton, has shown what the love of a pet can bring in to a house. A certain calm, a reassuring snort, or the boof, boof when she wants to get up on the bed. Learning how to share, knowing when to be gentle and yet other times with it is an all out tug of war game. And most importantly the gentleness of her spirit, the desire to love and be loved.
I did my best to hold it together today, however when the Dr. and I were on the phone with the owner and began to discuss next steps and whether a DNR should be put in place, I heard the sobs and couldn't contain my own emotions any longer. Sickness knows bounds. We are all human and share in the same pain navigating the unknown.
My heart still aches tonight as our team all says a prayer for Miss Jersey. We also pray for her owner as she navigates a hectic schedule of commitments and obligations. The next 24 to 48 hours are critical.
We love you sweet Jersey girl!
UPDATE - February 9th - Afternoon: It was a restless night tossing and turning. Each moment I awoke, I paused and said a prayer. Late last night and again this morning, we were on the phone talking with the medical team at Friendship Animal Hospital and also the owner. Jersey had a rough night and at this point is now oxygen dependent.
Jersey's owner said it best:
"...I have to remember that I am responsible to speak where she can't, and to give her the best outcome..."
For those who have had a pet, you may have already experienced the grief and loss of your furry child at some point. Pets teach us much. And when that time comes to say our goodbyes, we celebrate the joy, rambunctiousness, cuteness, compassion, and unconditional love we have been blessed to experience as their owners, their pet sitters, their friends.
Please say a prayer for Jersey and her owner. Heaven will be gaining another angel shortly.
We love each of our furry members and thank you for allowing us the opportunity to care and be a part of your lives. This evening, our team will be going to the hospital again to say our own goodbyes to sweet Jersey. We know Heaven is going to be having lots of tug of wars going on when Jersey gets there. We'll also make sure you have your favorite pink pig toy too!
UPDATE - February 9th - Evening: Jersey unfortunately deteriorated very quickly this afternoon. I received a phone call from Jersey's owner and immediately headed to Friendship. Seeing that she had crossed a threshold, it was evident that the very best we could do for Jersey would be to ease the pain. We held the phone up to her for her owner to say goodbye. Jersey was comfortable in my lap as the Dr. administered the medication. I just kept telling her how much we love her and her dear mom loves her. Heaven gained an amazing angel this evening. We are so thankful for the medical team, their expertise, and compassion. Jersey girl - give our other love bugs a good hug from us! We love you!
1 Corinthians 13:4-8, New International Version (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.