The Best Laid Plans…

… don’t always unfold as one would like. Here it is, almost a year since my last post, wherein I reported on my desire to be more consistent in my blogging again, only to fail epically. I ask myself, what in the world happened?

Quigley Drawn to the Birthday Cake

Well, in the late winter and early spring, Quigley, our dear Redbone Coonhound then twelve and a half years old, began to show a limp, and other signs of pain. Initial diagnosis was a bulging disc in his spine. For several weeks we had to take him to the vet’s office for regular laser treatments to ease the pain and inflammation. They seemed to work. For awhile I could still take him for a three mile morning walk, but it became harder and harder for him to go the distance and eventually I stopped taking him. Then we noticed that fluid had begun to build up in his abdomen, whereupon the diagnosis changed from bulging disc to congestive heart failure.

On March 21, not long after my birthday, my husband and I took him on a short midday walk through a nearby park where he got to trot around, and smell all the things hounds love to smell. Home again, and after dinner and the last of the birthday cake, we settled down to watch a movie. As the show ended and the credits began to roll, I told Quigley, who was lying under the coffee table between us and the TV, that it was time for his pill. He didn’t move much but then he’d not been moving much lately anyway. I went into the kitchen to get his pill, calling for him to come and get it.

When he continued to lie there, I brought the pill to him, patted him, and told him again that it was time for his pill. And still he didn’t move. Finally it dawned on me that not only was he not lifting his head, he didn’t appear to be breathing either. So I looked more closely and felt his ribcage. No movement at all. I put my hand over his nose — his lips were still warm and wet — but there was no breath coming out of them. He was gone.

I came unglued. My husband and I just held each other for awhile and then he went out to dig a grave in the back yard, which is his way of dealing with these losses. I just sat with Quigley’s body, mourning even as I was so grateful to have had him in my life. He was my guardian, my friend, my security system, my walking buddy, and just a wonderful blessing on a day by day basis. I’m so thankful to have had him for the twelve and a half years that we did. Twelve and a half seems way too short. But it turns out our previous Redbone, Bear, was also twelve and half when he died. I did a bit of research, and found out this was an average lifespan for dogs of their size. Which isn’t as good as a chihuahua (something like 20 years) but way better than Great Danes (6 or 7 years).

5 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans…

  1. Greg Kurtz

    Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.
    ~Roger Caras
    We lost our dog last year. Nothing is 2020 has been as hard as that.

    Reply
  2. Caryn

    So glad to see a post from you show up in my email, but heartbroken to hear about your pup. From one dog lover to another, I understand that pain. It sounds like you had such a faithful friend in him and I hope your hearts are on the mend.

    Reply
  3. April Gillespie

    The loss of a pet is never easy. They are a part of you and have a part of your heart. So when they are no longer with you in those daily moments the hole very much felt. And loosing a pet during the COVID-19 craziness is even worse. I’ve found myself longing for love and companionship in ways I that were never issues for me before. That includes caving and getting a kitten recently. I told myself I wouldn’t be one of those millions that got a “covid pet”. But after 9 months and my roommate moving I knew I needed something in my house to “talk to”. I’ve never cried over having a pet get spayed or neutered…. but here I was, broken by 2020, and fearful that my “tiny kitten” that I had only had for 4 weeks would be taken from me when they did the surgery. So I cried out to the Lord and complained and whined. He heard my cry and comforted me. Anyway, all that to say, the Lord gives us our pets. For He knows what we have need of even when we don’t. I am praying for you Karen. In this, and in all things. I speak of you often as someone I would probably be friends with and go to the same church with if we lived in the same state.

    Reply
  4. Christine Levity

    Karen, I’m so sorry for your loss of Quigley—always enjoyed it when you mentioned him in your posts. We lost our red golden retriever a few years ago and still miss her. It is good that you were both with him and he was home when he passed away, it sounds like it was a peaceful transition for him

    Reply

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