Wednesday, November 12, 2008

(Gulp) The Big Day

(Written on November 11, 2008)

I had a very hard time sleeping last night. When I woke up in the morning I had a very hard time not looking at Nova's left leg. I kept wanting to hug her and touch the leg that I knew would not be there by the end of the day. I cradled her head as I gave her her glaucoma eyedrops, and whispered words of encouragement in her ear. It was very hard to not break down and cry. On the way out the door I made an impulsive decision to grab my camera and take a "Farewell 4-legged Nova" picture. Probably stupid, but I just did it.

I put Nova's bed in the car so that she would have a comfortable ride. Surgery is always to nerve-wracking, with dogs AND people, because you never know if there will be complications during the surgery and that this might be the last time. I cried for much of the ride down there and had to spend some time pulling myself together in my car before taking her in. Of course, Nova kept licking my face to wipe my tears.

We went in and she instantly recognized the place and made another bee-line for the door. She started whining too. It was heartbreaking. I was able to hold back my tears as I signed all the forms and releases. But she kept tugging at the leash and wanting to leave. I asked to speak with the surgeon and he came right out to talk with me. I was wanting to know how much of the leg they were going to take off, and what it might look like. I was really shocked and dismayed to find out that even though the tumor was way down near her ankle, that they would be taking off the entire left front leg AND the left shoulder. He said that it was the preferred way and a more streamlined look for the dog. He said if anything if left dangling it creates more opportunities for things to get bumped and hurt. I understood, but was still stunned that they would be taking her shoulder.

Soon it was time to say goodbye and I kept hugging her, not wanting to let her go. I whispered some final words of encouragement in her ear and watched the technician walk away with her. I got back to the car and set her collar and the seat and the floodgates opened. There is always this feeling of "will she blame me, or be mad at me?" And "I just paid someone to saw off my dog's LEG, how cruel." I know it is not cruel, but actually the most loving thing I could have done for her. And I know she won't be looking down there thinking "I can't believe you would do this to me." Argghhhh. It is times like these where I wish I was a dog. Then I would not worry, I would just wag my tail and take life as it comes.

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