Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ode to my Buddy Love

Well, as 2014 does bring excitement for a new home, and new jobs in the Maurer house, it also brought sadness.

Hendrix, our (likely) 13 year old male husky was not acting right for a week or so. I had to be downtown for a meeting for a few hours, and he urinated on the couch, which was not him at all. He also wasn't laying in his normal places for a very long time. He acted restless. I sat on the floor with him late one night, and could tell that his abdomen was larger than I ever thought it had been before. It's so hard to tell with so much fur.
So, the next day 1/16/14, we went to the vet, and indeed, the vet said she felt like his abdomen was very large, and took labs and xrays. Xrays showed what looked like a very large liver, and some organs pushed out of place. His labs came back that night, and his liver numbers were in the 6000's. Normal high is 120's. He went for an abdominal ultrasound in the morning, and it showed a liver mass that incorporated about 80% of his liver mass, about 5 inches x 5 inches. I already knew this in my heart.

The story of Hendrix is one of rags to riches if you will. Hendrix came to us about 10 years ago, after we had to put our cat to sleep. Jasmine had started to mourn the cat, they so enjoyed tourchering each other! (The kitty is a whole other story) I was working at IU Med Center at the time in the Surgical ICU, and going to school to get my NP. I knew we didn't want a puppy. I contacted Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue where I saw his picture. His story was sad. He was 2 years old. He had been a court case in his short life, and even found his way to the shelter 3 times. The third, he found rescue. He was was a witnessed beating with a 2x4 by his owner, and awarded back to his owner, and would show up at the shelter when he wanted food and drink. He came to us as a foster, as he was very sick. I knew we wouldn't be able to give him up, and it was always my intent to keep him.  He had a chronic cough, that on xrays, showed almost like a doggy COPD. This was probably because he had pneumonia or bronchitis that was untreated for a long time. He had a redish/purple large spot on his coat, looked like he rubbed up against wet paint, right on the scruf of his neck, and he had terrible worms. We dewormed him, and put him on prednisone for his cough. He managed to get out of 2 cages. We finally had to PADLOCK his cages. He was not easy the first few months. All of the prednisone made him eat and drink a lot, gave him diarrhea, and the worms.. oy... Todd was NOT set on keeping him. lol. Thankfullly, my mother in law stayed with us for almost a week at that time, because Muncie had a large ice storm, and they had no power. It was a life saver! She also talked to Todd, and asked him to give Hendrix another chance when he was healthy.

That was all she wrote with Hendrix. He was a good dog. He got better. Wasn't really ever sick. Jasmine would pick a fight with him now and then, and he would always win. Todd called him our Junkyard Dog. He was calm, and laid back, until you messed with him. He would finish it.

He loved to lay on my feet and work with me. He would come running across the yard when I would tell him time for work, or we had a meeting. He was on a eating and drinking schedule. 5pm SHARP he wanted his food. I used to think it was because he would know Oprah's music was over, but, NO, that dog, just had an internal clock that was very accurate. He would WOOOO, and WOOOOO until you got him what he wanted. I think that was a testament to deprivation early on. That, and his fear of long, skinny things like brooms, shovels, etc, were the only issues this dog had. We never really had to scold him. He just was a good dog. (As long as he was fed, and watered... lol) He loved the snow, he loved to run. he loved to have his neck rubbed, and he loved to lay under things, desks, tables... anything.

He was rather annoyed by the kids... I think they were too unpredictable for him, but had come around in the past few months. He still woo'd at them a lot. :)

Fast forward to Sunday night 1/19/14... I was laying in Owen's bed... (If you don't know why, read the last post). I noticed he couldn't get comfortable. He got in the bed, on the floor, in the hall, down the stairs, back up. I noticed when he laid down, he moaned. I took a video of his breathing, and counted it... consistently 70x a minute.. which is more than double normal. I gave him a pain pill that I had here, and after 30 minutes, he settled down. He slept, in one place. I knew... he was in pain.

I called the vet in the morning (1/20/14)... and I knew we either needed to do pain meds, or we needed to say good bye. After realizing that he hasn't done many things for a while, like, he used to lay like a frog, with his legs all sprawled out, he used to stretch and woooo each morning, he used to lay at the end of the bed, and not move, nightly... I knew we had a decision to make. We could have given him pain meds, but there was a risk of the tumors bursting, and him hemmoraging to death, or being in extreme pain, or.... with my work, and Todd's work being so busy lately, maybe we would miss it, and not be home. I knew we owed him dignity, we owed him the love that we gave him when we picked him up that first day.

I read in a blog somewhere that dogs don't fear the afterlife, they don't fear heaven or hell, they don't fear death.... they fear pain. Pain was indeed, what he was in. And, I owed him more respect, and dignity than that. I know, in my heart that we did the right thing. He died eating a mouthful of homemade banana bread... and I know that is the way he'd have loved to go. But, I will miss that dog. I will miss that big man, and I already do. I don't know how many times I accidentally felt for him under my desk last week.... but I know, I will see him again.
I cannot re-read this tonight... so they typos will have to exist for now.


  1. RIP Hendrix! I love that you have memorialized him here. What a lucky do to have had 10 years in your loving companionship. Sending big love to you all!

  2. It is so hard to lose our first fur babies - what a beautiful tribute to a beautiful animal! Run with my baby, Cassie Mr Hendrix!