Sunday, November 10, 2013

All Dogs Go to Heaven

On Thursday Night we lost one of our furry family members. I remember driving with Rob on a Friday night to go pick out our new puppy. My brother came over to hang out with Tyson since we would be gone for 6 hours.  We had been emailing with a breeder for weeks to ensure that we would be a right match for one of her puppies and that our puppy's parents had been through the appropriate health screenings. We met Bertha and Trudy along with their parents, uncles, siblings and cousins. Almost immediately it became apparent that Bertha was the puppy for us. She was a spunky little girl who we knew would be a great match for Tyson.

Once we knew who was coming home with us we got back on the road. We decided Layla was the perfect moniker for our new family member. She snuggled with us the entire way home and when we arrived she made fast friends with Tyson. They were best buds from day 1.

She slept in our bed the first night, and almost every day after. She craved constant human touch. If she wasn't lying on you, she wasn't close enough. Rob called her "Bunny" when she was little because she was such a snuggle bunny. She never realized her size and was convinced she was a lap dog.

Layla was naughty almost every day of her life. She chewed bras, shoes and underwear as a puppy. She chewed coffee tables and books as an adolescent. She broke into cabinets and got food off the top of the refrigerator as an adult. As frustrating as her naughtiness was, I always laughed about it after the fact. I'm laughing now thinking about her getting into the Bisquick or butterscotch pudding.

She definitely did things on her terms. She was full of life and only listened when it suited her. She always wanted to be the center of attention. If you weren't paying attention to her, she was going to make you. She was great with H and B even when they were pulling her nub or crawling over her.  She was the perfect girl for our family.

I remember the first time Layla had a seizure. I was worried sick and wondered why it was happening. Over time they continued but were never anything we felt we needed to be concerned about.  All of her test came back negative and the seizures didn't occur frequently. Two months ago when she had her first cluster of seizures, I remember thinking "This is the beginning of the end."  Whatever had been causing her seizures was now serious enough we couldn't  ignore it, except there was still no known cause. So we'd treat the symptoms.  

Her first day home from the hospital was the first time we talked about quality of life. She was high as a kite and could barely walk. Over the next few weeks she seemed to be getting better. So much so that we started weaning her off one of her medications. 

A week and a half ago, we started noticing she was having pain. We took her to the vet and she was put on medication to help with the pain. After this things just started to fall apart. I won't go into all the details, but the last week of her life was miserable for us. She was in severe pain and having seizure activity again. I was struggling with her care and the emotions that came with seeing her in such pain. Trying to make the right decisions for her while maintaining the kids' happiness was exhausting.  

On Thursday night she seemed to be feeling better after a long day of being in pain. We snuggled on the couch together while I blogged about Christmas pajamas. She had a seizure and never came back from it. She went into shock and eventually stopped breathing. She was not even 7 1/2 years old. 

Every day with her was a blessing. I loved her even when I wanted to strangle her. She was my best friend. My favorite snuggler. Our loud protector. My co-captain. Harrison's favorite.  She was our Laylers, Layla Cake, Tater Tot, Hippo, Bunny, Yay-a.

I believe the movie "All Dogs Go to Heaven." I know she's up there waiting on us and gorging herself with baked goods. No amount of time would ever be enough, but her life definitely ended too soon. I'm relieved that she isn't suffering anymore, but that doesn't diminish the pain and sadness of her passing. We love you sweet girl and will miss you every day. You will always be in our hearts.

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