Friday, 16 August 2019

Goodbye Milly

I don't even know how to start this blog post, except to say that it's hard to understand why life can throw so much at you.  Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our beautiful dog Milly.  It's hard to believe it, even as I write about it.  

I've never been a dog person, even though my family had dogs when I was growing up.  Aaron always wanted a dog, but we just had too much to deal with when Noah was alive, so we never really seriously talked about getting one.

When Aaron passed away, the boys really started putting the pressure on me to get one, and I knew that it would help all of us with out grief, so I surprised them with Milly about 18 months after Aaron died. I will never forget that day, and the joy on the boy's faces when they realised that we were getting a puppy.  I love watching the video of their shock and excitement.   Harri especially, was over the moon.   She was so tiny and cute when we got her.
There's no doubt that she helped us through our darkest and hardest years.  We were still grieving, but she brought some joy back into our home and hearts.   This was our first night with her.  Alison helped me pull off the awesome surprise.

I'm still not a log lover, but I was definitely a Milly lover.  She really became one of the family,  It was so nice to have the boys smiling again.








Having Milly meant that the boys didn't come home to an empty home after school.  It also meant that it didn't matter what kind of day you had, she'd still want to be around you and knew when you needed some extra love.

We all had our own special relationship with her.  Every morning she would sit on the end of Kobe's bed until he woke up. 
Harri was the one who would take her for walks and would play with her the most. 
Milly loved hanging out with Jay in his room at night. 
Milly followed me everywhere I went. If I went to the loo she would push her way in.  If I was in the bath, she would sit outside the door waiting for me to come out.  If I got up from the couch, she would follow me.  She was my walking buddy when no one else would want to walk, and she was the one who would give me cuddles whenever I needed them. 
Milly recently had a fun six weeks hanging out with my Mum's dog Josie, while my Mum went on a holiday to the USA.  They loved being together and the house was a little bit crazy with two dogs running around, wrestling, fighting over food and treats and playing all day.  
While Josie was with us Milly seemed fine, except Kobe told me that one day after school she was shaking a lot.  When I got home she was totally fine - running around as usual, so I just assumed that she had been shivering and maybe wasn't feeling well. 

When Josie left, Milly all of a sudden seemed very quiet and down.  I even googled if dogs could get depression as she stopped jumping up when we would get home and stopped wanting to eat and drink very much.  I could get her to eat barbecue chicken which was her favourite, but nothing else.  When I took her for a walk, she would walk very slowly and it was like she didn't want to go.  She stopped sitting under the table when we were eating dinner, and stopped wanting to hang out and didn't follow me around the house as much.  

Some days she was better than others, and she would meet me at the door when I got home, and other days she would just sit there looking at me.  I was getting really worried as it just seemed like it was more than her feeling down about Josie going, but it just all happened as soon as Josie left. 

I took her to the vet, and they said she had a sore back (maybe from all the playing with Josie) and also a very red throat.  She was put on antibiotics and an anti inflammatory and the next day she seemed a little more like the old Milly. It only lasted a day and then she went down hill again, and didn't want to eat her favourite treats or chicken. 

One night when I got home from work I called her, to see how she was, as I had been getting worried.  She came to me and wagged her tail, but was walking really funny and then started falling to the side as she was walking.  I coaxed her outside to go outside to the toilet and then when she was walking back up the stairs, she kept falling into the wall.  It freaked me out and when I rang the vet, they said to bring her up straight away. 

She didn't want to walk to the car and I had to carry her into the vet. She could stand and walk, but just couldn't seem to coordinate things properly.  The vet checked her over and said she wasn't responding very well, when she shined the torch in her eyes.  She was really spaced out and like she was there, but not completely. The vet said it could be something like Addison's disease and wanted to keep her in the animal hospital overnight and run blood tests. The blood tests came back mostly okay - nothing to worry about.  They then said they would keep her on a drip overnight to see if she could improve once she was re hydrated. 

They rang the next morning and said there wasn't much improvement, and they were thinking she may have meningitis and would start treating her for that.  We tried to go and visit her the following evening but unfortunately they were too busy in the hospital for us to go and see her.  Jalen had come home from Uni that afternoon to spend the weekend at home, so I'm glad he was with us.  They said she was walking a little better, but she was still very spaced out and there wasn't much improvement yet. They told me I would get a call about 9 am the next morning, but the vet rang at 7.30 am and told me she had taken a turn for the worse. 

When the nurse came in at 4.30 am she was having constant seizures. They gave her meds which controlled the seizures, but once the meds wore off they came back. He told me that they thought she had a brain tumour, as she wasn't responding to the other treatment and it would explain why one side of her body wasn't working well.  He told me they would continue the treatment they were giving her, but I needed to be prepared to probably have to say goodbye to her that day.  Looking back now, I wonder whether she had seizure when Kobe was home with her.  

I went into see her and she was being so well looked after, but looked terrible. Her temp was really high so they were cooling her down with wet towels and a fan. She was lying on her side and was seizing the whole time.  Her eyes were open, but she really wasn't there.  It was awful to see and I knew straight away that we couldn't let her go on like that.  I was a sobbing mess in the waiting room, and couldn't believe that I was crying in public over a dog, but also knew that everyone there totally got it.  I don't think I ever cried like that in public after Aaron and Noah died.  It just broke my heart that she had brought us so much joy, and now we were going through so much pain again. 

I came home and picked up the boys, and we all went up together to say goodbye.  A lady who was there with her dog, had seen me crying and could see all the boys were crying too. She came over and rubbed me on my arm and said she didn't know what was happening, but she was sorry.  It was really lovely of her. 
I knew it was important for the boys to see her so sick, as they would then know that we had made the right decision as there was nothing else we could do for her.  We were all sobbing and just really couldn't believe what was happening.  The nurses and vets were so kind.  They let us spend as much time as we wanted with her beforehand, but it was horrible as she was seizing the whole time, so we knew we didn't want to drag it out. 

We were grateful that once the vet gave her the medication, that she drifted off very quickly and peacefully. It was nice to be able to spend some time with her afterwards as she wasn't seizing any longer.  
We are all devastated and really can't believe it's happened.  Three weeks ago she was totally 'fine' and now she's gone. I wonder whether having Josie here kept her going for longer than she would've otherwise. We all keep saying how sad we feel for Josie as she won't have her playmate anymore.

Last night we all went between sobbing, being okay for a while and then sobbing again. The house feels so sad and empty without her.  I don't know if I could go through all this again. I got her to cheer all of us up, and we thought we would have her for 12 years or more, but now we are grieving all over again.  Maybe one day I'll think about getting a dog again, and the boys are all saying they want to, but for now I just can't even think about it.

Thank you for making our lives brighter Milza.  I hope that Aaron and Noah are up there playing fetch with you.  We will never forget you and the joy you brought us.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Holidays

I'm always ready for school holidays after ten busy weeks at school, but at the same time I find holidays can be quite hard.  When I'm not busy or in a routine, it can be really easy to feel down and overwhelmed with grief again.  When I'm at work I'm busy all day, interacting with other adults and I feel like I have something positive to focus on.   Working has really saved me mentally the last few years, as I feel like I'm making a positive contribution, somewhere other than in my own home.  

I do enjoy school holidays and look forward to them and I also know how lucky I am to have school holidays to spend with my boys.  I enjoy sleeping in, not having to make school lunches, catching up on Netflix, and getting around to doing things in the house that I never find time to do when I'm working full time.  But the days can also be long if I don't have anything planned, or if I don't see anyone other than the boys.  Holidays can also be really lonely if I don't get out and about.  If Aaron was here at least I would have another adult around to talk to, and someone to share the load with the boys.  

Just before holidays we had a beautiful time catching up with our friends Gary and Lisa. They moved to the mainland a few years ago, and I miss them a lot.   It was like they've never been gone. 
Eden is only four months older than Kobe, but she's a giant.  Kobe wasn't keen on getting a photo together.  He hated that we teased him all weekend about how they used to be besties, and Eden used to buy him Barbie dolls for presents, and he would get so excited about it!

Over the holidays I caught up with different friends, and we had some lovely lunches together.


We have been busy having Mum's dog Josie staying with us, and Milly is loving having a friend to play with. 


It was so nice to have Jay home from Uni for 6 weeks, including the two weeks of school holidays.  He's really enjoyed Uni and has done well with the study.   We are now used to him being away, but it's always nice when the four of us are back together again.


Jay and Erin have been spending lots of time together, during the semester break.  Josie is obviously feeling very much at home!

Last week we headed to the snow.  We were so lucky and found a great spot just on the side of the road. I get too scared to drive too far into the snow, especially as our car isn't a 4WD.

There were tears!
 How lucky am I!
 We had such a fun day together.
For the rest of the holidays I spent a couple of days painting some of our ceilings (where's Aaron when I need him!?) and in between I would make sure we got out and had some fun.  I was excited to use a gift voucher that I got from a friend from work, for the Star Theatre. It was our first time there, and Kobe and I loved it.

We tried to get in lots of walks with Tim and Helene when we could.  Their daughter Ava loves walking Milly.

Kobe loved taking part of the Southern Huskies basketball clinic.  It was fun for him to participate with the players.  They played a game against them at the end, and it was hilarious seeing them against these huge guys. 
We have another Maccas worker in the family.  Harri started his training shifts over the holidays and is really enjoying it so far. 

Kobe said the second best day of the holidays was going to the snow, and the best day was when he won a competition on the radio.  They gave out clues in the morning and you had to work out where the place was, and then find the 'Optus yes woman'.  If you were the first one to find them, you won $100 cash.  For three days we tried to win it, and were lucky on the third day to be the first one to the woman. 
 
I actually figured out the clues, and found the woman but because Kobe was the one who really wanted to do it, I let him have the money, after he shouted us Maccas for tea, so we could see Harri on his first shift on counter :)  We celebrated by getting sushi (Kobe's favourite) before we went to pick up the cash from the radio station. 
I'm not looking forward to the early mornings and rush out the door every day, but I'm actually looking forward to getting back into a routine.  I cope a lot better emotionally when I'm busy and it's hard to keep really busy over the winter holidays.  Hopefully term 3 will go just as fast as the last one, because the weather will be a lot nicer next holidays and before we know it summer will be here.
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