September 9, 2014
A couple weeks ago my sister e-mailed me and asked if it would work for Nyla, their dog, to stay with me for a week as they went on a vacation. I gladly agreed as Nyla is fun to have around and I knew Xerx would enjoy.
After a family reunion Sunday, my sister brought Nyla over and put her in my car along with her bag of dog things and packet of medicines. Nyla had been diagnosed with heart and lung problems just that week, but the medicines seemed to be working …and causing Nyla to have many “accidents”.
I had left Xerx at home as I wasn’t sure about a long car ride with both of them. I also wasn’t sure about leaving Xerx alone with the house for a whole day. When I got home I first checked things out to see what Xerx had gotten into. There was a box of plastic wrap, a soup spoon, and a fork in the entry hall. I wondered what was up. Xerx was also limping. After a number of trips through the house, I concluded the silverware came out of the open dishwasher and the wrap out of the open drawer. The limp? I have no idea (but it seemed to be fine the next day).
Having checked out the house, I went and got Nyla. Together, Xerx and her, upon my asking, “Outside?” ran and danced in circles and stood on their hind feet. While Nyla had bathroom problems, she seemed as she always did.
Now going to bed was interesting as Xerx waits for me to come to bed and I give him a head rub. Nyla sleeps in bed, but Xerx was not going to give up his time for Nyla. Had all I could do to keep them both feeling like they were THE special one.
In the morning, when I went in the bedroom after being up awhile, they were both laying where I slept. When I asked, “Outside?”, Xerx jumped off the bed and Nyla started running around on it – she won’t jump down that far. I lifted her down and off the two of them raced for the stairs. After doing their morning things outside they came in and ate each other’s dog food. Then it was back upstairs for a hard day of laying around.
In the afternoon Nyla started coughing and breathing hard. I called my sister which began an almost hourly update and what-to-try-now discussions. At times Nyla seemed to be better, but looking back, it was pretty much all downhill. About 1AM Xerx and I made our beds on the floor next to Nyla. At this point, I had a fan going (per my sister’s request), had wrapped Nyla in soft sweat pants to keep her warm, and had brought her up onto the sofa cushion I was using as a bed. The phone was within reach to keep my sister updated. Xerx was always within sight of Nyla.
I must have fallen asleep because I woke up about 2 AM with Nyla coughing in my face. I decided she was maybe saying she needed to go outside. I carried her out. Xerx watched from the window. She did have to go. I carried her back in and took the above photo. I was glad I did. It’s the last photo.
While I was downloading the photo, I heard a dog walking. I assumed it was Xerx. I turned and it was Nyla, She could hardly walk. The sweatpants still around her. She was trying to get to me. I went and got her and grabbed a pillow. I put the pillow and sweatpants on my lap and put Nyla on top. With one hand gently petting, the other I called my sister. I updated her. Nyla’s breathing was getting really hard. My sister could hear it. She said Nyla has to be suffering. She didn’t want her to suffer. I could hear the tears. She said she was going to call the vet. We hung up.
As soon as we hung up, Nyla laid her head down for the last time. She was giving up. I kept petting her. At one point I told God to take her so she would suffer no more. And He did.
After a bit, I made the dreaded call. I simply said, “The suffering’s over.”
Eventually, my sister asked if I had a shoe box.
I said I would.
Later I got an email from my sister. It was clear Nyla’s death was hard for both of them. I post part of the letter here as a tribute to Nyla:
I know she was just a dog but she gave you her whole heart as dogs do. She loved like God unconditional which is why you love them back and why they leave such a hole when they are gone. Nyla did not give us much time to adjust. Chip more time. Both so hard. I just wish I could have been there to hold her. But maybe it would have been too hard and Wayne is so sad. So God gave Nyla you to pet her home.
It will be so hard to go home to no little white ball jumping to greet me, snuggling up with me, curling beside me in bed, following me wherever I went. Nolan asked me the other day why Nyla liked me so much. I told him it was because I took care of her, I was her mother.
When Chip died I walked the house till morning. Anxious for the light. I feel the same way now. Somehow the darkness makes it lonely.
Tell my little girlie I love her (tried not to cuz I did not want this hurt. But she worked her wAy into my heart when I was not looking).
I will miss you, thanks for all your love Nyla girl. You were one special little girl
it’s time to find a place. I’m going to look for one that will work for Xerx also. He’s 10 years old.
This started as a tale of two dogs – an odyssey. It still is.