The echoing silence assured me
That you really were no longer here
-From “Tears in My Coffee” by Rich Voisine
Hello and welcome to the June edition of The Ultimate Coffee Date with Coco from Running With Perseverance and Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner, where we dish over coffee (or tea, if that is your preference) about all things running (and some non-running topics too).
If we were having coffee today, you might see me crying into my cup. I would have to tell you the sad news that my dog Benji died this week.
I haven’t been feeling too bloggy lately. If I took a long time to respond to your comment or if I haven’t been reading too many posts lately, I apologize.
The last few weeks have been difficult.
Benj had gradually been getting weaker. I attributed it to him getting older. Two Saturdays ago, he finally got to the point where we had to take him to the vet.
After examining him for two hours, the vet finally realized he was extremely anemic, and needed an immediate blood transfusion if we wanted him to live, which, of course, we did. He suspected kidney disease.
The nearest animal hospital with blood transfusion capabilities is an hour away, so we put Benji in the back of the car and frantically rushed him there.
After five hours, which included an ultrasound, a blood transfusion, lots of medication, and some very hard decisions on our part, the emergency room vet told us he would have to be admitted overnight at a cost of thousands of dollars. The kidney disease was confirmed.
We told her to do it. He actually stayed two nights.
That Monday morning, a veterinarian who specialized in critical care called to tell us there was nothing more they could do for Benji and recommended euthanasia.
I said, “No, we are going to bring him home.”
We arrived at the hospital to find a dog who couldn’t walk or eat, in fact, he could barely hold his head up.
We were sent home with eight different medications to administer at various times throughout the day. I made a chart to keep track of his medication schedule.
When we got home, I tempted Benji to eat with one of his favorite treats – peanut butter on bread – and he seemed to perk up slightly.
He ate sporadically for the next two days, then on Wednesday, a miracle! As I was taking a shower, Benji appeared outside the shower door. He was walking on his own! Shortly after that, he wolfed down 4 slices of turkey breast.
I was sure a fantastic recovery was underway. Benji walked outside on his own power and ate hot dogs and shredded wheat biscuits.
Sadly, the miracle was short-lived. He declined daily after that and the following Monday, we took him to our local vet for the last time and said goodbye as he took his last breath.
Benji was not originally our dog. He first belonged to our youngest son. I fell in love with him, however, the very first time I saw him.
He was a squirrelly nine-month-old puppy our son rescued from the shelter, a cross between a border collie and a basenji, smart, expressive, and stubborn.
When my son and his wife went to the hospital to have their first baby, we enthusiastically volunteered to keep the dog for them.
That baby turned nine last week and Benji still lived with us.
I was secretly happy to keep him and worried at first they would ask to have him back.
He became my running partner for a while, but he was a much better walking partner than running partner. He liked to zig-zag across the trail and stop to smell everything. His favorite activity was wading in the creek beside the bike path when it was hot, where he would flop down on his belly, allow the water to rush over him, and look up at me as if to say, “Ahhh. This is the life!”
He followed me everywhere. Just like when my boys were toddlers, if I wanted to pee in privacy, I had to shut the bathroom door.
He will be missed terribly.
I will be back soon with more running hijinks and thoughts about life. Right now, I am remembering a special dog who stole my heart.
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