Saying Goodbye to Abner

WARNING: I WILL TALK ABOUT THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO ABNER’S PASSING. THERE ARE NO GRAPHIC IMAGES BUT THE STORY IS DISTRESSING. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Even though I broke the news of Abner’s passing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – I never actually sat down and talked about it on the blog. I’ve had several posts already scheduled (getting ready for The God Queen’s release) since he passed, but now that I have this tiny window. I thought I would use it to answer a few questions about the pug as well as what does that mean for the future of Adventures of La Mari…

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First – I’m doing fine. I am long passed the stage of spontaneously bursting into tears at the mere mention of his name, but there’s still a little pug-shaped hole. It will always be there and that’s normal. Putting him to sleep was the best decision for him. I do not regret it for even a moment. Seeing him suffer the way he did at the end was worse than putting him to sleep. But we still miss him. He was the best boi.

Second – What does that mean for Abner’s stuff on the blog? Nothing. It stays. That dog lived a very full life and everyone is welcome to his adventures.

Third – Will we get another dog? Yes. When? The plan is after our trips this year so that we’re home long enough to dedicate our time to puppy training.

Fourth –  What the hell happened? Back in April 2018, we noticed Abner wasn’t feeling too well. He was always energetic for his walkies but lately he didn’t even want to get out of bed. His farts were also beyond nasty….like weapons of mass destruction nasty. I took him to the vet and they found that he had a stomach infection. Poor little guy. The vet also thought it would be a good idea to take care of his yearly check up and take a blood sample. We discovered serendipitously that Abner had the beginnings of a degenerative kidney disease. They had just caught the beginnings of it, but they knew there would be no cure – just ways to prolong the inevitable. They recommended that Abner go through a round of infusion therapy (sort of like doggie dialysis but not) as well as changing his diet so that his kidneys weren’t forced to work harder than they needed to. Abner responded very VERY well to both. It was like he was a puppy again.

Fast forward a year.

April 7th, 2019 – Abner had problems with his balance. He kept falling over, even going to the bathroom distressing – he had a hard time not falling over to take a dump. I grew very worried so I took him to an emergency clinic in Dinkelsbühl where they assumed he had an ear infection, but that also his teeth weren’t looking too good. Fortunately, I already had a vet appointment for the next day so we could do some more tests.

April 8th, 2019 – took him to the vet where they took another blood sample (I wanted to see how his kidneys were doing anyway)

April 9th, 2019 – got a call from the vet saying that Abner’s kidney’s were really bad. Honestly, this vet was a grade-A cunt. She recommended that Abner possibly go through an ultrasound and infusion therapy. I informed her that we had done it before, which apparently set her off because she started yelling at me about not understanding the severity of the situation. I never got a chance to tell her he had those done when he was first diagnosed, since she was too busy trying to convince me what terrible mother I was to Abner. Also, she told me there was nothing she could do and that if I wanted to proceed further with Abner I needed to go to a clinic. I was fine with that. I will never take an animal to that bitch again.

April 10th, 2019 – I called in sick and stayed home with Abner. He seemed rather restless and gagged a lot. I called the clinic in Dinkelsbühl and I had an appointment for the next day. I also called Bitch vet to forward his kidney test results as well as his original test results from last year when we were still living in Überlingen.

April 11th, 2019 – Sat with the vet at the clinic in Dinkelsbühl who sat me down and kindly and carefully explained everything. Abner was very sick. The gagging I described was due to his kidneys shutting down. They were unable to filter out the toxins in his blood so they were getting pushed back into his stomach, making him gag. Turned out his ear infection and teeth infection were also the direct result of kidney failure. Apparently once they go, everything else literally falls apart. They recommended doing the infusion therapy as regularly as possible (as often as every day, provided that it succeeded in making him feel comfortable). I sat with him that afternoon while he went through his first round. With luck he had anywhere between one week to month.

I had twenty-four hours.

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The day we discovered Abner wasn’t doing well…

The infusion helped for the first two hours – he was giving high fives again as well as kisses. But after that, he didn’t look too great. Abner didn’t get much sleep that night (neither did we). He couldn’t lay down, he could barely go to the bathroom. He didn’t want to eat or drink or even look at us.

April 12th, 2019 – T tried to work from home to keep Abner company but couldn’t focus. I worked a half day and we both sat with Abner but with each passing minute we knew we would be lucky if he survived another night. I had already made an appointment that day for another infusion, but I called and told them we needed to come in for a different reason and as soon as possible. They got us in an hour earlier and at around 3:30pm we took Abner in and put him to sleep. It was the first time throughout this entire ordeal that he looked like his old self – peaceful.

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The last photo I took of Abner before we took him to the vet.

They say that when a pet is ready to die, they have their ways of telling you. To let you know it’s okay to let them go. I didn’t believe it until I went through it with Abner. He was done. He was miserable. We knew that keeping him around any longer would have been only for us and not for him and it would’ve been wrong. Even though saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, sitting with him those few hours while we waited for the vet was so much worse.

You don’t realize how short their lives are compared to ours until you go through something like this. I have spent at least 2/3rds of my life without Abner and yet the 1/3rd I did spend with him was so full. It’s one of the main reasons we are getting another dog. The apartment is so empty without the loud snores of a sleeping pug. I usually took Abner on walks after work and it’s weird coming home to nothing except a couch no longer covered with Abner’s fur.

Of course, I have had to deal with people who didn’t understand that losing a pet was in some ways like losing a kid. Of course it’s still comparing apples to oranges but grief is grief is grief. Losing a human child is different to losing a pet which is different to losing a parent which is different to losing a distant relative who you were very close with. You see where I’m going? Everyone experiences grief differently and that experience should be respected. That dog was my life – I had him right out of college and he was by my side through my first car, first apartment, first job, our move to Chicago, our move to Germany, even at my wedding. That relationship should not be dismissed because he was born a dog and not human.

Anway, I don’t want to dwell too long on this soap box. You’ll either agree with me on this topic or you won’t. I know it’s hard to try and wrap your head around something you’ve never experienced. But it’s still weird to think that Abner is gone permanently. I’m very grateful to be working on The God Queen’s release because I need something to keep me busy – idle thoughts are dangerous.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I am glad I am able to tell you what happened and hopefully you will still enjoy his adventures. I sure do!

Tell me what were favorite adventures below!

Abner Venice2

 

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8 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to Abner

  1. I cried! Losing a pet is like losing a child! I cried every time I have had to put a pet to sleep (and there have been a few). It is never easy and it hurts for a very long time and leaves a hole that is never filled. A new puppy will bring new joys and love, but will never replace your first baby! I do feel the pain you have gone through and will continue to feel! Love you!

    1. Love you, too! It’s been very cathartic writing about him. You can never replace these darling souls but at least I know I gave him the best life I could. As for a new puppy…..you’ll have to wait and see *wink wink*

  2. Hi, I am a vet and I’m so sorry that you had a bad experience with that vet…I think it’s difficult sometimes for vets to accept that more diagnostics and procedures aren’t the answer, they just prolong suffering. Fortunately there does seem to be an growing realisation that it’s not all about “what can we do next?” and more about taking a holistic look at the pet. And I am so deeply sorry that Abner has passed – he was such a big part of your life, it’s fantastic that you have this blog as a memorial to him

    1. Thank you. I was really not a fan of her bedside manner. But all other vets have been kind and patient and loving during this time.

      I am also so glad that I documented his adventures. It reminds me what a full life he lived and the standard in which the lifestyle of our next dog will have to be.

  3. Heart breaking story – my condolences! We have a puggle, she’s 13 and last year was diagnosed with diabetes. She lost 10 lbs in about 2 weeks and cataracts followed quickly. Pepper went on 2 shots of insulin twice a day and a home cooked food which she didn’t have any problem with either. We took her to the ophthalmologist to see if she was a good candidate for cataract surgery, she was, thankfully. Not long after that was fixed she tears an ACL in her back leg, another surgery! She’s doing really well a year on, sees better than before and is able to walk and hop and run like she used to. She is slowing down some and we know it’s a matter of time at her age. We’re giving her all the cuddles we can even if she doesn’t want them, it’s more for us. I hear ya about when to get another dog, it’s going to happen but when you’re ready.

    1. It’s lovely to hear that you are doing all you can for your fur baby. I had hoped to have a few more years with Abner. Thirteen is a good age and I wish you as much time as possible for more cuddles!

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