I’m trying not to drag out Sasha-related updates forever and a day since it’s got to be a bummer to read, but there do seem to be a few more things I want to say about her. These are kind of disjointed and roughly in order of how likely they are to make me cry. I figure if I start with the less likely, I might actually make it through to the end.
First, the costs. I did a round up of the costs up to the point of her diagnosis earlier, and now, through the magic of having all my transactions in Mint, I have a complete summary of every thing I spent on Sasha, except money I spent at the grocery store on things like chicken and steaks and carpet cleaner. That was probably only about $150 though so minimal in terms of skewing things.
Sasha was only with me for 86 days, so that came out to the rather horrifying sum of about $113 per day. Definitely not what I had budgeted for getting a doggie.
People keep asking me how I feel, and the answer to that is, I don’t really know. So many emotions, really.
I’m sad, obviously. Sad that I never managed to figure out how to keep her in the damned pen. Sad that she didn’t get to eat the large bag of liver treats. Sad that she was so beautiful and quiet and she had such a hard life. Sad that she was obviously such a determined fighter — her blood levels were so low that she really shouldn’t have been able to live for basically the last month — but she couldn’t win.
I also feel guilty that I wasn’t able to save her — I know it’s not my fault, but what you know and what you feel aren’t always the same thing.
And I feel a little relieved, because even before she was sick, we were having trouble adjusting to life together, and after she got sick, it just got worse. Plus, the financial aspects of her illness have basically eaten away all of my cash savings, so it was a huge stress. (I’m not broke broke, this isn’t a plea for a fundraiser.)
And, of course, I feel mightily guilty about any feelings of relief that I have. But then I sort of beat myself up over feeling guilty, since obviously I did what was reasonable and good — and that doesn’t make me feel better about myself, it just makes me feel bad in a different way.
And I have happy memories of her, too, of course, though not nearly enough of them since our adjustment was pretty bumpy. And the happy memories make me happy, but they also make me sad.
So, yeah, kind of a mess.
People also keep asking me if I’m going to get another dog, and I don’t know the answer to that either. Obviously I’m unlikely to get another dog with horrible unexpected medical problems, but the fact is, if I did get another dog right now, and they had even not-particularly-horrible unexpected medical needs, I wouldn’t be able to pay for them. And I firmly believe that someone who can’t afford vet bills can’t afford pets. So, definitely not until I’ve had some time to save some money.
And it was a tough adjustment, one that never really gelled before Sasha got sick. Maybe it was never going to work out. Maybe I was going to be exhausted, and afraid to leave the house, and bad at dog training and cleaning pee off my floor forever. So I’m a little gunshy, I guess, about bringing another dog in and having to go through that adjustment period again.
I also wanted to write about was the actual process of putting her down. It was a bit of a mystery to me, though Dr. Martin explained what was going to happen quite clearly beforehand, and I thought it might be useful to other people to know that it’s not wildly terrible. This is a your mileage may vary situation since it depends on the reaction of your dog, but for Sasha, they sedated her first and she went to sleep — though, in true Sasha form, she fought against sleep as hard as she fought against being kept in a pen or being removed from the lobby or doing anything else she wasn’t interested in doing at the time. Not that it was a violent struggle, she just kept that little head up off the table as long as she could, and then determinedly held her eyes open.
After she was asleep, Dr. Martin added the drug that would put her to rest, and it was almost instant. She just … stopped. Somehow I expected something more — some visible difference between life and death. But there wasn’t; it was just that she had been alive and she wasn’t anymore, and nothing else was different. She was still warm and beautiful, she was just … not alive. I found that both upsetting and relieving at the same time. (Hardly the only conflicting emotions involved in this process.)
In any case, it was very peaceful. Far nicer than the likely outcome of her being allowed a natural death, which would have been a heart attack or a stroke — probably painful for her and scary for both of us.
I had the option to have her ashes, but I declined. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t let me scatter them in the lobby anyway.