..and just like that, she was gone

Monday morning, April 15th was a regular start to our day.  This day was special and not because its Tax Day, but its my Dad’s birthday.  We had celebrated with him the night before, but he was on my mind for most of the day.  We got the kids breakfast together as we do every morning before work and dropping them off at school.  We opened the back door for Mackie in our usual routine and wait for her 1 and only bark to notify us that its time to open the door and let her back in.  Mackie intently watches over the kids while they eat breakfast in hopes that she will get a small taste each day.

We rush through the house looking for socks, shoes and making sure the girls have their hair done and Ryan has his hair in the Mohawk that he’s been training his hair to do each day.  We start the cars and start shoveling the kids through the front door as we grab last minute bags, jackets and just before we lock the door, I always said, “Bye Mackie!  I love you and we’ll be RIGHT BACK!”

I am pretty sure that she understood what I was saying because this was my millionth time saying it in the 11 years I have had her.  The picture below was the last picture I have of her and I together.  It was taken on April 12th in our backyard.
A few months ago, we started to notice that Mackie would have these episodes where she would freeze up and collapse.  She would look like she was coherent and we could rub her legs and body and encourage her to stand back up and keep on going.  This happened once on our way home from getting groomed and she collapsed in the middle of the road.  People came running to see if she was okay.  She would get up and act like nothing happened.  I was confused but she seemed “okay”.

These episodes were concerning me and it appeared that she was actually having seizures based on the symptoms and how it would be very brief.  The only thing is that if they aren’t happening for a period of 5 minutes or longer or happening very frequent, then your vet can only run tests and speculate on what could possibly be wrong to cause them.  I had every intention to take her to the vet to get checked but like I said- she seemed okay.

One morning on a weekend, we let her back in from outside and as she walked in, she began to collapse.  Her back legs fell first into her typical frog legged position but the front of her body fell sideways.  All we could do was help arrange her legs and speak calmly to her until she was able to stand up again.  This time, she wet herself and I knew she had just had a seizure.   Mackie was an otherwise very healthy dog aside from her thyroid which we gave her medication for everyday.

Monday evening, as our normal routine was rolling along as it does…. I pulled up to the house with the kids in the car.  Its quite the production to get everyone out, grab papers, jackets, and bags out.  We pulled the 2 trash bins to the side of the house and checked the mail and made our way to the front door.   As I unlocked the door, the kids usually rush in to shout out what they want on tv and for dinner. 

This time was different.  Mackie was laying in front of the door so that we could not push it open to walk through without squeezing by to get in.  If she was just sleeping, she would have jumped up but this time she didn’t.  I had Rayne in my arms and Reese and Ryan were near her face saying her name and asking her to wake up!

Mackie was warm to touch and I kept trying to watch her tummy to see if she was breathing because it was so hard to come to the conclusions that were already a fear in my mind.  I laid my hand on her side, and also found myself calling her name out and shaking her ears I always do.  Ryan asked me if she was dead.  He speaks bluntly which stings but I realize he doesn’t quite grasp death the way you do over time with the same emotions as an adult.  I didn’t want to answer because I still had hope. 

Erik wasn’t home at the time because we took separate cars to work that day and he was about 10 minutes behind us at the grocery store.  I called him to rush home and that I suspected Mackie was gone.

I felt awful having to pretend she was just sleeping as I tried to get the kids under control and get their dinner ready so that I could go back and check on her.  I was in shock and called a friend who also had a sick pup to ask what I needed to do and who I should call.  She gave me a number for a vet that comes to pick up your pet and handle the aftermath of your choosing.

As I glanced back to Mackie as I waited for Erik to come home, I noticed that she was laying with her back legs in a frog position and her front body was sideways—just as she was in the last seizure over the past weekend.  I can only come up with a theory that she came to the door to greet us as she always does and in the amount of time it took to get the kids out of the car, and move the trash bins to the side of the house and check the mail, our sweet Mackie was having her last seizure.  This is the only thing that would explain why she was still warm to touch when we came in because when the vet showed up about an hour later to whisk her away, she had felt much cooler. 

We said our goodbyes and made the decision about what we would have written on the plaque on top of her remains which were quaintly boxed up in a small cedar chest.  I have relief that I did not have to make the decision to put her down but my sadness over loosing my friend of 11 years will always be there.  Everyday since we lost her, I have noticed the absence and feel strange leaving each day without saying my daily, “Bye Mackie!  I love you and we’ll be RIGHT BACK!”  I know she is with other puppies in heaven and has no more pain.  I just hope she knows how much she was loved. 

pour your heart out

March 1st 2002, “Thunder’s First White Cloud” was born <—that is her AKC name.  Mackie was chosen as her common name after the perfume that I wear.  She was the most relaxed dog in the group and had 2 nylon bands around her neck to tell her apart from the rest.  Mackie 1Mackie2Ryan and Mackiereese and mackie
I wish I had a compilation of all the pictures of Rayne with Mackie but I wasn’t prepared… she was amazing with each of our children.  She was family.  She was commonly referred to as ‘Mae Mae’ with the kiddos, especially with Rayne who is talking more and more. 
Always & Forever, we love you Mackie Mae.

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jaime said...

I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Mackie was a such a beautiful dog! We had to put our family dog down in 2010 and it was such a difficult decision.

Krystal said...

I've never had the luck to have a companion for such a long time like this. Sorry for all that you are going through . Much love and hugs

Talisha Reupena said...

It is so hard losing your fur baby! They are so much a part of your family. I'm am so sorry for your loss. She is such a beautiful dog!

Hillary said...

sweet girl! This broke my heart in a million pieces to read. Our pom has seizures like that and it really scares me. I am so very sorry for your loss - what a beautiful girl, and I'm so glad you got so long with her. Sending love!

Jenna said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. She seems like she was an amazing part of your family. Big virtual hugs

Hannah Brooker said...

Aw i'm so sorry :( This teared me up good and proper what a beautiful dog and wonderful friend. Faithful until the end :) Rest in peace Mackie!! xxx

Toni :O) said...

Goodness you are the second one this weekend I know who has lost their dog. So sad for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as I know this pain and it is so difficult. Hoping your wonderful memories help to ease your grief and give you comfort.

Sarah Shumate said...

BIG virtual hug. I know it must have been so hard for you to write this. Poor Mackie. She loved you guys so much, but I'm 100% positive she knew how much ya'll loved her, too. The picture tributes are perfect. I hope each day gets just a little bit easier.

Stacie said...

So sad, so glad that you have those pics and the memories, though. She seems like she was such a sweetie.

Mrs. Match said...

This post made me cry. What a beautiful tribute to sweet Mackie. I love all the pictures of her as a puppy, but the ones of her with your babies melts my heart. I know Monkey's time is just around the corner, and I'm definitely not prepared. I am glad you didn't have to make that tough decision either. Sometimes our friends make it so easy for us, and I'm glad she didn't suffer. Bye bye sweet Mackie Mae!

Nicole said...

I'm so sorry. This brought tears to my eyes.