It’s a sad day for us. I usually report our family news to you, and have told you about our dogs. Chiquita is the senior citizen in the group, and belongs to one of my daughters (Chiquita’s photo is in the section about dogs). She is an adorable black teacup Chihuahua, and has been in great shape at 16 years of age. Chihuahuas are usually very long lived, so we’ve been hoping, and believing she had some good years left in her. Some even live to be 20, much longer than a lot of other breeds. She was fine until two weeks ago, when she suddenly went blind from cataracts, and was scheduled for cataract surgery this week. She was checked out, and in such good health, they felt the surgery was not risky, even at her age. The day before the surgery, she began acting strangely, loss of appetite, losing her balance and seemed a little confused. The next day we took her to the vet, and she went steadily downhill all day (and of course, we cancelled the eye surgery, until she was back to seeming normal again). In 36 hours, she made a shocking decline from healthy dog to very sick one, as her condition worsened, and her kidneys became a problem. All her systems began shutting down the day after we took her to the hospital. We did everything we could to reverse it, but she just continued to get worse. She wasn’t suffering, and was peaceful, but she appeared to be fading away. And the day after we took her to the hospital, despite everything they did, she died peacefully, at 16. (She may have had a stroke, or even an undetected brain tumor, which would explain such a rapid decline. We just don’t know. And we didn’t want to put her through the rigors of an MRI or CT scan under anesthesia when she was suddenly in such bad shape) It has been a shock for all of us, since she was so healthy before. We weren’t prepared to lose Chiquita, she seemed like she would go on forever, and enjoyed her life to the fullest, until her last two days. Even blind from the cataracts, she was trotting up and down the hall, and seemed happy. None of us were prepared for this loss, most especially my daughter who loved her so much. We all did, and are so sad to lose her. As one friend said, her batteries just ran out. It was her time, and I was very grateful that she died on her own, in her sleep.
For those of you who have pets, you know how hard it is. Our pets become precious little beings to us, almost as important as people. And 16 years is a very long time, she was the last of my children’s childhood dogs. The others have second generation dogs now. But Chiquita was part of our family history, and a big part of my children’s lives, and even mine. She will be so greatly missed. She had a spunky little personality, and occasionally wasn’t afraid to bark loudly at big dogs. She was a noble little dog.
One of my concerns when she got sick two days ago was that the pet hospital might not fight as hard to save her, as they might for a younger dog. But I was relieved to find that they did all they could. But that is always a concern with a very old pet, as it is for very old people. Sometimes you have to fight harder to get people to work at saving them (both people and dogs) if they’re very old. She got the best possible care, but it’s something to keep in mind if you have a very old pet. I was truly hoping we could turn the situation around once she got sick. It was my hope til the end, to give her another year or two in good health, despite her age. And she was staying with me when she got sick. We fought valiantly for her right to an even longer life, and so did the vets. The other thing that startled me was how quick people were to say “oh just put her to sleep”. We didn’t want to do that, there was no reason to, she wasn’t suffering, she might have improved and survived, and deserved that chance. I even insisted that they resuscitate her if she had a cardiac incident, or something similar while she was there. And I was relieved that she passed away on her own, quietly, and in peace, and under her own steam, in God’s time, and her own.
She will be so much missed. Miss Chiquita was a wonderful little dog, and we were so lucky to have her for 16 years. She had a long happy life, and a very short illness, so she didn’t suffer and decline. Losing someone you love is always hard, even if it’s a dog. For those of you who have lost pets, you know. And one thing is for sure, Chiquita was so very, very much loved by us all. We are all deeply sad today from this loss.