Sunday, October 28, 2007

When a dog gets treated like a human...

...grief prevails over all other emotions when its time on earth has come to an end.

Ate Rosie, our friend who takes care of our daughter, called me this morning minutes before we were about to leave the house and bring Jade to her place. She was sobbing and I knew right away that something is wrong. Miki has been sick for several days now and he has been constantly vomiting and running out breath lately. She asked if I can take a leave of absence from work and she'll just call me back when she gets sober. I didn't have to ask why, I told her it's fine for me and I understand her position. I dressed back to then also thinking what a TGIF it is spent with Jade. At the back of my mind, I was also thankful she called giving me a valid reason not to report to work as I dreaded another day without anything to do but pretending to be busy in my work table.

After an hour, she called back, this time calm and able to tell me clearly what happened. She and her husband, Kuya Jack, were awake almost the whole night tending to Miki as he gasped for breath and could barely stand up from his bed wetting himself with his own urine. Ate had to stay in their living room where his bed was located. She had to call back Kuya, who already reached his workplace an hour drive away from our place, so they could bring Miki to a better hospital in Taipei City.

Miki came to the couple's life 5 years ago in time for them to get over the lose of their son Daniel. They found him along the way and brought him to the vet to report for being lost and found, and at the same time to check if the owner has already made an action to search for him. They found a badge around his neck but the vet advised them not to call instead wait for several days. Number of days passed but nobody seemed to look for him. This then was the signal for the couple to bring him home and call him their own.

Without a child in the family, all their love were poured over Miki. They bought him his own beddings, clothes, bathing stuffs and food. During his younger years, he would even sleep on their bed and like a real baby, he would do gestures to catch their attention or even display actions of jealousy during the couple's sweet moments in the living room. Anybody who says anything against him becomes the enemy. Ate had been into several verbal fights with some of the ill-mannered people in the neighborhood all because of her love over Miki. She really stood by his side all the way.

At the time he was found, the vet estimated him to be 7 years old. That being said, he should be 12 years old now. He had been brought to the hospital last year for getting into a serious medical condition where his life was almost gauged not to reach another year. This really hurt the couple. Miki had ailment in the liver and in his stomach walls. He had to be given a number of medications and vitamins. As he aged, he settled into his own place in the living room as he was no longer able to jump out of the bed to pee. His breath started to give out a foul smell because he regularly salivates. This didn't stop the couple from kissing and hugging him. Few months ago, they brought her to the vet for his regular check-up and to get the vet see his teeth because one of them got simply uprooted by itself. The vet cleaned his set of teeth removing all the tartars that contributed to the foul smell and magically, the unwanted odor was out.

Ate Rosie watching - making sure that Jade's not going to hurt Miki

I am not a pet lover but I tried to understand and accept the treatment they give to him. Ate would even refer to Miki as Jade's kuya (elder brother). My daughter, seeing how she treats him, also started to love him. She would hug or pat him. At first, she would even ride on his back thinking maybe that he is a toy. But through the months of being together in one place, she learned to befriend him. One thing that really surprised me was when she kissed Miki right on his mouth. She accidentally hit him on her way to the bedroom and he stumbled. Ate asked her to say sorry and in response, she hugged Miki and a kiss followed. A gesture I taught her in lieu of verbally apologizing.

Miki and Jade on one hot summer day - oh, is she pulling his left ear?

This week, they were both sick, Jade with a cough and Miki with several complications. Jade vomits because of the phlegm while he vomits because of his stomach ailment. Seeing him vomit would also make her nauseated. At one time, they even took turns in spitting out making Ate map the floor one after the other. Seeing him getting weaker as the days passed by, Ate prayed hard for a longer life for Miki. Some of her elderly friends in the neighborhood started to tease her saying he would pass away soon – she fought back. Noticing Miki's health diminishing, Dennis suggested that they get a new one to give life to Miki but Ate said she didn't like as she still hopes for Miki to stay longer and that she's not ready for a new one yet.

Thursday, a day before he left, Ate, being the mother, felt something different's going to happen. He wouldn't eat anything, not even his favorite cookie or chicken meal, even his medications. He threw up most of the time. They brought her to the nearby vet but of no use. That prompted them to bring him to a better vet hospital in Taipei so he could get injected with an IV to help him restore his health. Ate was crying all the way to the hospital talking to Miki to hang on.

Reaching the hospital, the vet attended to him right away. He was given an IV and was suggested to be brought to the incubator to calm him. He was by the way having a high fever that time. The vet placed him in a bed for a while so the vet could tend to his other patients but after few minutes, he started to gasp. The vet immediately transferred him to one area where he was given some resuscitating aids. Given all the attention, he still was not able to survive his plight. The couple weeped so much that even the vet and other pet owners around were moved. This is their second loss.

They left him in the hospital and asked the vet to have him incinerated and have his ashes be thrown in the sea. They headed home mourning. They weeped even more when they opened their home and saw no one waiting for them on the door. She called me after hours of getting herself to accept the reality that Miki, their pet dog, the one they considered their child has already left them. I really never mourned over the loss of pets but I did at this time. It dawned to me how Ate and Kuya really loved him so much that they really treated him as their own child – not just a pet but as a human. I shared with their grief, so did our other friends.

This is avgrief over a beloved pet like Miki – what more if he's beyond a dog?

To Ate Rosie and Kuya Jack, kudos to you for all the love and care you have showered to your Miki, your child. May you eventually get over his passing. In time, you'll find comfort knowing he has gone to rest and end his battle against life. His spirit is always with you.


lovelyn said...

Sorry to read about Miki! You're right, what more if he is beyond a dog.

Jade will surely miss him too!

jane said...

thanks lovelyn. jade's really looking for her - she keeps on telling "mik-mik" and just yesterday, ate told me that while she was crying, she faced the door as if she felt miki was around.
they settled his bed back to their living room yesterday, ate even served his regular meal, they say it's going to be a practice every thurs and fri, days when he got very sick and eventually passed away.