Doggy Heaven

It is been a tough week for the Musschoot pets.


On Wednesday we learned that Jake was having some pretty severe liver issues.  This caused a very rapid decline in his health and we ultimately made the decision to put him to sleep on Thursday.  Yes, it happened just that fast.


Tom was out of town on Tuesday and we had noticed that over the past few days Jake had stopped eating his regular dog food.  I was giving him bread and milk…along with crackers and a few dog treats.


Tuesday morning I had to forgo a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch with Caroline to take Jake to the vet.  After checking him out and seeing nothing, they drew blood.  The Vet suggested he might have in infection, but that they would know more after the results of the blood test came in on Wednesday morning.  So we went home and waited.


Wednesday morning I got the call from the vet that Jake’s liver levels were off the charts and that indicated a big problem.  We had 2 choices, to see a specialist, have an ultrasound done and determine what was going on or to treat this as an infection and give Jake antibiotics along with some liver enzymes (not sure of the correct technical terms…the phone conversation was a blur…) to help his liver function.


After talking with Tom we decided to go the antibiotic route because if his liver was in failure, there really wasn’t too much that could be done for him.


By Wednesday night Jake could no longer stand up, his body had become so weak so quickly.  We brought his food dish to him and let him lay in the family room.


The Dr. suggested giving him Gatorade as he was no longer eating anything, but he didn’t drink any of it. I knew it was bad, and Tom wasn’t coming home until late on Thursday.


Tom got home Thursday at 4:00, I again called the vet and Tom brought Jake in to the office.  I knew at that point it was the last time I would see Jake.


Tom carried him to the car and I said goodbye.  Carly was the only kids home (and awake) so I decided to let her say goodbye to him too…she sobbed that she wanted to go with Tom to the vet, but we kept her home.


I know it was the toughest thing Tom has had to do, but he was really too sick to do much else for Jake.  We decided to have the vet put him to sleep.


Even harder then having to make that kind of decision on behalf of our dog, was the heartbreak I watched through the words and actions of the kids, Carly in particular.


I am pretty honest and straightforward with my kids (for the most part).  I didn’t sugar coat it for any of the kids, as soon as I found out how sick he really was (Tuesday) I told them.  I was open and honest with them from the start.


Cohen approached it thoughtfully and logically.  He asked why we didn’t just put him to sleep right away when we found out he was sick.  While that sounds mean and insensitive, it was coming from a place of fear.


I know Cohen and I know that he does not like surprises of any kind.  He was so scared that Jake would just pass away at home with no warning.   I know in his heart Cohen wanted to be prepared, and in his own way, he was.  He didn’t talk too much about it and I don’t think I saw him cry.  I knew he was sad.  He asked a few questions, and was concerned that if we had Jake cremated how his soul would go to heaven…I answered for him the best I knew how.


He doesn’t talk about it anymore.


Caroline didn’t really understand.  She understood as best as her 3 years of life would allow her to.  She asked a few times when Jake was coming home and we explained that he wasn’t.  She understands that Jake is with Murphy and Max and we will see him again when we go to heaven.


Carly had the hardest time.  To anyone who knows her this should not be a surprise.  She understood that Jake was sick and that he was not going to get better.  After she begged to go with Tom to the vet, she just sobbed.  She sobbed for hours.  She couldn’t sleep that night.  There wasn’t anything I could have said or done for her that could make her feel better.


My heart broke for her.  It is hard to know pain until you watch your kids feel pain.  This was a pain that I couldn’t cover with Neosporin and a band aid, that’s the easy kind.  This pain will have to heal with time.  She told her Aunt Megan that Jake was in heaven with her dog Murphy and my mom’s dog Max.  Knowing that makes her feel better, and I feel better too.


Jake was my first dog…I mean my first not living in my parent’s house…on my own…dog.  Tom and I bought him together he was our first dog.  He lived in Marengo with us for 12 years.  He was the first pet all 3 of my kids knew.  He was full of energy.  The only dog that could keep up with me on my 6 mile runs…and later my 4 mile walks with a stroller.  He had a silly smile when he was excited, and would often make muffled barking noises in his sleep…we called them his “puppy dreams”.


We drove home from the pet store and Jake fell asleep on Tom’s lap.  It seems ironically fitting that he died the same way.


Rest in Peace Jake.



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