Goodbye, Pepper

About a year ago, our dog Pepper dislocated his hip.  He recovered very well and we’ve had a good year.  His vet did say the muscles on that side had atrophied a bit, but he was still able to get around pretty well, although he does slip a little more than usual, especially on the stairs.

Saturday we took the monsters to Mythos in Joplin to celebrate a successful and fun Upward Basketball season.  We visited with Molly, and after returning to Springfield, we visited with Uncle J and BB.  We got home around 8:30 or so.  The girls took the dogs out and I was trying on some dresses I’d bought at the Dress Barn.

When I heard an awful and unforgettable sound.  The cry of a dog in pain.

The girls had been playing ball with Pepper.  He used to play all the time but in later years, especially since his injury, he’s been perfectly willing to let the younger KC chase the ball.  He’d gone down the stairs after the ball and something happened.  Maybe he slipped.  Maybe a claw caught on the carpet.  Something.  But it was enough to dislocate his hip again.

We grabbed him, made a call to BB (who used to work as a vet tech) and they met us at the ER pet hospital.  The vet at first didn’t think it was dislocated — it wasn’t as obvious as the first time (with his hind leg all catawhomaps).  But the xray showed he’d definitely dislocated it again.  He fixed Pepper up and seemed positive about his recovery.

However, we had a pretty rough night with him.  The first time, he was a zombie for at least 24 hours – and I kept feeling his chest to make sure he was still alive.  This time, he wouldn’t sleep.  He kept moving, getting up, trying to walk.  He hates his kennel and kept whining until in desperation at 4 AM I let Princess put him in her bed surrounded by pillows.  However, he woke her up again and again.

Yesterday, he kept trying to walk when he shouldn’t.  He wasn’t content laying on my lap.  I was encouraged that maybe this injury wasn’t as bad as the first time.  I dosed him up with pain meds at bed time (hoping we’d all get a good night’s sleep with school and work today) and headed to bed.

At 1:50 AM Princess came in to let me know she was taking him outside.  He’d woken her up whining and wanting to go out.  He did his business and she went back to bed.  Not even 15 mins later I heard the dreadful shrill cry of pain again.

I about killed myself jumping out of bed.  Princess met me in the hall sobbing.  He’d been turning around (like dogs do) to lay down in exactly the right spot and whammo.  Agony.  The hip was out again.

Princess stayed home with her sisters and we rushed him back to the ER but it wasn’t good news.  The hip just wasn’t staying in this time and his pain seemed worse than ever.  He even bit me on the chin struggling as I tried to get in the car.  Short of expensive surgery — at his age, 12 — we had no options but to put him to sleep.

We had a wonderful year with him.  He got babied a lot this past year.  What I like to remember the most is that he was playing ball with his girls like the good old days.  If he had to go, that was a good last memory.

We’re all staying home from work and school today to mourn and remember our sweet little dog.  We had a wonderful 8 years with him after adopting him.  Our other adopted dog, KC, doesn’t quite know what to do with all these tearful squeezes but she knows something’s wrong and she does what dogs do best.  She snuggles up and gives a good lick or two and she doesn’t mind getting the stuffing squeezed out of her.

15 thoughts on “Goodbye, Pepper

  1. I’m so so sorry. I’m in tears for you all. Over my lifetime, I’ve lost 4 cats in tragic ways and my heart goes out to you and the girls. I’m glad Pepper got a wonderful, pampered year with you all and that he’s no longer in pain. Love and hugs being sent your way.

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to make that call, but such a kindness to do it. I often remind myself that my animals I’ve had to put down died painlessly, surrounded by those that loved them. We should all be so lucky.

    Rest in peace, Pepper.

  3. Oh, Sis. Oh, honey, I’m so sorry! Poor, poor Pepper! You’ve had him forever, and he was such a good dog. I remember him always hiding behind your legs when the girls were being crazy. I can’t even imagine how bad you feel.

    *hugshugshugshugshugs*

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. The photo you posted looks so much like my sweet Lucky, who passed at 16 last fall, that I had to do a double-take. I feel your pain. Life does go on, eventually, it’s just hell getting to that point. Best of luck to you and your family.

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