Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ebb and Flow... The Journey here on earth ends

AP here:
I have spent a great deal of my life in the water, waiting on waves or wind and they have their own rhythm, their own beat that they march to and it is known as -ebb and flow.
Then ebb is not so fun, peaceful but not so fun, but when wind or water is flowing and you stand up and ride it is an incredible feeling. Happiness!

life on land also follows the same
The situation that Tonka and I are in seems to exaggerate these downs and ups, the ebb and flow. The bad moments, the labored breathing, the nosebleeds and the eye that is being pushed slowly sideways these are the things that suck the tide back and make for a not so enjoyable day.
When things are good though and he is surrounded by his peeps, or enjoying his breakfast, or just loving the cooler weather sleeping on the porch with me, this is the flow. Happiness!

It was my wish that Tonka would get to the bridge in a very peaceful manner, not in a crisis and not when he was stressed. I had made plans to have him pass at the house and my gut kept telling me it was time. The problem was everyone stopping by to see him commented on how great he looked and he was doing and I second guessed my gut. I started to think we had a little more time and his last day was such a great day that I actually called in and refilled his prescriptions.

Tonka's last day was a truly great day, he and I slept outside on the porch from about 4am on and then "watched" the sun come up. I was home for the day and so I got to spend time with him. He had a good breakfast, a buffalo bully stick and some cheese.
I'm up
Back to sleep on Porch with Mom

Back up for Breakfast

Can I have a scone?

No Scone then I'm going back to bed

I like Buffalo

Chomp, Chomp
Caitlin and Noodle came by and that is always a fun time. Tonka and I love Caitlin dearly, she has been such an enormous help during the past year and is a truly amazing person.

I like to drag Caitlin around the yard

It's my buddy Noodle

Love the Noodle
 Noodle is a such a good dog and he and Tonka had fun sniffing and playing with the brick puzzle.

Noddle and I took a nap
I said goodbye to Caitlin

After Caitlin and Noodle left I ran down the road to meet his Aunt Gina. She had picked up a Chinese herbal medicine for me that was supposed to help his nosebleeds. On the way back I also picked up a new refill of his piroxicam. He was doing so well and was so happy it seemed like we were going to have a little more time.

When I got back it looked like a storm was rolling in. Tonka and I love storms so we headed for the porch. 
Mom and I hung on the porch waiting for the storm

Still waiting

No Storm- I'm going to nap
It turned out to be a dud and blew over so when CM got home we took a little walk/roll down the street and back. We ran into some neighbors who of course fussed over him and told him what a good boy and an awesome dog he is so he was very full of himself when we wheeled back into the house.
No storm so took a little walk with AP and CM
He had a good dinner and took all his meds and finished off his nightly frozen PB Kong.

Peanut Butter Kong Time

This is the last picture of my boy.
After his Kong he settled into sleep and in a little bit I stood up to move to the floor to give him some love and noticed the spot of blood under his nose. I lifted his head to reposition the towel and see how bad it was,  he sat up and it just started pouring. CM and I went into full nosebleed stop mode with extra towels, paper towels, tissues and epinephrine but he kept sneezing.. the more he sneezed the worse it got until it was running out both sides and his mouth. The epi was not working, nothing was working so I bundled his head in a towel and while CM got the truck in position I got him belly walked out of the house and around the front. I got the ramp in place and I got him up in the truck and off we headed to the ER. Poor Cathy had to stay behind to clean up what looked like something out of a horror movie. I called his Uncle Mike to let him know where we were heading and I made a quick phone call to the ER to tell them I was coming. Tracy answered and I and I told her I would need help as I didn't have his wheels. At the first red light I send out a request for prayers although somewhere in my head I knew what was coming. At the next few stops I sent some texts to his support peeps to give them a heads up.
When I pulled in the circle at the ER and blew the horn they all came running with the gurney - I got him up and down the ramp and he was still bleeding everywhere. I helped lift him to the gurney and they rushed him in the back. Dr. Fleury who is a great Dr. and wonderful person came out while I was still putting the truck back together. She said something to the fact that she had looked at all his records and that she knew that we were nearing the end of things. She wanted to know if we should just let him go or try to stop the bleeding. I told her to try because this was not how I wanted him to leave I really wanted him at home and not in a crisis.
I parked the truck and entered the lobby where they told me I could wait in a room or not it was up to me. I wanted to be where I could see the ER doors open so I chose the lobby. Tracy gave me a bunch of wipes to clean off the blood that was all over my legs, arms and hands and then I waited. I did not have to wait long Dr. Fleury came out and explained it was a massive bleed and they had given him a sedative to drop his blood pressure and had gotten it slowed with strips soaked in epinephrine stuffed in his nose. The only thing that would stop it was an embolization procedure but that it would only keep re-occurring. The option was to leave him for the night get him stable and bring him home to let him pass at home on the porch or just let him pass over now.
It was with a very heavy heart and some anger that I decided to let him go. THIS WAS NOT WHAT I WANTED FOR HIM.I wanted him home at peace not in a crisis, not suffering in any way.

They put us in a private room and I tried to clean some of the blood off of his big beautiful face. His Aunt Gina sent a text that she was on the way so I lay there and sang to him. He was sedated so I am not sure how much he heard or knew about what was going on. He did pick his head up when she arrived but was not very responsive. I called CM and told her what was happening and since he was so out of it we decided she would finish cleaning the disaster area as she had already talked to him when he was coherent at home waiting for me to get the truck ramp out and together.
Gina and I spent some time with him and then Dr. Fleury came in and we let him go. I laid my head on his heart so I could listen to it beating until it beat no more. My beautiful, beautiful boy with the sweet smile and the heart of gold was gone. On Friday the 13th of September 2013 at 11:30pm the Journey of Tonka ended here on earth and I am sure a new one started for him at the bridge and when we meet again he can tell me all about it.

At this juncture I feel as if the flow is completely gone  there is only the endless pull as if the life has been sucked out of me. I know in time this will lessen but for now I am empty and alone in this.
Thank you for all your kind words, your thoughts, your gifts and your prayers. He was an amazing soul and I thank you for your love and support of him through the years.
Much Love


Anonymous said...

Oh Alice...Tonka had the best life ever with you and because of you! We all loved him ! I know that sucked out feeling so well. Rest assured you will be together again one day ..until then watch for his signs ..your angel boy will be communicating with you !

Patty &Angel Buttercup

Ray the Blind Dog said...

Your Tonka was amazing and had such a good life with you by his side. I'm sorry I never got to meet him.
Thank you for keeping this blog and letting us in on his life. I can only imagine how much you will miss him.
Take care,

redleg said...

I only knew Tonka through these posts, but, I too weep for your loss. It sounds like he had the most perfect day any dog could ask for. Having known the love and loyalty of the Pyr for 8 years, I always feel the lossof one very strongly.

bosun therapydog said...

With tears in my eyes, I send this message.. Thanks Alice from the animal kingdom for taking such extraordinary care of the GREAT TONKA!

Anonymous said...


I too only knew Tonka from these blog posts, however as a fellow Pyr parent I can totally appreciate the pain you must be feeling right now and will undoubtedly continue to feel in the days and months to come. We were faced last fall with our previous rescue Pyr (Higgins, 7 years old) growing progressively sicker and as a result having his good and bad days, and we too greatly struggled with setting a time and date to "release him to the rainbow bridge" - it was tough though because he would have a great day, and it just wouldn't seem to be "his time". We were lucky however one night, and as took the decision out of ours hands... I think he knew that we were struggling greatly with committing to making the final decision to drive the painful 1 hour to our vet. Briefly, his life ended one night right before bedtime as my husband and I were outside with him for his potty time, as noticed that his hind leg weakness was getting the best of him, so we carried him into the house, laid him down on his dog bed in his favourite corner, and he then he just looked at us and gave us "the look"... that unmistakable "it's okay Mom, I'm ready to go" look... I laid down with him, scratched his soft spot on top of his head and listened with tears welling in my eyes and he took his last breath. Many months later I still feel the pain and twangs of guilt in wondering whether we allowed him to suffer in his last moments with us, but then I think about the amazing couple of years we had with him after we rescued him, knowing that he knew right until the end how much he truly was loved... and spoiled!

So, please don't feel guilty that Tonka made his exit from this life the way he did, and not in the peace of your home as you had hoped for... as in the end, I'm positive that he knew you were there with him as you always had been, and from your blog posts it is so very clear that you did more for him in his lifetime than most people could ever have imagined or asked for. My hopes are that your Tonka is now with our boy Higgins in a place where they both can run around and be free of the limitations that their bodies brought to their too short of lives!

Big Pyr hugs from my huband and I, and our new guy (Finley)!

- Shannon

Kim said...

Dear AP,

I came across Tonka's blog while researching some medical concerns about my 8 year old female Pyr.
I have cheered, laughed and cried as I felt like I knew Tonka personally through each post even though we are thousands of miles apart.
When I read the last post last night I could not stop crying.
He was so lucky to have you just as you were so lucky to have him. He seemed to have such an incredible zest for life!
Thank you so much for sharing Tonka's life through this blog. It has been an incredible journey and something that I will never forget.

Warmest regards,


Anonymous said...

As Kim mentioned above. We have been following Tonka hoping for the best. We have our 8 yr old Pyr Lotti (aka barker)When Kim told me Tonka had passed I had to give Lotti a big hug and tell her how much we care for her. We lost our Berner 3 yrs ago to cancer and with out a doubt one of the hardest thing I have ever had to do was help my best buddy to cross rainbow bridge. I knew when he gave me the look.. and the big paw I knew it was time. 3yrs later I miss him very much but I know in my heart he is happy and free.I mentioned to Kim this morning. Tonka crossed the bridge, running free, seeing all his new buddies. Thank you for being so good to a dog that many woudl have given up hope.

Tonka will be missed.

Grant & Kim

Karen Fuzek said...

I just can't stop crying though we have not been communicating long I feel like I know what you're going through and I feel I know/knew Tonka. He just reminds me so much of my boy Friday - I think we blind dog owner just go above and beyond what most do for dogs just for the fact we all strive for the same thing for our loves - to just be happy, at peace and comfortable. I know when the time comes that I lose my boy I will be inconsolable and just completely heartbroken. We all know that time will come and they always say prepare I am sorry there is no preparation and if you are you really aren't. All my love and prays to you while you heal. Support is always here.

liparifam said...

Oh gosh, I'm bawling; I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear boy. Even though I knew it was coming, I was still shocked to read this news today. Tonka had a great last day, and this is a lesson to us all to enjoy every moment, because things can change in an instant. I wish you strength and courage at this very difficult time :(

Anonymous said...

CM here:
I know that I have been silent on the blog for a while....AP would discuss things and did a GREAT job sharing and keeping everyone up to date.

I know that this isn't the way we had planned for Tonka's last day to go. With him having such a good day, the perfect weather...he even wanted to go longer on the walk. We told him "no, but we will take you on a LONG walk in the cart in the morning" The plan was to take him on his long walks that we use to do daily.

We had made plans to "camp out" together on the porch for the night. We were doing everything short of having "S'mores"....which I would have given him if AP wouldn't have caught us! :-) She always caught us...or the big guy some how would give me up!!!

He would get excited about "things" and then I would get asked "how does Tonka know about....?" I would pretend I didn't know what she was talking about...then when AP would go to bed, I was the night time person and would "remind" him to stop giving me up!! ;-)Then I would get a kiss, like that was to make it all okay....which it did.

I know that there were many "angels" that have been involved or helping AP the last year or so. And I just want you to know that you were more of a blessing to Tonka and AP then you may ever know. Again, I was the silent one and my time with Tonka was a special one...from taking care of him at night so AP could get some extra much needed sleep or spoiling him rotten. I'm so glad I taught him to give "hugs" when he was a pup...he sure was a hugger!

Those of you that don't know AP or think you do...let me share what I know about this very special, genuine person. Even during the last year or so while she was working with Tonka, she made sacrifices of her own time and needs, readjusted her work schedule, even if it meant going in after hours or Sundays when she knew I was home. She rarely told others "no" if they needed help with something, until these last couple of months when Tonka needed more care. You might be saying..."yea, we knew that". But you may not know of the times that she also opened up the house to family visits and was always giving; while still caring for Tonka. She was there for me, during me having to have 2 surgeries myself last year and at times my recovery was hard...which meant she had 2 of us to care for....she NEVER complained even when she wanted too. Even when I had to work longer than normal and I couldn't give her that extra break. Or if I was the big baby!! No smart comments :-)

AP is one of the most remarkable people I know. She gives unconditionally, never asking or expecting anything in return. I have NEVER seen such strength in a person. Even during the deep pain that she is feeling now, she is walking the path with such dignity and strength. Please know that she is truly touched by everyone's kind words and gifts. It may not come across, but she is touched by it.

I too, believe that Tonka knew that she was there and that he heard everything she said and sang to him!!! I believe that he was okay with her letting go...not the way we had planned it...but still with nothing but deep love!

AP kept me informed that night...Gina, thank you for NOT waiting for AP to say "no, don't come up" and being there for her. It made it just a little easier for me knowing that I wasn't. I knew that where she needed me to be was right where I was.

I'm not sure if AP will keep the blog going or not...maybe it will a place to share "new" journeys that may come or a way to reach out for guidance for those that read it.

I hope you all have enjoyed and have been blessed by the "Journey of Tonka"....he truly took us on the MOST AMAZING JOURNEY in the short time we had him.

Much Love,

Anonymous said...

This is Mia I am so sorry about your loss. Tonka was a great big ball of love and it ripped my heart apart when I found out he was let go. You are the nicest person I have ever met. someone who would take in a dog that was blind, and had so many health problems and you still didn't give up on him. Most dogs in that position wouldn't last as long as Tonka without your love. You are such an inspiration. This must be really hard right now but things will get better. Tonka's watching over you with a great big toothy grin. I hope other dogs in his position could be as lucky as he was to have someone like you.
Love (for you and Tonka)

am I a grownup now? said...

I know you will miss his physical presence tremendously, but he will always be in your heart, he could not have been loved more than he was by you, his family. I too have shed tears for your loss, but thank you for writing his, and your story and sharing with us all. As the rescuer of a blind ex racing greyhound, (and his pal who we sadly lost to cancer far too soon) and now a disabled Romanian dog I know just how big a paw print these dogs leave on us. Take care. Niki

Andrea said...

So sorry for your loss. Tonka was a good one.

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Mom is in tears reading about Tonka. we are so sorry we didn't know him before. We are sure he is now running free with our Dakota and Thunder over that Rainbow Bridge. Thanks for stopping by our blog and for you kind thoughts for Phantom.

Woos - Phantom, Ciara, and Lightning and Mom