Coping with the loss of our Sara Lee (Pets and Grief)

This is how we will remember our sweet girl. Always having fun.
This is how we will remember our sweet girl. Always having fun.

The day the vehicle hit Sara Lee I skipped the first stage of grief (denial) and headed straight for the second- ANGER. Why? Why were the dogs at the road. I say dogs because she and Hemi, my son’s shepherd pup were never apart. Farmer Cheese thinks they may have chased deer. They may have followed the scent of my sons truck as Hemi was inclined to do from time to time. But they didn’t usually go to the road. Not with all the fun woods and a pond. Why wasn’t they driver looking? Or going slower.  People seem to drive so fast with not a care in the world. Was she putting on her make up? Was he texting. I was furious that my baby was hurt, seriously hurt. And we were headed to Auburn University Veterinary Hospital.  X-Rays at our home doctor revealed more spinal damage than he could care for. It was operable in his opinion so off we went. That night, Tuesday January 27, 2015 is one that we will never forget. We arrived in Auburn after midnight. 12:20 to be exact. We waited in the ER all night. We went from a spinal injury needing surgery to non responsive brain trauma and calling in a neurologist and ordering a CT.  All we knew at this point was she had a cracked cheek, no brain bleed and was at a fair to guarded prognosis. However her hip and spine appeared better than we thought at first. To add insult to injury the hospital estimated our entire bill and we had to pay half upon arrival Tuesday night.  An  MRI was ordered to further assess the spine and brain trauma. Wednesday,much much later in the day we got good new from the MRI. The neurology report looked good. Her spine looked better than originally thought. She had a fractured cheek as well as a few other fractures that wouldn’t affect mobility. Her discs were not as compressed aswas thought. That was good news.  As of that moment the doctors thought she would heal in time and  wewere elated. That was until Thursday morning when we discovered that although she was alert and bright cognitively, her rear end was no longer responding to deep pain as it did the day before. Doctors believed her spine was actually more compressed than the MRI showed. We were now back to square one and headed to surgery. For those of you with medical knowledge, a laminectomy with decompression. The surgery went well, most of what they were seeing was from the initial trauma, not compression material. She also had a small tear thatwas been repaired. Her recovery prognosis did not changed. But she pulled through the surgery. She was a real trooper. Sara Lee seemed to be doing well. She was even giving kisses to Laura the student who was her primary caregiver. She was happy each time we saw her.  We saw her Friday before we made a trip back home to check on things. Saturday she seemed to be continuing to improve. Then Sunday morning came. The phone rang. Our lives changed. Wewere headed back to Auburn as fast as we possibly could. It was unbelievable. Her right leg, the good leg had infection in it and was not responding to antibiotics. The doctor feared the infection might be in her heart.  My heart , and Farmer Cheese’s heart didn’t think they could take this!  As fortune would have it, the infection was not in her heart but she had gone down fast. She barely had the energy to lift her head to kiss us. Her leg was at least 3 times its normal size and preliminary tests showed that this was a systemic infection and spreading.  She had been on a broad spectrum antibiotic with no improvement. Now we were faced with the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make. Our baby girl was tired and weak. She’d used all the strength she had. Even with all the money in the world, which by the way we don’t have, the outcome was the same. Her fight was over. It was best for her to allow the doctor to give her the euthanizing drugs. Was it best for us? No, our hearts were torn in two. And yes, we don’t have to watch her suffer. We said our tearful goodbyes. The doctors were kind and gentle with our girl. They even gave her a few french fries. Our baby girl is gone. We brought her home in a cardboard coffin and buried her overlooking the pond.  In her little casket are a stick, a tennis ball, a duck, and a pine cone. All her favorite things.

Now it has been three weeks. And life dies go on whether we want it to or not. Our house and yard are too quiet and we still shed tears when she is not here to chase a stick or give us a kiss when we get home. The sadness and depression lesson each day but I have a feeling there will always be a tear when we think of our sweet girl.

Sara Lee, you loved us well and we loved you with all our hearts. If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. Rest in peace sweet girl, until we meet again.

Before surgery kisses
Before surgery kisses


 Better days with my sweet girl. Our camping trip.
Better days with my sweet girl. Our camping trip.
Sara Lee always had a stick in her mouth when she was outside.
Sara Lee always had a stick in her mouth when she was outside.

10 thoughts on “Coping with the loss of our Sara Lee (Pets and Grief)

  1. So sorry. We lost our beautiful lab girl, Bear, 5 years ago in April. We still miss her terribly. I dream about her and that if I put my hand over the side of the bed she will be there. Some dogs are just like that. Hugs to you.

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