I’m not really up for talking about this. So I thought I might write it once, in place of a video, and let that be it. Instead of replying, if you could just think a nice thought or ‘raise your glass’… know that I feel your support and kindness. I’m ready to put this part of the story away, and just focus on my special moments and wonderful memories with Mylah.
As most of you know I recently adopted a second Great Dane named Mylah. It started as a foster situation, as I’ve fostered for the organization where I adopted Slim several times over the last two years.
Mylah was in rough shape when I first brought her home. Many of you saw the videos, I’m sure. She had a number of tumors removed, had open wounds, infected gums, and a variety of other issues. She was also much older than I originally thought. Three vets have aged her at “a hard 7″. The average life span of a Great Dane is 7-10 years. A “hard 7″ meaning… at least 7 years old, but with a rough life.
Much of this wasn’t so obvious in her photos. She was quite photogenic, and she did have her beautiful qualities.
But she walked with a limp, fell down a lot (her back legs seemed to just give out on her) and she couldn’t get in and out of the car by herself. Mostly due to age, arthritis in her back and some past injuries.
I loved her anyway.
I chose to adopt her.
I felt like at her age, and in her condition, she needed somewhere to call home while she lived out the rest of her life. I had become very attached to her, and knew I had both the time and the means to care for her special needs. She really did need someone home with her full time.
And like I said, I had become very attached. She looked at me with such appreciation, and adoration, and I felt the same toward her. She added so much to my life…
I spent four beautiful months with Mylah, and I cherish every minute of every day of that four months. She was “at home” here with us from day one, and took to Slim as his sidekick. While she couldn’t keep up, she did her best – and I had lots of laughs with her over it. Especially when Slim was running his crazy figure-8 speed laps around the both of us.
Mylah followed me everywhere I went, slept at the end of my bed, stayed on a bed beside my desk while I worked, and her and Slim both went with me on errands. It took a step stool and a helping hand to get her in and out of the car, but she loved to go for a ride.
I had two nick names for her: “old lady” and “smylah”. Because she had the oldest, kindest eyes – full of stories I wish she could tell me. And because she smiled at me sometimes. Especially when I would lie down on her big fluffy bed and cuddle her, or look over at her and whisper “I love you.”
Her Last Week
During her last week she became distant with me. And not just with me, but also with her “green ducky” – which she toted with her everywhere, and curled up with to sleep. At one point I was concerned she couldn’t see me, but it turned out she was just ignoring me. :p
She just seemed “moody” or tired, but I kept a close eye on her. She was eating and drinking and going out (potty) like normal, and seemed okay otherwise. It’s just that she would go off by herself – sleep in another room – and seemed a bit distant. Nothing major.
Then late Sunday evening she got sick. She threw up a clear foamy liquid. She was also pacing and restless, but not complaining – no crying or whining. As the night wore on she started behaving oddly, trying to get into small spaces – like behind furniture and under the lower deck – which was very unusual for her.
Monday, June 11th
First thing the next morning I called my vet to let them know, and then took her to the veterinary hospital. She was still drinking water and going potty, still no other symptoms, but I thought it best to get her in right away.
She was already in shock by the time we got there, and started bloating up quickly. The doctor also said she was severely dehydrated – which surprised me, given she was still drinking and peeing, and not acting lethargic.
I felt terrible. It all happened so fast, and progressed so quickly.
It had been a 1 hour 15 minute drive to get there, and she seemed like her usual self – enjoying the ride. When we walked in she wanted to greet everyone in the waiting area, along with their birds and cats and pups. She has such a sweet demeanor and is such a lover. You would have never known she was in pain, or that she was dying.
I certainly didn’t… She never once complained. In hindsight, it made me wonder how much pain she was in before with her back and her hind legs. Every time she fell she would just struggle a bit, then get right back up and keep going. A time or two she “peeped” but it was rare.
The doctor ran tests and did an x-ray, and saw that her stomach had twisted.
Danes are most susceptible to this condition of the stomach flipping or twisting, but it happens in other large breeds as well. From what I understand it can happen at any time, but is most common toward the end, in the last years. Once the stomach becomes contorted it can cause damage to the liver, pancreas and heart.
Mylah passed away that afternoon. I was sitting in the floor in front of her wiping her mouth (she was drooling). She walked forward and laid down, and put her head in my lap. I bent over and put my forehead to hers, rubbing her ears and whispering to her… when I felt her stop breathing.
With tears rolling down my face, I just held her. And I imagined her in a place where she was running through the grass with no pain and no limp… free and happy.
I had no idea I would be coming back without her when we left home that morning. It was one of the hardest trips I’ve ever had to make. It all happened so fast. I was completely stunned.
I’m glad she is no longer suffering. And I’m so very glad I had the short time with her that I did. She added something so special to my life – a love that I will continue to hold in my heart… forever.