Saturday, March 15, 2008
In Memory of Streusel
Yesterday my mom brought her sweet little dachshund to the vet for a routine visit: shots, teeth cleaning, etc. Something went wrong when the anaesthesia was wearing off and she went into cardiac arrest. By the time my mom found out, Streusel wouldn't have recognized her to be able to say good bye. The vet suggested the 24-hour animal hospital at Tufts University in Boston, or the local animal hospital, but the cost would have been prohibitive--and there would have been no way of knowing if Streusel could survive.
Since my parents are divorced and I'm an only child living on the other side of the world, that dog meant the world to my mom. She was her constant companion, a gem of a pup to cuddle. Sure, after thirteen years she still had never had quite mastered the whole "housebreaking thing," but she was so kind and loving that you could look beyond the puddles.
The kids loved cuddling with her in Grandma's bed. Streusel was an integral part of gift-opening on birthdays and Christmas; she LOVED to tear apart the wrapping paper and was so excited to check out the new presents. Here she is modeling the doll's cap that my mom made last winter.
She was a big comfort to both girls last winter when they recovered from adenoidectomies, a tonsilectomy (Katya), and ear tube insertion (Natalia).
Natalia was so, so very sad when I broke the news to her this morning. Katya is still asleep; I know that she'll cry, too. Edited: Katya is now awake and she sobbed for an hour. She's so upset that she doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything special today--and I suggested some of their favorite weekend destinations.
My kids had always associated my mom with her dog; they decided years ago to refer to their grandparents by their pets' names. My in-laws are Grandma and Grandpa Bravo (an awesome golden retriever) and my mom is Grandma Streusel. My dad doesn't have a pet, so was named for his city--Grandpa Portland (as in Oregon). As my mom tried to process it all last night, there was a sudden realization of how much it will hurt to have the girls call her that name... Having tried to change our kitten's name from Lyalya to Sasha after we discovered that she is, in fact, a HE, I know how hard it is to change someone's name once you're accustomed to it.
I hope that my mom's next dog will be worthy to add to Grandma's moniker. Chris and I are getting her a new dachshund puppy as soon as she's ready.
That call in the middle of the night sure did jolt me out of bed. My mom has never called through the Skype that goes to Chris's cell phone... That plus the sound of her voice instantly chilled my whole body, bracing for whatever tragic news I was about to hear. We had two of those calls before, a little over two years ago, when my father-in-law slipped into a coma after pneumonia (he recovered!) and then when my dad's twin brother died while my dad was in an airplane en route to join us in Moscow.
While I'm so sorry for my mom's loss of Streusel, I'm so very thankful that our families are OK... What a reminder to not take anything--or anyone--for granted.