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.


Rachael said...

Oh, I'm so, so sorry to hear this news. I know that dog meant the world to your mom. I can't tell you how many emails I've gotten from your mom that start out, "I'm just curled up on the couch next to Streusel right now and..."

Annie said...

I am SO, SO sorry.... Your mom is so sweet, and my first thought was that even her blog identification photo (or whatever it's called) is of Streusel. A total stranger! And I think of her in relationship to her dog. So sad. And, you are right, the name thing is kind of hard. The older I get the more that Catholic prayer resonates...referring to life as "this veil of tears". Sometimes it is, rather.

garnet said...

I'm so terribly sorry for your mom. I cried when my beloved cat died -- and not only did I have a family around me -- but that cat was across the ocean in the U.S. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose one's only daily companion.

And those unexpected phone calls can be pretty scary. My mother doesn't have a computer at home and basically never called me, so it was quite a shock when the phone rang as we were driving along in Nairobi one day and it was my mother. My heart was pounding when I took the phone from my husband -- guess it didn't help that we'd just witnessed a huge truck tip over.

Thankfully, all it was, was news that my brother had finally gotten engaged -- shocking enough in its own right -- but thankfully, nothing worse.

Tina in CT said...

I miss my Streusel so much!!!!!!! Seeing your blog is so comforting even though I am bawling while I read it and watch the video. I am so glad that I'll have a video to see of her.

Christine said...

How sad. I'm sorry about poor Streusel.

Muddy said...

Tina in CT, Im so sorry to hear about the loss of your Streusel. Sounds like a very special friend there.

Moscow Mom, I am sorry for the loss for you and your kids as well. I am sure that Streusel was part of the fun when the kids got to come to the states to visit grandma.

Katya said...

Oh Tina, I'm SO SO sorry for your loss! I'm sure this is devastating for you! Sending you all of our love! Katya and Ian and Ben and Nikki

Julie said...

So sorry to hear this!!! During my chat with your mom in Jan, I learned a lot about her dog. My boys also associate my parents' dog with visiting them and I don't know what we will do when Mandee is no longer with us!! Julie

Tami said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Streusel. I know your mom loved that little guy to pieces. I'm sending a note off to your mom right now. Her comments have meant the world to us while we were in the process of adopting Maddie. I hope we can offer her some comfort as well.
Hugs to you and the girls!

Tami said...

I tried sending your mom a quick email but realized I don't have her address, so please pass on our condolences and let her know we're thinking of her!

Anonymous said...

I miss your mom's smiling face every day and I know what a rough start to the year she has had. I was heart broken to hear the news and could not think of any more comforting thoughts than a new puppy to warm her heart. I hope you know that your mom is thought of often and loved dearly by her friends.


Tina in CT said...

Thank you everyone for your very kind words and sentiments about the loss of my beloved dachshund Streusel. She was my best buddy and such a loving companion. I miss her so much. I have to have another doxie and am in the process of looking for a puppy from a dachshund rescue (that's how I found Streusel). I know she's chasing her red kong somewhere and also missing me.

Nataliya said...

Tina, I'm so, so sorry to hear these sad news... (((HUGS)))