A sign of Preparation & Loss

Written in 2010 © Karen Maeby

One day, in the middle of November 2004, my parents were coming home from somewhere late at night and they had called me on the phone to hurry up and raise our garage door. There was this huge dog that was outside that would not leave and they were afraid that the dog might have something wrong with it. They quickly got out of the vehicle, lead the dog to the back yard and shut the gate. We fed it and took care of it overnight, as my dad had called the humane society and his police friends and nothing could be done until the next day. 

The next day, someone came and got the (what we later found out was a) boxer. The boxer had mange, so all in all, we didn’t get the dog like we had hoped. I called this dog “Doggie Stares” and the dog was growing on our entire family. Days later, I realized this was a preparation for what was yet to come. 

Our next door neighbor’s wife had just passed away and he couldn’t take care of their Lhasa Apso dog, Peaches, anymore. So it was his deceased wife’s wish (as well as his) that we took over Peaches. He handed her to us on November 29, 2004. 

Now, before I go on, something about my parents? They didn’t ever want pets because of the mess they created. However, with the incident of “Doggie Stares,” something changed. 

From the very day we got the newly two-year-old Peaches, our world instantly changed. We went from being a family of three to a family of four. She became the center of our world; I finally had a sister even though it was a mutt. 

I remember having to take care of her the first night we got her and she puked all over my bed. Welcome to… parenthood. Peaches was a very good dog, even though she bit a lot, because she was never really “trained” to stop doing that at a younger age. We took her on various many trips, had tons of fun with her, and did the usual dog thing of evening walks, running and playing in the backyard. Everyone must know she had this amazing howl she would do when one of us came home. It was set in high soprano and we adored it, even though it was extremely loud and ear-breaking to the neighbors who were home to hear it. It was more unique than most people had ever heard coming out of a dog. 

The only terrible down fall of Peaches was having to watch her suffer through seizures every few weeks. It was one of the most heartbreaking things you can imagine to watch a helpless dog fall into one of those… especially after being really happy to just play like normal. This happened so often and we tried everything we could with the vets to figure out why. This, my friends, was left up in a mystery. 

Fast forward a couple years to 2008. After having dealt with everything from my store closing in January, moving on with my life, Peaches started getting sick after a wonderful weekend of activity. She started hanging around me the most, wouldn’t really leave my side and just always stared at me. A few weeks before the end of February, Peaches grew ill. 

[These next two entries were taken from my MySpace.] 

[27 Feb 2008 | Wednesday] 11:11 PM

Monday she didn’t seem ok at all… she laid around the house all day and wanted to be held be all of us. Seemed like she had been trying to tell us something all along. Anyway, she wasn’t eating or anything like that…

Tuesday rolls around and she’s not any better. At 3pm we took her to the vet and they ran a blood test on her. First thing, she had 16% blood count instead of where she was supposed to be like 45-50%… Blood wasn’t coming out of her body so something inside her had been eating it up and disposing of the blood.

So she had to have a blood transfusion. And lots of pills being given to her.

Today (Wednesday) they ran more tests on her and they said something about her liver being flamed. So she has some rare infection in her liver. They’ve got her hooked up to IVs and hospitalized so she can get better.

[01 Mar 2008 | Saturday] 3:24 AM

She stayed in there Weds-Fri… Thursday she seemed to be better, up walking around and noticing movement and such. Friday – still no change in her habits but she had fallen into a seizure and they had to put her down because it was so bad she couldn’t come out if it. Mom and I had planned on seeing her in the afternoon but mom called at 9am to see how she was doing (and she was fine); after running errands she stopped by there and the vet told her hold on and said “we just called your husband, Peaches didn’t make it.” So I got a phone call from mom then my dad called and we three were up there saying goodbye.

February 29, 2008 was the day we I got the phone call that Peaches passed away. Mom was already at the vet and my dad was on his way when I arrived there. I walked into the room where they left Peaches in the cage where she died. 

I gathered myself on the floor and stuck half my body on her inside the cage and just cried. Cried for hours just laying on her, remembering asking “why, why?” and saying how much I was going to miss her and what a good mutt sister she had been. It was the most heart breaking moment in such a long time. When my dad arrived, it was just… bad. I rarely saw him cry and this is definitely one of the moments where he did. That broke my heart even more. 

Peaches, having a dog in our lives, were a staple to us being a family. A compete family. 

Before we left that vet office, the final goodbye, I took one of Peaches’ stuffed animals (a dog) that I had bought for her one Christmas and just rubbed the fur all over Peaches. I put that dog in the dashboard of my vehicle and it has remained there since that very day, never having been moved yet (even 3 years later). We decided to have her cremated and put into a pretty oak-wood box with her name on the top of it. 

Peaches died on leap year, which occurs every four years. We had her for four years. 

A couple weeks later after her death, my parents went on a search to contact the owners that gave Peaches to our neighbor. They found them and went to visit them in Ohio and one day that I came home, there was a new Lhasa Apso that greeted me named Bella. Bella was a sister to Peaches somehow down the line and they needed to get rid of her or a male dog and my parents wanted her. 

I must say, after all Peaches was my baby, I was quite offended and thought it was too soon to get another pet. I remember telling mom prior to Peaches’ death that if something happened to her, I was going to be leaving that house and that statement was more than true.

Bella turned out to be a very quiet and calmer dog, even still, after finally finding her barking voice months later after having adopted her. Bella still remains with my parents and is in good health, considering she was having struggles with anemia right at first. 

2019 UPDATE: Bella passed away in December of 2017.

Leave a Reply