A devastating loss...the puppies

It is with immense sorrow that I share this with you.
On Tuesday night, our friend came over and we spent some time playing with the puppies. We noticed that a few of them were lethargic, had diarrhea and were throwing up. We had recently changed their food and they had spent some time playing outside so we chalked it up to them feeling a little off from eating grass and the new food. Yesterday though, there was more diarrhea and they seemed more lethargic. Bruce and Griffin loaded them up and took them to the vet "to be on the safe side." There we were given devastating news. The puppies all had perseveres, an incredibly debilitating virus that is severely contagious to dogs. We were shocked with the news but after a quick discussion on the phone, were ready to cancel all plans for the next couple of weeks and commit to nursing each one back to health. Then we had a talk with the director of the Humane Society and the Vet who made it clear to us that this virus is not survivable for most of the puppies, that it would produce a horrible death for most of them, that even if one or two would survive they would still be carriers of the virus, dangerous to other dogs and unadoptable. They made the decision that the puppies would have to be euthanized immediately. They also asked us to bring Sunblossom in for testing. She was found to also be severely infected by parvo and was also put down. We still have no idea how she became infected but it's clear that some human severely mistreated her starting with not spaying her nor getting her vaccinated. This all happened within a two hour period.
I cannot tell you how shocking, how devastating, how severe this loss is to our family. We had fallen head over heels in love with this puppy tribe. Although, we knew they would all have new homes eventually, we had put so much love, energy and resources into giving them the best start possible. We knew their personalities, we dreamed of their perfect families, we had named them.
On top of that, we have added worry for Lottie. Fortunately she is up-to-date on her vaccines and will probably be OK, although that is an added level of terror in this whole awful situation. My hands are still showing the irritation from the bleach solution we used to sterilize our home until late late last night. This horrible virus will be present and alive in our back yard for NINE months. I cannot put into words how this makes us feel.
So we are left with deep grief, a cesspool of a backyard and a back room that will have to be completely gutted before that space will be usable. My heart is broken, this just takes me straight back to my pain 14 months ago when we lost Sunshine.
3 days ago I felt so proud of the job we were doing for these puppies. We were so confident about what amazing pets they would be. But today, I am wracked with (unfounded, I KNOW) guilt...if only. If only I had loved them more, fought for them more, agreed to keep a couple, cleaned more often, taken them to the vet sooner....I could go on and on and on. It is a battle of will to silence these voices in my head. My meditation group was so supportive of helping me with that last night. I am trying to keep my head filled with sweet memories to honor the lives lost. In mediation last night, I was able to say goodbye to all 9 of them and that helped me continue to move through the grief.
We had amazing friends come to our side last night as soon as I sobbed the news to them over the phone. One of them reminded me of something very important. I, we, can't let this stop us from trying to do good in the world. One of the risks of loving is losing but you can't let that hold you back. Sometimes no matter how had we try, how big we love, how dedicated we are, it still all turns to shit in the end.
So that is my tale, as sorry as it is. I know this is really raw, but I'm keeping it real with you.


C. Michele said…
Keep in mind that your family showed Sunblossom and her puppies a great love and kindness in their last few weeks alive. Even if the end results weren't as planned this doesn't make your endeavors any less compassionate.

Use this horrible situation to speak out about the importance of taking care of your animals and pet vaccinations. Let me know if there is anything I can do to ease the suffering of your family. Such sad news. I am still crying and sharing the pain of your loss.
Anonymous said…
Big Love, Christie.

Nancy Rust said…
So very, very sorry, Christi.
And if the people who had so neglected Sunblossom had been in charge....well one can only imagine the suffering of her and the puppies. You were there to get them the care and comfort that you could. Without you and your family they had no hope at all. I'm sorry for your sadness. Gayle
(your blog stalker, just ask Sarah :0) )
Mama Gast said…
Thank you all for your comments. It helps so much to feel all this love circling us right now.
MountainWave said…
Sister, I just found out. Mom called. I am so sorry. Sending some extra vibes your way, for the kids too, and Lottie.

Those dogs were with the RIGHT FAMILY. All that love, affection, and concern. Your family SAVED THEM from suffering a really awful sickness and death.

I'm so sorry for the pain YOU guys are left with. Take care of each other. Know we love you. Call if you want. You're in our prayers.