Tragic weekend in the Kautzi home, friends. On Thursday we took Maddie to the vet to have her teeth checked out (see previous posts on the world's worst dog breath) and they had to run some pre-anesthesia blood work to make sure Maddie was up for the teeth cleaning procedure we were planning on doing. On Friday afternoon Kelsey got a call from the vet letting us know that her numbers came back and her kidney function was horrible- essentially irreparable -and her red blood cell count was way too low. Jessica said if she was a human with those numbers she'd be on dialysis at least three times a week. The doctor said she'd been toughing her way through discomfort for months or possibly years, but it was going to get worse very quickly. In short, we had to make the unfortunate decision to put her to rest rather than let her suffer over the next few weeks, watching it get worse.
Apart from the sudden nature of it and losing the most entertaining member of our family, I think the worst part is knowing how good Maddie would have been with a baby. She was as sweet as any dog owner could ask for; those of you who were lucky enough to meet her can back me up. When I was initially trying to convince Kelsey that we should get a dog (which I did frequently since our wedding day) I used the familiar excuse that it would be great practice for a baby. While she was a bit skeptical of the parallels between dog ownership and parenthood, the idea of getting a dog gradually grew on her and, after an intense few weeks on the hunt, we came home with the sweet border collie that most of you affectionately knew as Maddie. And you know what? Even though it might have been a feeble excuse to win my wife over, I think she really did help prepare us for Short Round's arrival. If nothing else, our hearts were tethered to Maddie in a way that I've never experienced before. And while I'd never compare the love of a pet to the love of a child, I think we're a step ahead of where we would have been had Maddie never been in our lives. Perhaps I'm bandying about the sentimental drivel a bit too freely, but it's still fresh. Thanks for extending a little grace.
So, those of you who have been there know. It's tough. But while the last eighteen hours have been filled with tears and frustration and grasping for affirmation that we did the right thing, nothing can take away the joy of what is coming in December. Sure, I expected our kids to grow up and fondly remember growing up with Maddie, The World's Greatest Dog. And I imagined her looking skeptically at the new naked puppy thing that we brought back from the hospital, wondering why it stole all the attention from her. But we're doing our best to remember the wonderful two years she gave us. Well done, Maddie. We're so proud of you.