Unfortunately we had no choice but to let go of Olivia today, just five short days after she first became ill. We still don't know the cause (it might have been bacterial, fungal, or a toxin), but the effect was quite simply devastating -- her liver completely shut down, and no manner of drug nor treatment was going to bring it back. I'm still in a state of shock at this twist my life has taken in less than a week. But I suppose you never expect tragedies, nor can you ever prepare yourself for one.
Saying goodbye to her this morning was one of the harder things I have ever had to endure, but I know that in the end Dave and I made the right decision by ending her suffering rather than needlessly pursuing life-extending (but not life-enhancing) treatments. The process was made somewhat easier by a wonderfully supportive and incredibly gifted veterinarian and staff. I know they did all they could for her...and I was amazed to see them all in tears as well at the end. But then again, Olivia was (and I don't think I'm overstating things here) just about the cutest dog out there, with the personality to match. I wish I could have brought her home with me at the end of this ordeal, but I know that just wasn't meant to be.
Olivia taught me so many things in the 3 short years I had her. She taught me how to take care of someone else, someone totally dependent on me. She taught me greater patience, especially in her puppy phase. She taught me to take joy in the simple things: food, sun...feathers. Beyond these lessons, she gave me so much joy and comfort. My hope is at the end she knew this, and that she knew how much she was loved -- not just by Dave and I, but by so many other family and friends.
I have often been accused of loving her overly much, but to quote my father "if you don't love 'em, what's the point?" And I have to agree. Despite the pain Dave and I are going through now, it's worth every second I got to spend with her. I had hoped to enjoy Olivia for years to come, but I know that I was lucky to have her, if only for a short while.
St. Francis of Assisi believed that all animals, and not just humans, have souls. And I would like to think that's true. For we are all God's creatures, and His heart and His heavenly home have room for the lot of us. If that's the case, then I know for certain that Olivia is there now, playing with my childhood dog Gretel and in good hands until I can be with her again.
I used to joke that Olivia was the puppy of my dreams, the puppy of my heart. And she will be in my dreams and in my heart forever. I know that in time Dave and I will get another dachshund -- I'm just a dog (specifically, dachshund) lover. But no dog will ever replace her: she was, after all, my Olivsita, my Chub-buns, my baby.