The saddest day

Last night, Rob left me a message while I was at writing class. He was thinking of going to pick up some dinner, but he had Leo out and was going to play with him for a bit longer.

We were still keeping our dogs separated. Leo gets to go lots of places with me outside the house, but inside the house, he was mostly confined to his play pen in the laundry room, except when we put Isis in her “quiet room” (the library). But Leo still gets into stuff and chews on things, so he can’t be unattended for any length of time.

Rob’s car was not in the driveway when I got home, so I knew probably Isis was loose in the house and Leo was back in the playpen. I could see Isis through the living room window and when I opened the front door, I had a vision of what it would be like to have two dogs greet me. What if Leo came running out to greet me from one side, while Isis came from the other? How wonderful that would be.

The dogs couldn’t be in the same room together, after 7 months. Isis had been treated with acupuncture and a new diet for allergies, which may have been part of the cause of her anxiety. I’ve been feeling for months that something was wrong with Isis. She’s only four and a half, but she moved around sometimes like an old lady, a little bit slow and creaky. Maybe that was from the prozac. But she was still so anxious. We had an appointment Monday to start her on some Chinese herbs. She was scheduled to go see the trainer, by herself, without Leo, on Sunday, to help build confidence and interact with another teacher dog. Last time we did this, she was so proud of herself, it was plain on her face and it made us so happy.

I was feeling so hopeful. I knew all I had to do was believe these dogs could coexist. It was going to be fine. Isis could be calm around Leo, but the problem now was that Leo is an adolescent and talks back to Isis, so first we had to work on making Leo a better teacher dog before we could bring them together.

Rob bought me a screaming flying monkey a few years ago. I kept it at my office and sometimes flung it across the whole place, when I was there alone. A few times I let Isis chase it. Once I let Leo chase it and he crunched the battery and the monkey wouldn’t scream anymore. I bought a replacement monkey last week and had it in my purse on the floor over the weekend. Isis discovered it and kept pulling it out of my purse, making it scream. She never took things out of my purse. We laughed and called her the “monkey stealer.” I brought the broken one home from work and last night I flung him across the room over and over and Isis raced after it, so happy. She held the monkey in her mouth with the legs hanging out like a dead bug. I wished I’d taken a photo.

One of the last things I said to her before bed last night, while she was lying down with her head resting on the monkey was that she was such a monkey stealer. I also said to her, as I do all the time, that I love her so much. So much. More than she can ever understand and that I will always love her the most and she is my most special little girl.

I said this a lot because I worried that she thought we got Leo to replace her, or that she wasn’t enough, even though we so wanted him to be a buddy for her, or at least “therapeutic.” When I said it last night, I knew I would feel that way about her years after she was gone.

Isis died today. Suddenly. We don’t know why. Rob is happy he remembered to kiss her beak before he left for work. I’m glad I remembered to say, “I love you and I’ll see you when I get home.” I’m glad that Grandma was here this afternoon to play with Isis in the backyard. It was her favoritest thing in the world, and Grandma is one of her favoritest people.

When Grandma was inside the house, Isis wandered up to the back of the yard and collapsed. Grandma called for her and found her there when she didn’t come running back with the soccer ball in her mouth. She called me and Rob and we sat with Isis for a while before taking her to the vet. She still felt like Isis. And looked like Isis, but her open mouth upset Rob. He kept saying “Her tongue isn’t supposed to do that.”

The vet thinks there might have been a clot or even a growth on her heart, but that it was hard to tell, because Isis has such a big heart. (Because she’s such a big dog, but I like to think its because she loved us so much.)

We’re totally heartbroken. We have Leo to help us get through this, but Isis was our first love.

I said, “Next year we’ll be able to have both dogs in the same picture with our Christmas tree.”

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

7 thoughts on “The saddest day

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. My deepest condolences. Our little dachshun Hannes died (in age of five years) about one year ago and it was a really tough for us even if we have other two wonderful dogs.

  2. When someone loses a beloved pet, or child or sibling, it’s hard to avoid thinking about losing your own. It would make me incredibly sad to lose Gabe, so I can only imagine what it must be like to have lost Isis. I’m glad you have so many fond memories of her. I’m glad you have Leo.

  3. Kari and Rob:
    Isis passing saddens more than words can say. I remember when I first met her and how she loved to work. She is very special to me and I will remember her always. I know how sad you must be. She is there with you in spirit. My deepest sympathy to you. What a tragedy!
    Diane Garrod

  4. I have read that dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. Losing an unconditional family member is beyond words. Seth and I will always remember our first Christmas UMA meeting with nosey baby Isis. If not for her beautiful name, her personality tugs at a person. Her personality was all love all the time; and she was loved. We grieve with you and are here if you need anything.

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