44f99fcf-58b3-4958-8060-bfc707f07623It is with a heavy heart that I share with all of you that my beloved Chihuahua, Permilia, whom I adopted in late October, 2015, passed away on March 8th,.

On Monday, March 7th, I saw her hip go loose on our afternoon walk and I carried her home.  I left her to rest in her bed while I finished up the day’s dog walks, but returned to find her paralyzed in her back end.  We rushed to our regular vet where we did x-rays and determined nothing was broken.  My regular vet suspected perhaps it was inflammation along her spine creating the neuropathy, a condition I’m familiar with because of my brother’s Chihuahuas.  We put her on anti-inflammatory and pain meds, and my vet felt in a few days she would be back to normal.

Permilia woke up in pain at 3:45am on Tuesday, March 8th.  I decided to call the Vet Specialty Center, which is known for exceptional, wide-range care, and it’s where you go when there is something serious happening.  By 11am I had Permilia at their location, and by then she was biting me due to the pain.  After evaluation, the neurologist returned to share that Permilia no longer had deep nerve pain, the final measurement of paralysis.  They felt she had one or possibly two slipped disks, but feared an advanced condition where the disks create lesions on the spinal cord and it begins to bruise along the length of it, destroying all function.  Basically, they told me that surgery couldn’t save her.  My heart was shattered.

Chihuahua’s can live into their twenties and, Permilia, being five or six years of age, I anticipated having her with me another fifteen years.  I knew what the next step was, but it seemed impossible.  We decided to do an IV of pain meds, and a catheter, so that I could hold her on my lap to say our goodbyes.  I spent hours with my girl, and was able to pause in between the injections so that I had time to process and celebrate her.  Once she was gone, I just sat with her body. Knowing the movement could no longer hurt her, I was able to embrace her fully, linger on her tiny paws, and lay kisses on her.

When I got home I just sat on the kitchen floor, petting my boy, Benson, and sobbing.  I had nothing left.  Besides running Benson outside a few times, I laid in bed until Wednesday morning; heartbroken, nauseous, and utterly spent.

For the days following her passing I leaned on all of my dog walking pack to share my thoughts and heavy heart.  They are all such amazing listeners.  I think my pack owners were surprised that I wanted to go right back to walking the dogs but, for me, it was the only thing that brought me peace. I am my most me when I am with them, and being able to grieve in their company was about all the strength I had in me.

During those first few days I came down hard on myself, looking for a cause, and blaming myself for every moment where I felt I failed her.  Mentally beating myself up, and sinking deeper into despair, feeling like a totally lost soul, unsure of who I even was.  Thankfully, I have so many amazing people in my life who offered me the support, and words I needed, to remind me of the immense love that Benson and I had shared with Permilia during our short four months together.  I was able to find my footing again, and that helped Benson to find his, too.

I share all of this because here we Christians are, having just celebrated a death that changed the course of our lives, and a resurrection that set our history in motion.  What I realized yesterday, as I placed Permilia’s belongings into my storage unit, was that there are too many souls in need of that love; that hope.  My girl was gone, and there was nothing that could change that; but the ultimate way that I could thank her for all she taught me, and the love we shared, was to pay it forward.  I came inside and began to search for Chihuahuas in need of a home.  That single action has allowed me to actually smile from a true place within; that hope of resurrecting my love, and being able to be of service to another.   

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