Sunday, November 16, 2014
IN MEMORY OF PUJI
I had no idea of the impact he would have. He and his sister found themselves in need of rescue due to a divorce.
We had a foster home all lined up and Puji was only supposed to be with us until his medical
was completed. Unfortunately, Puji went into liver failure within weeks of coming into rescue.
He was treated aggressively with fluids and medications but his liver enzymes remained elevated and he would not eat at all. For a solid month he ate NOTHING on his own. I had to syringe feed him multiple times per day.
He lost a tremendous amount of weight and began to look like a walking skeleton. I know most people thought we should "let him go", and I often wondered myself if I was being fair to Puji.
But, there was something in his eyes that said "don't give up on me, I still have things I want to do
in my life, I still have things I need to teach you." I will never forget the first day he ate something on his own (Vienna sausages, of all things). I was ecstatic!
Gradually his appetite improved, but he remained a challenge to feed. We gave him anything and everything to keep him eating. One day it might be Filet Mignon he wanted, the next day nothing would do but Honey Nut Cheerios !
He gained his weight back and became such a little character. He had a ratty old toy we called Hippo that came with him from his previous life. It was the only thing he had left from the first 8 years
of his life.
He loved that toy dearly and carried it with him everywhere. He would not even look at another toy. I remember one cold, dark night when Puji came back in the door without his Hippo and I thought "oh great I am going to have to get the flashlight and search the whole yard for that toy."
All I had to do was say "Puji, where is your Hippo?" A look of utter panic came over his face and he immediately ran out into the yard and promptly returned with Hippo !
I lived in fear that Hippo would fall apart. Perhaps because of his poor eye sight (from years of untreated dry eye) or perhaps because he carried Hippo everywhere Puji had a very distinctive gait. He kept his head up in the air and picked his front feet up high - reminding me of a fancy show horse.
He was a fixture at our animal clinic when he came in with me every morning and "pranced" back to his cage with his Hippo in tow ! He was such a special soul and he brought joy to everyone around him.
I began to forget that he had liver failure and hoped he would have many years
with us, but that was not to be. After 15 short months he began to build up fluid in his belly - a sign that his liver could no longer make enough protein.
I expected a long slow decline with me eventually having to make an agonizing euthanasia decision when his quality of life declined. Puji, however, had a different plan. He suddenly crashed one morning and despite rushing him in and starting emergency treatment he passed away surrounded
by myself, hospital staff and his beloved Hippo.
As I held him praying that he could hold on this time his eyes said "it's OK Mom, I am ready to go now, I have taught you all I can about not giving up, about living your life to the fullest and about love."
Thank you Puji for all that you taught me. I am a better doctor and a better person for having loved you. I will never forget the lessons you taught me and I will never forget you."
Lucinda, thank you for sharing this heart-story with us. It has touched me every time I've read it and I know it is the same for those reading it now. It shows how much you and Roger put your hearts into the dogs you are helping. Thank you is not enough to say-- but it comes from my heart. Puji is at peace now.