Honestly, I didn't write about it because it takes forever to write a blog post. Mainly because I have to have lots of pictures and I talk A LOT. So I don't blame you if you just look at the pictures. Here are a few from the past year...
|Bridal Portraits in Chicago...more to come one day soon! Photographer: Leia Smethurst|
|Rehearsal Dinner at the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum|
The Best Days!
We also added to our family. NO, (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) I AM NOT PREGNANT. Just because we are newly weds doesn't mean I'm immediately popping out a baby. But that's a whole 'nother topic. We added a sweet baby boy, Slugger.
|Slugger's Daddy, HUGO! Olde English are bigger than English|
|I mean, look at that little face! Slugger at 7 weeks old.|
|Love at First Sight!|
Michael had his sights set on one puppy. Needless to say, it was love at first sight. I was in love with a few of the little girls. After discussing future plans and puppy-proofing the house (moving all of our wedding stuff and reorganizing), we decided to bring home Michael's favorite puppy.
Slugger was 8 weeks old and a little pile of adorable wrinkles when we brought him home. Okie wasn't too keen at first, but after the first week, they were playing together like brothers! We had so much fun as a family. I know it sounds silly, but for the first time, Slugger made me feel like a mom. Maybe because he was so little and required non stop monitoring and babying. I held him like a baby all the time. He was our little boy.
|Okie wasn't so sure at first...|
|...but after a week they were best buddies.|
|Taken 1 day before Slugger passed away|
|He was the sweetest little sleeper...always snoring!|
The Worst Day
The next morning, Michael woke up early for a phone call. He whispered to not wake the dogs. He noticed that Slugger wasn't snoring. We put a blanket over the crate to keep it dark for Slugger. When Michael lifted the blanket, he saw Slugger curled up "sleeping" in the back of the crate. When Slugger didn't stir, Michael grabbed him...only to find he was cold and stiff. I woke up to Michael telling me that Slugger passed overnight. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Immediately the tears started flowing and I had that "no no nonnononononnonononoononooo" thought rushing through my head, hoping it was a bad dream. I wanted to see him to believe it.
Michael covered his body with a towel since his little belly was swollen. I pulled back the towel to kiss his sweet little head and it was cold. He looked so peaceful, like he was in a deep sleep. We didn't know what to do next but we knew we had to find out WHY. WHY did a seemingly healthy puppy go to sleep and never wake up? I want to cry again typing this...but I can't because I'm at work.
Of course this happened on a Sunday but thankfully, we were able to get in touch with Slugger's vet. Slugger had only seen him once but Dr. Jones of the Woodlake Animal Hospital is amazing. He is bulldog lover and having 3 of his own, is somewhat of a bulldog expert. He was shocked to hear the news and advised us to the best animal autopsy place in the state - Oklahoma State University Animal Diagnostics Lab. So we drove to Stillwater and had to tearfully say goodbye to Slugger. That was really really hard. I bawled. I bawled all. damn. day.long. I swear, I could feel my heart hurting. It was almost unbearable. I had to call in sick the next day because my eyes were nearly swollen shut. I'm the type of girl that when I cry even a little bit, my eyes are immediately puffy...so I knew I was doomed the next day.
The next day, I tried to get up early before bootcamp to salvage my eyes. It didn't work. Forcing myself to move on, I went to One Healthy Bod bootcamp. The first bootcamper to give me a sad face already sent me crying. DANG IT. I thought...well, I'll just workout and cry. Thankfully I love the girls I work out with and they all understood. After about 10 minutes, the tears stopped and I started to feel better. Sometimes you just have to keep going while crying. People just want to support you and understand. My goal that day was to try not to cry again. I cried a little bit in the afternoon.
WHY DID HE DIE?
As the week progressed, I cried less and less. I found comfort sharing the pain with my husband, as he knew exactly how I felt. A few days later, we heard back from the lab. I called the lab and was able to speak with the doctor that performed the necropsy (that's a fancy word for an autopsy done on an animal...I had to look it up!). She explained the medical jargon...but wanted to do more testing on his heart tissues. Hopefully to find out more. I highly recommend the OSU Vet Lab. They did a incredible job and took the time to explain everything to me. If you go on a Sunday, there's an unavoidable emergency fee of $100. So wait to have your pet die on a week day (sarcasm).
|Slugger with Doctor Brian Jones, Woodlake Animal Hospital|
Please note the signs of bloat so you can spot it!!!
*trying to vomit but nothing comes up
*pacing and general restlessness
*swollen, hard stomach
Here's a creepy video of a dog with bloat. I couldn't watch all of it because it makes me sad. If you see these signs in your vet, you must take your dog to the animal hospital IMMEDIATELY. Call on the way to save time. Tell them you suspect bloat. A few sites suggest feeding your dog anti gas meds. The doctor will have to medicate your pet to get the bloat down and then go in to untwist the stomach. If part of the stomach dies, it may be too late.
Slugger didn't show any of these signs. He did throw up a little, but clear liquid came out..and what puppy doesn't throw up? We even felt his sides the night before (by chance - because we had never really heard of bloat) and everything felt fine. The vets assured us that we did everything right and there is nothing we could have done. Dr. Jones said he has never seen this before in bulldogs and never this young. He said, "it's the freakiest thing I've seen in a long time."
So basically, we know HOW he died but we don't know WHY. It's so frustrating. As a scientist, I can't understand why more studies haven't been done on bloat...especially since it's the 2nd killer in large dogs?! Veterinarians have only found a correlation but not a scientific reason behind bloat. Slugger didn't meet the criteria of a typical bloat victim. He did have a deep chest yet and he was only 4 months old?! Large-chested, large breed and older dogs are the most susceptible to bloat/GDV. SO WHY? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY.
We are left frustrated and sad. I wondered why God would take him away from us. We already made our own plans - Slugger in the Christmas card, Slugger with our first child (far from now...again, I'm NOT pregnant), etc. I do believe that God has things happen for a reason. Slugger had a short but wonderful life. He certainly blessed us with his presence. I think this experience definitely gave us perspective. I couldn't imagine what it's like to lose a child. That would feel a million times worse and I felt horrible after Slugger died. It also gave me perspective about hearing horrible news. Unbelievable news. I can't imagine what it's like for people that hear they have cancer or that a loved one died in a car crash. Non-dog people won't understand or empathize but my husband and I know there are a TON of people that DO understand. I was blown away by the response of complete strangers, sharing positive vibes, thoughts and prayers. Thank you SO much for the kind words. Michael and I appreciate it more than you know. He was our baby and we will never forget him. I can't wait to see him in heaven one day. We love you, Slugger!
|Photographer: ME! I took this with my fancy new Cannon camera. Leia gave me tips!|
P.S. Poor Okie! Both Michael and I have woken him up in the middle of a deep sleep because we were worried he was dead! We are paranoid. You can tell he misses his best buddy.