So if you knew us or followed my blog pre-kids, you knew about our dogs. We were obsessed with them. All three of them. We used to say we were a "blended" family because I had 2 dogs before we got married and Jimmy had one and then we forced them to live together - and in the beginning days...it was rough. To be honest, Milly (the littlest and oldest) doesn't really like Toby (the youngest and biggest and Jimmy's dog), but after 5+ years of living together...they just live with it.
Here's the sad truth.
When we had Charlie, our dogs immediately were a second priority. I never ever thought that would be us either. We weren't "those" people. But all of a sudden this precious baby boy was ours and he became the most important thing.
We had a little scare with Willy the winter before Charlie was born and I was pregnant. He had gotten pretty fat and they thought he needed back surgery. The potential of thousands of dollars of vet bills when we had our first child (who, yes, children are expensive) on the way in just six months - Jimmy and I had some tough conversations. Do we move forward with the surgery and spend all that money? Or do we put him down to ensure he doesn't suffer because we really weren't in a place to spend all that money on something that might not make him feel better...and he was 10 years old.
Luckily, I walked him a TON before Charlie arrived and he lost a bunch of weight, the pressure that was putting on his back was relieved and all was well. And then we had Charlie.
Fast forward two years...then we had Maddie.
Two kids. Age 2 and an infant. Managing that in itself was stressful, but add three aging dogs to your list of things that rely solely on you for survival and things can get a bit hectic.
But we made it work. Honestly, I really like the look on people's faces (of shock) when I tell them we have three dogs (it's like WTF in case you are wondering). And if I'm brutally honest with my emotional self, I really really do like that my kids interact so much with so many different dogs. The dogs have changed a lot since Charlie's arrival almost 3 years ago - and as they have gotten older, they have actually gotten better and pretty much let the kids do whatever to them (within reason). Not kidding when I say Maddie's face LIGHTS up when we sees Willy come around the corner or Toby down the hall. She crawls right over to them. Pretty sweet.
But they spend lots of time in their kennel and in the basement. And they are OLD. Milly is 15, Willy is 13 and Toby is 11. In miniature dachshund years, that's actually not that old (my dog growing up, Puddles, passed away at 18 years old just last fall and Daisy, who is 16, is still living with my parents), but life here at the Carter house is not a walk in the park for these pups - as our priority when taking care of needs for sure lies with our kids first and them second. Sometimes I don't care and then sometimes I feel just horrible because I wish I had more time to take care of them.
They have each other though!!! So that's good. Milly and Willy have been together for ever (I adopted them together when they were 6 and 8). Just a few months ago, Willy was diagnosed with diabetes. He was peeing all over and not able to control his bladder and it smelled. Drinking water constantly and just not himself. So when he went to the vet and they confirmed it was diabetes, we weren't surprised because we knew something was up.
At that time, we were unsure what to do. Jimmy talked to our vet and Jimmy ended up getting him into a trial in the KC area where they cover the insulin and he goes into have his levels monitored to make sure he's responding to the insulin correctly. Well, the one shot a day test didn't work so they increased it to two shots a day. Jimmy is a trooper and does it all - I just can't. I'm not sure if I'm in denial and sadness because he's sick or just annoyed that it's one more thing in our lives that we have to find to do!
In the mean time, Milly's health is deteriorating, she cannot control her bladder either and can barely walk...and we think she might be blind. I swear she has lost 2 lbs - and on a dog that was only 7 to begin with...that's a lot.
Yesterday, I picked up the phone and called our vet. I was going to talk to him about the unthinkable. And then I got a message saying that they were closed on Wednesday afternoons and to call back tomorrow. Oh my goodness. So I called today and we talked for a long time. See our vet is amazing. He's one of Jimmy's friend's from grade school (and now he and his wife are two of my good friends as well) dad. He's great. He gets it - that we don't want to see them go, but it's so hard to keep them alive. He said everything I wanted and needed to hear to me and all the things too that I might not have wanted to hear - but needed to. That yes, this is the right thing to do because it's their life too that I need to think about. He made me think of lots more things and walked me through what it would all be like, their final moments for them and for us.
But then I sucked it up. Because he was right when he said...being an adult really sucks. And it does. And grown up decisions suck.
Our dogs have been with my parents the last day and night because our back yard is a mud pit right now from construction + rain - but I miss the dogs. Our house is so so quiet after the kids go to bed. So uneventful. It's weird. And with 3 less things to take care of....I literally do not know what to do with myself. To be honest...3 dogs + 2 kids = a crazy life...but it's our crazy life and I love it.
Thinking about Milly and Willy not being part of our crazy life - it doesn't seem right.
Our kids love them - just look and see!
They were there for both kids first walks!
I swear Willy protected both babies when they came home (Maddie on the left and Charlie on the right). He is such a sweet guy!
Maddie and Willy had lots of fun while I was on maternity leave!!
The dynamic duo themselves....
Milly came from downstairs!!
Seriously ALWAYS chaos and a mess - just the way we like it!!
After Willy got diagnosed :(
Off to the vet they go - what a good dad!
Charlie invites everyone into his crib in the morning.
They were my snuggle partners when I recovered from foot surgery last December. This is when they didn't pee all over and smell so bad.
And because I know it's hard to believe I was really that obsessed with my dogs - you should know that before this blog existed (I got them in September 2008)...I posted an entire 26 picture album of their arrival at my condo and the first night I adopted them. TWENTY SIX pictures on facebook. Holy cow. And here are only like 17 of them...
And just because I'm on a roll - here are some of our dogs form our wedding day!!! I dressed them up, got my cousins to watch them and sit outside while our guests walked in.....
I even incorporated them into our favors - everyone got puppy chow (that my mom and I made in bulk) with a tag with one of the three dogs' pictures on it saying "thank you for coming to our mom and dad's wedding".
If that doesn't confirm your belief in my obsession - I have over 50 posts tagged for "dogs". For real? That is more than my children have!!!! Check it out below...
Like OMG. We are nuts. But now looking back - how will we ever say goodbye?
I don't think I can. But I feel like it's not fair.
This post really has no true flow to it, so I apologize - but I'm glad I got to go back and look at some old pictures (some 5 years ago and some a few weeks ago!). Because it reminded me what a part of our family they really are. And what a good life they have had - we have all had - with them as a part of our family. Our lives were all changed when I adopted them that day and I couldn't be more thankful that we got to call them ours for so long!!
So who knows when/if this will happen. But it's just so hard and I'm going through feeling like it's the right thing to do and then the worst thing to do. Jimmy says he's going to just take them next week while I'm out of town for work because I cannot handle it - but I will be so mad at him!!! I need a proper goodbye and of course, one final family picture of the 7 of us....