I have told you about Mitchy Ray Sunshine, my co-pilot and friend —almost a year in from the date I picked him up at the Jehovah’s Witness Conference in Reading, PA under the cover of darkness. He is my ray of sunshine, my golden haired boy who lives to breathe the country smells—-hanging his beautiful head out the window to drink it all in, tasting it, savoring the summer as an aphrodisiac that my head understood and now my heart does too. I haven’t told you of his likes and dislikes— his love of dream bones with the terrier dance of joy in receiving them, the thrill of soup bones, and the comfort of his bed. I haven’t told you about his thrill in squirrels and being off leash—leading us on a merry chase throughout the neighborhood because he could—-with a saucy toss of the head and away he went. I haven’t told you of how he fell in love with us, just as much as we have with him from peaceful companionship on the deck of the porch, to claiming every stuffed animal in the house, to being a friend to every eye poking child or happy adult to meet him.
He has been my teacher, my mentor exclaiming every morning that today was going to be a brilliant, happy day. He had one of the strong ladders that were put down in my deep hole to help me raise myself from the darkness because his life has no dark corners, no sad spots. His life is filled with love and joy—-and a little anxiety which, he was finally quieting with his comfort in us and our life. His humor and head tilt was a reason to laugh—as he was one to give me many. He is one do pull me away from my desk (often pulling my shirt and tugging) to say there is more to life than this silly work you do. He herds me downstairs making sure I hit every step…always on the inside like a gentleman. He knows my routine—from the glasses go on, the phone is put in the pocket and the cane is grabbed and he is up and read…stubby tail wagging to partner with me from the moment I woke up to the next time we sleep. He followed for fabulous drink from the faucet to listening and returning when I call off leash (mostly). We were rarely apart—and I felt it and missed his glow, his intelligence and to my thinking his deep understanding. He is my dear companion—who I have been blessed to live with for this short time.
I picked Mitch up from the vet where he was boarding—-as we were out of town. The vet-tech said that he hadn’t eaten his breakfast which wasn’t an oddity—but was a note. This was last Tuesday. Mitch was quieter but I thought it might have been from going to Camp (which is what we called going to the kennel). But Wednesday and Thursday came with no eating and little drinking. He was lethargic and listless. Friday, I took him to the vet— who gave him subcutaneous infusion, fancy dog food and an appetite encourager….and he was so dehydrated, they suggested I look at his gums to see if he needed another infusion the next day. He did…so Saturday, it was the same. Sunday—slower/more lethargic though I made him his favorite, fried eggs and he scarfed them down in no time. Monday, more lethargy, but more eggs….and he was doing some crazy things like not being right next to me, standing in closets, and looking off in an aimless way—not like the targeted missile he generally projected. Tuesday, I called the vet again and we had blood drawn at 2pm. By 3, I had a call to say his kidney and liver functions were off the charts and to get to Cornell Vet Hospital ASAP. By 3:30 we were at Cornell getting him in ICU—with the team focusing on stabilizing him. Not worth getting into the detail but prior to data, it was projected that Mitch could have anything (on a spectrum) from a big urinary tract infection, to Lepto (a bug) to something critical that either had protocols to live a good life to one of death. We left him in Cornell’s care, with Mitch walking by the doctor like the show pony he is, ears up, tail up, and a bounce to every step.
Here we are two days later. I decided that one visits family in the hospital, so I went to visit to see how he was. No flowers but a dream bone for him. We played a little…but it was no Mitchy joy dance…slamming that bone and tossing it in the air as high as it could go. It was no Badgerdome experience—-but more that he was humoring me. He did not have the bounce to the ounce—and knew me—but couldn’t really stay up sitting, or even standing and slid to the floor at my feet as I hugged him and patted him and let him know we loved him. His doctor came in and gave it to me straight with lots of biology until I asked he point blank whether his kidneys were destroyed…and she said they were. His is not able to retain fluids—and that they have run out of options as he has Glomerular Disease— a condition that if not caught early can lead to chronic kidney disease. The doctor said that he has had this for quite a while….and yet, we did not know our ray of sunshine was not 100%. But that Mitch’s time was limited—and that we needed to think about next steps.
So here I am. Crying. Tearing rolling down my face over the decision that really has been already made about our dear boy, our sweet prince who brings light and laughter to me. Here I am missing him already—though I think he is already on his journey. He was not himself, and was glancing at the angels in the corners of the room—ears up, tail up—-seeing friends that were not in my spectrum of sight. I hope that's the case. My boy needs companionship on this next adventure— friends who will love him for his dear personality and life.
I hope I can give him the joy in release that he has given me. Mitch deserves the best because he is the best from the top of his ears to the tip of his metronome tail—including the laugh, the prance and his golden heart. My heart is broken losing a dear friend such as this dog. I have such blessings—and this comic dog is a great one.