January 31, 2021 at exactly 1:30 a.m. is my first heartbreak as a fur parent. My 8-year-old lab, Sumi Tien, succumbed to congenital heart failure, which the veterinarian said, might have been the result of hypothyroidism. I know I wished and prayed for her passing because she had been in pain since December. However, I can’t help but be lonely.
I had Sumi in 2013, along with another lab, Tobie with the intentions of breeding them for profit. However, I had a change of heart after crush videos of dogs surfaced online. My conscience will never take it if one of their pups will go to these heartless people.
We had dogs but I never had a dog I can call my own. I never knew I would be deeply in love with them.
On December 2020, I noticed a huge bump near Sumi’s armpit and it was causing her pain. I brought her to the nearest clinic where the vet gave her antibiotics and because of her skin pattern, she advised me to take her to another clinic for hypothyroidism tests. I booked two roving doctors for a second opinion and third opinion. None of them mentioned cancer.
I brought her to the vet in January and had series of tests, including two frames of x-ray to rule out lots of things. The vet confirmed she has hypothyroidism but she has also water in her lungs, which is an indication that she has a weak heart. The bump is not cancer, the vet said. It’s a mismanaged wound. The fees were soaring high and I admit, I was not financially prepared. Even though I managed to withdraw all my freelancing earnings and bought all her medicines, I was still not prepared.
Sumi became weaker and weaker. She also started to ignore her food, which is rare for her. Even moving from one angle to another is also painful. Though I forced-fed her, I saw how her body became thinner and thinner.
Though she’s weak, she never gave me hard times — she will bark hysterically when she felt she need to pee or poo. I’ll carry her outside where she will just let her body fall and do her thing. Despite her weak body, she is still a very good girl. I don’t deserve her.
On January 30, I went out to buy coffee and cream. When I returned I heard her from outside barking super loud and she was obviously in pain. My father and sister also mentioned it to me. When I entred the room, she stopped barking and playfully wagged her tail. Obviously, she doesn’t want me to worry. I knew she’ll be out. I talked to her – I always do – asking her to give up. I told her that I, Tobie, and Janina (my cat) will be all right.
On January 31 at about 1:20 a.m., I saw on my peripheral vision that she was moving. I looked at her and she stood. She then used all her remaining strength to jump from my bed (her favorite sleeping place). I was not able to catch her. She was wagging her tail as I pick her. I thought she wanted to pee. So, I carried her out and let her do her thing. I took my old clothes, which I used to clean her after she’s done. When I looked at her, she was just staring at me, trying to balance herself. From the outside, she walked towards me and wagged her tail. I let her lick my face. I thought she was just thirsty so I went to my room to get her water bowl (she can still drink on her own). When I returned she was laying on the floor and staring blankly. I looked at her – she glanced at me and wagged her tail. Then her eyes started to move rapidly. She breathed heavily and started to shake frantically. She was obviously gasping for air. I bid her goodbye, thanked her for all the love, and apologized for my shortcomings.
She stopped breathing.
I carried her and wrapped her with my old blanket. That’s the time I cried. I didn’t show much emotions when I was taking care of her because I don’t want to upset her. I don’t want her to feel sad because she’s leaving.
The first 24 hours of her passing was hellish. I can’t help but blame myself. I should have worked harder in the past years because if I did, I might have my own car so I can bring her to the vet anytime (I only book home services for their checkups). If I had saved more, I might have attended to her needs. I always dreamed of bringing the two of them to the beach but I failed — it’s now just a dream.
Things are getting better now and I’m able to accept things. I still have Tobie and Janina. They are still my responsibilities. I also promised her that I’ll continue with my dreams of having an incorruptible animal rescue team. I am more motivated now.
Maybe, God allowed this to happen so I can realize my dreams and I shouldn’t give up. Though I’m still sad, I am continuing. I’ll cherish all the good things my Sumi girl gave me.
So long my Sumi girl — ’til we meet again.