I'm blogging from Australia! I have a lot to share with you about this amazing place, but I need to go back before I can go forward.
When we first got our sweet puppy Teddy, I was on summer break and hadn't started summer school. We timed it this way on purpose so that I could be home to get him started on the right foot with house training. He came from a foster home where there were several puppies, including his bother, and a mom (not his mom) that all slept together. If we put him in his crate alone, he would cry and cry because he wasn't use to sleeping alone. We tried putting Ruby in there with him and it worked like a charm. He would stop crying and go right to sleep. Poor Ruby went from being the little princess of the house to a big sister with all new responsibilities and irritations.
I would wake up early, let them out of the crate, take Teddy outside, and spend most of the day sitting on the floor playing with him and anticipating his need to go potty. This is also how I spent the last week of his life, one year later.
Teddy loved to eat socks and underwear. It didn't start right away, but by the time he was about 8 months old, we were very aware of him swallowing and passing whole socks and underwear without even chewing them. We knew this wasn't normal, but he was part Lab and we also knew labs tend to chew everything. We thought it was a part of his puppy phase and did our best to hide our clothing and keep bedroom doors closed when we weren't home.
Right before our one year wedding anniversary, Teddy had horrible symptoms that told us that something was definitely not right. It was a Sunday, so we took him to the emergency vet down the street. They did some x-rays and couldn't detect anything. They decided to keep him overnight to monitor him and give him fluids. We got a call around 8pm from the vet telling us that he had passed a sock. We were relieved, but a bit frustrated, as we had a bill of nearly $800 waiting for us when he would have been fine if we kept him at home.
After that incident, we were determined to keep him away from anything cloth that he might want to eat. He seemed to be learning. After a while, even if we left a closet door open, he wouldn't go near it. Again, we relaxed and assumed this phase of puppyhood was over...
I couldn't get excited for our big trip. I actually seriously considered not going. On that last walk with Teddy, I got stung by a bee on my finger and it swelled into a huge sasauge. It felt like a physical reminder of the pain in my heart. I feel like if I'm happy and enjoying myself, I am betraying my dear Teddy. If I spend money (our flight and hotel are free, but not the activites, food, or shopping), I feel guilty for not using that to pay for surgery. I know that surgery would not have worked and made his final moments much more horrible, but I have these constant "what ifs" going through my mind.
I am moving on, but it is a slow process. Ruby is at the ranch with my in-laws, having a ball playing with their two dogs, so I know she is happy and well cared for. I miss her so much and look forward to cuddling with her again, spoiling her with treats and toys and kisses. Losing Teddy has made me appreciate Ruby so much more. It has also taught me a lot about being a better pet owner. I vow to take Ruby on more walks and to the dog park frequently so she can have plently of play time. I promise to be more knowledgeable and not just assume something is part of a phase. I also commit to getting pet insurance when we decide to get another dog, but that won't be for at least a few years.
Thank you to everyone for your comments. I really appreciate all the love and support.