On Thursday evening, we fed the dogs, and had supper. Mika laid beside me for all of the meal and then stretched out for a little nap. After supper I came in to put my legs up and R & M stretched out to watch a movie. Around 11:00 Michael put the dogs out for their late night potty and we all went to bed. About fifteen minutes later Rachael came knocking on my door saying, “Mama, there’s something wrong with my old dog!
Mika was pacing the floor and panting in obvious distress. Because of her arthritic hips she was having difficulty staying on her feet but was unable to breathe if she lay down. Her throat and chest were swollen and there was a large hard lump on her right side, just back of her ribcage. Nothing in my 50 years of experience dealing with sick and injured dogs gave me any idea of how to treat her. My only advice was to find an emergency vet clinic.
I began combing the internet to find an all night veterinarian in Westerville. With all the floods of data available online, it still requires that you enter the proper terms to get to the information needed. As it happened I had to remove the specific ‘Westerville’ from my search parameters and use ‘Columbus’ instead. That gave me a chart of five or six all night clinics. One was only a few minutes from us. Michael called them to make sure they were open and Rachael was dressed. They took Mika to the doctor about 12:30.
I didn’t know exactly what was wrong, but my ‘gut-feeling’ was that the large hard lump was not going to be treatable with out very expensive surgery. And about an hour later Michael called to say that Mika had a twisted stomach and barring a $2500 surgery could not be helped. The flipped stomach twisted her esophagus and that in turn was restricting her windpipe and breathing. There was no way to remedy that except surgery and although the prognosis for that was good, it wasn’t sure. Mika was 15 years old and the vet said that given her apparent breed mixtures, her life expectancy was limited. That was difficult but still what I expected.
The vet let Rachael sit with Mika for a few minutes and then euthanized her. They will have her ashes ready for us in a few days.
Mika went to college with Rachael almost 15 years ago. She was only a tiny ball of fluff. I don’t think Rachael expected her to get as big as she did, but Mika grew into a formidable protector. He pitch black coloring was intimidating. She liked women but was suspicious of strange men to the day she died. After she met any of Rachael’s guy friends she accepted them and was even friendly, but no stranger dared to approach Rachael with Mika’s threatening stare guarding her.
Her death was as traumatic as the passing of any human. Michael sent texts to all of their friends who knew and loved her. All of them responded with love and sympathy for Rachael. And for Michael. He had loved her too.
Mika, we miss you.