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Friday, April 6, 2012

What Else Can Go Wrong?

When life keeps knocking you down. sometimes it's better to stay down for a little while until the mortar fire dies down. Even then, Fate finds a way to kick you in the teeth.

You remember a couple of weeks ago, two strays landed on our property. I put out flyers, contacted vets and every shelter I could find, but no one claimed the poor dogs, and the shelters wouldn't take them. We had decided early on we would keep them if no one wanted them.

R.I.P. Biscuit
The puppy (who we now called Biscuit) came down with Parvo a few days ago. Unlike Murray, Biscuit didn't have the stamina. Even though he had turned the corner and started drinking water on his own, the damage was too great on his little body. It makes me angry because we caught it early and started treatment immediately. But survival depends entirely on the dog's immune system.

We kept vigil over Biscuit as storms ripped through Texas. At the height of the rage, I noticed the pitch of the wind had changed. Greg stepped outside and saw a funnel cloud form. That's when the lights went out. 

We gathered the other dogs and put them in the only interior room we had without windows, then went back to Biscuit. We waited with him. He was too close to death to be moved.

If you've ever watched someone die slowly, it's a peculiar event. The heart races, struggling to keep the body alive, but the breaths grow shallower. In the end, the dying will give several short, deep gasps, a last ditch effort to keep breathing, and then...nothing. The heart continues to beat for a few seconds more, and then it too stops.

The winds grew harder, and the rain and hail came down like bullets. The storm crushed us in a fist, but we stayed put. As it reached its howling pinnacle, Biscuit breathed his last. Like some great Karmic irony, the brunt of the tornado and Biscuit's life ended at the same moment.

We grieved as if he had been with us all our lives. We had grown to love him that much.

Notice the gas price sign on the right. Yet there's no gas station in the area.
Only the edge of the tornado clipped us. Within an hour, the rain had stopped. With no power, and my cell nearly dead, we had to go out so I could recharge it on the car charger. We followed the devastation to the next town.

I don't have to tell you what a twister can do. Fortunately, most of our homes are set far from one another, so there wasn't as much damage as the folks further south of us suffered in Lancaster and Forney. 

At least I saw why we had no power. There was a metal shed twisted around the top of one of the power poles. You could see the path of the tornado as it flattened buildings in one great swath.

Here's a link with video of the tornadoes in action. Texas Tornadoes: Amazing Images of Storm


We have power again, but we don't have Biscuit. We still have who we think was probably his mother. She's an old lady and we'll be taking her to the vet today to get her vaccinations and heartworm test. 

She's been hard to name. I call her MaMa or Old Lady and she responds to those names more than anything else we've tried. The old girl has a home with us for as long as she lives. I wish we could have done as much for her baby. 

We're still hurting, a well of grief and anger. I am so tired of all this bad luck. There's a limit even for me.

Thank you for all your emails and phone calls over the past few days. We're still here, picking up the pieces.


Anonymous said...

In the end, he was truly home - loved and being cared for. You guys are great.

Maria Zannini said...

I want to believe that, Mel. The little guy deserved better than to be dumped.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I'm so so sorry about biscuit. And i'm so angry at those people who dumped him. I wish he could've known better kindness in his short life even though you guys were there for him at the end.
I'm glad the tornado missed you guys. How is the Tank and Old Lady relationship going?

Angelina Rain said...

I'm so sorry about the puppy. Is there a way to prevent Pervo? I've honestly never really heard of it until you mentioned it with Muray and now Biscuit.

I'm glad you made it through the storm and sorry for your loss. *Hugs*

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: There's a distinct air of d├ętente between them. :) A little growling when one gets too close to the other, but those are just warning grumbles, nothing serious. The old girl is soooo grateful. She will do anything we ask.

Angelina: Parvo is extremely contagious. There's a vaccine, but if a puppy contracts parvo before he's been vaccinated, no drug will help. It's all up to his immune system. The vet told me even vaccinated dogs up to 3 years old can contract parvo. It all depends on the dog.

Rebekah Loper said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, and I'm glad that you guys are okay after the tornadoes!

We've had our share of pet heartache lately too - my mom had to have her diabetic cat put down a few months back, and then we unexpectedly lost another cat (the mother of three kittens we still own - though the kittens are 10 now) a few weeks ago to pneumonia and kidney failure, brought on by a severe upper respiratory infection. It was the same with as with Biscuit - she had turned the corner, but just didn't have the stamina anymore :(.

Hopefully, we're both about to turn the corner to better things! *hugs*

Maria Zannini said...

I'm so sorry, Rebekah. It's the unexpected ones that are the worst. I think that's what made it worse for us. We got one small glimmer of good luck and then he died anyway. It's just so unfair.

Hugs, sweetie.

Jennifer Shirk said...

That is so sad, Maria.
What a time you've been through lately. {{hugs}}
But I'm so glad you're safe.

Jay Paoloni said...

I'm sorry about poor Buscuit. Truly sorry.

Krista D. Ball said...

My thoughts are with you through all this.

Dru said...

I'm so sorry for what's been happening. I like to think the rest of the year will be brighter. {{hugs}}

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I'm sorry you've have to go through all that, especially losing Biscuit. He was lucky to have had you. I hope things turn around for you and your family soon. :hug:

Angela Brown said...

I want to be angry with you, for you. Yet I can't yank myself from the beauty out of this tragedy.

I wasn't sure how things would go after Murray passed. I know your heart is half human/half-Animal Planet because you just love animals to bits. But having the strays show up put that part of your heart back on extra active. With Biscuit getting sick, he was with people who cared for him and loved him. Who wanted him to stay though it was his time to go. And he went on a powerful note, his last breath joined with the last breath of that blustering storm. With each thing that didn't go right, something worthwhile came from it. You got MaMa. Biscuit knew love and in its own poetic way, his passing brought an end to the storm.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: They say God never gives you more than you can handle. I truly wish he didn't have so much faith in me. :)

Jay: The little guy deserved better. I hope I never meet the people who dumped these poor dogs.

Krista: Thank you, hon.

Dru: Hope springs eternal. I know I keep getting knocked down, but give me a little break and I'll pop right back up.

Maria Zannini said...

Sandra: The nice thing about life is that nothing ever stays the same. I could go for a positive cycle about now.

Angela: For someone so young, you have a way of putting things in perspective. Thank you, sweetie.

Clarissa Draper said...

Oh, I'm so sorry again. My heart is breaking for all your loss. Please don't give up. What you have been through is so tough. Please, feel free to email me if you want to talk.

Stacy McKitrick said...

You have a big heart, Maria, and apparently word gets out. Biscuit's journey was inevitible, but you probably made it easier for him.

I also thought about you when I heard about the storms in Dallas (even though I wasn't sure what part of Texas you live). I'm glad you're fine.

Stacy said...

Oh Maria, this all just breaks my heart for you. I am sending you giant warm hugs and lots of healing thoughts, my friend.

Jackie Burris said...

"If it were'nt for bad luck I'd have no luck at all, gloom, despair and agony on me!"

I think of that HeeHaw song every time you post "What else can go wrong?" Maria my heart is crying for you but little Biscuit gave you joy and you returned it tenfold never doubt that!

Hugs to you all, hopefully the weather will have settled and your area gets no more unwelcome "surprises".

Maria Zannini said...

Clarissa: If life would just cut me some slack and give me a chance to recover, I'll get back on the horse again. But all these sucker punches are killing me. I don't even mention half the stuff that's gone wrong, only the big hurtful things.

Stacy McKitrick: I didn't realize south Texas got hit with tornadoes too earlier in the week. I have friends who lost homes and cars in their storms. It's been a rough week for most of the state.

Stacy: Thanks, hon. I'm okay. Just tired. Every time we look at the old MaMa, we think of Biscuit.

Jackie: I don't think any of us expected that sort of weather. If it hadn't been for me mentioning to Greg that I thought the sound of the wind had changed, he might not even have looked outside. I'm glad he did. And I'm glad that twister turned away from us instead of toward us.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Sending good thoughts your way. Stupid words can be so useless. (((hugs)))

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Sometimes a hug says more than any words. Thanks, hon.

Raelyn Barclay said...

{{hugs}} Maria! When you posted on FB I'd thought you'd lost him in the storm. That it was Parvo, after all you went through with Murray, pulls all the more on the heart.

So wrong those fur babies were dumped yet they couldn't have landed in better hands. I know you gave him the love he needed and made his final days beautiful. There's something, I don't know, special, maybe even peaceful, in his release from this life coming at the end of the storm.

MaMa is blessed to have you, my friend. As you've said to me, it puts a smile on my face that she has found a home with you.

I'm also thankful you and Greg made it through the storm. {{hugs}}

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: MaMa is such a grateful dog too. She never leaves our side and asks for nothing. What makes me sad is that when we kiss her she doesn't kiss back. I don't think anyone has ever shown her any affection. She rolls around like a little puppy every time we praise or pet her.

Other than her severe arthritis, the vet gave her a clean bill of health, so she is up to date on all her shots and meds.

Mike Keyton said...

Maria, I am so sorry for all you have had to put up with. Hard times make great hearts but that only offers retrospective comfort. You might like this link.

Melissa McClone said...

I'm so sorry, Maria. When we lost Pumpkin who we'd only had for a few hours we all cried so hard. And losing Crystal who we'd been fostering for a few weeks devastated me. It doesn't matter how long they are with us, we love them. And when we lose them it hurt. Badly.

At least sweet Biscuit knew love and a home. I'm sure MaMa feels fortunate that they found you. Hugs.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I'm sorry all this is happening to you, Maria. You're in my thoughts. You're such a wonderful person for taking care of both dogs.

Shelley Munro said...

Oh, Maria. I'm so sorry. You really are having a rough time at present. Sending you a big virtual hug.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: LOL. I remember that song. If only alcohol can cure my ills.

Melissa: I'm so glad you stopped by to tell me this. I was afraid people would think I was a bit eccentric for falling in love with these guys so quickly. But they needed us and we couldn't turn our backs on them.

Barbara: The alternative of seeing them put to sleep or get run over by traffic was never option. I wish it was a case that someone had lost them, but now I realize they had been dumped. Poor babies. I hope the culprits go to a special hell.

Shelley: All hugs welcomed. It's good to be surrounded by friends.

Kaz Augustin said...

Oh no, not Murray then Biscuit! I'm so sorry, M, but thankful you only caught the edges of that twister. Hang in there. All our thoughts and best wishes are with you, Greg and your four-pawed family.

Maria Zannini said...

Kaz: It's been a rough year. I can't deny that.

When I spoke to the vet, he said Parvo has risen sharply this year. It could be owners weren't vaccinating the mothers or their puppies. Either way, it's reached almost epidemic proportions. I can hardly talk to anyone local who hasn't been affected in some way.

We vaccinate our guys immediately. When Iko was a puppy, we wouldn't even let him visit other dogs until he had his first shots.

Kim said...

Many hugs - you are good people. Biscuit's life might have been too short, but in the end, he was loved and cared for and that's what matters. Good thoughts coming your way...

Maria Zannini said...

Kim: I know you're right, but I wish the poor little guy could've had a better break. I spoke to the vet and he said it's been the worse season of Parvo he's seen in ages. People are not vaccinating their dogs. Thanks for stopping by.