When we finally arrived at our hotel in Costa Rica, after a full day of travel, there was an urgent message at reception. We had to call about our dog -- whom had gotten sick, the message didn't say which one. Strung-out from the travel, we had a quick meal, then called the vet. The wi-fi coverage is spotty at our jungle lodge, so the call had to take place in the dining area.
Charlie, the spotted one in the photo, was in serious trouble. I heard though my increasing alarm, that his esophagus had collapsed (this can happen with larger dogs, but I had never heard of it), and in his struggle to breathe, he went into heat stroke -- which can be deadly. The kennel owner had brought him in time to be sedated and his breathing restored, but we had serious decisions. The vet wasn't sure he could be healed, as there was a risk of his getting pneumonia, his body was covered in bruises -- heat stroke and his struggles had burst capillaries, and there were many possible complications. But, she would know whether he could recover after performing tests and more time passes. Treating him could involve a couple of weeks of intense care, with tubes everywhere and thousands of dollars.
I replied, "that's Charlie's idea of hell," and explained that he's mellow, but nervous when we dremel his nails at home; on slippery floors/stairs; with high winds or thunder.
"Oh, what a sweet boy," she said through tears. She understood exactly what kind of dog he was. I knew this was the end -- we had to put him down. It was excruciating and surreal. After hearing about what his life would be like, even if he did recover (I'd have to worry about the recurrence of heat stroke, and his esophagus could re-collapse, unless complicated surgery is done), I said, I'd call back in a few minutes with a decision.
My husband, Drew and I cried and wrestled with the harsh facts. For about 2 minutes, it was tempting to wait and see whether he was recoverable, to avoid ending his life. But, I pictured his fear of being in the vet, hooked to machines, with people doing unexplainable things to him, and without us being able to visit. We couldn't do that to him, especially with such unpredictable results.
Even after we had decided to put him down, initiating the return call was unimaginably hard. But, I did it. The vet and I were both crying, but I told her that we're ready to let him go. She said that's the bravest and most humane thing to do. I asked when it would happen and she said within an hour.
After the call, we were shell-shocked and still not checked into our room! Moving through a painful miasma, we were helped by respectful staff onto an electric car with our luggage, and driven over dark jungle paths to our bungalow. After getting into the room and figuring out the lights/bathroom, I got out my mesas and candles.
Drew and I opened Sacred Space with our tearful prayers to all the directions. Spirit guided me with the words. Even through our agony, I felt the energy shift into a receptive mode of Grace. The vet had said they would give Charlie plenty of love and petting when they did it, and I knew that was true. I had a vague sense of a pathway opening for him to be welcomed through, lined with love and acceptance. When we had run out of things to say about our lovely boy, we ended. Sleeping that night was tough.