One year ago, on November 17th 2005, my mom had a very, very bad day.
This is Shula. Mom rescued sweet Shula Mae from some people who, at the very senior age of 13 1/2, decided they did not want to build a fence at their new house. So they decided to "get rid" of her.
Luckily, my mom was there to say "I'll take her" when she got a message on her Sibernet list that Shula needed a new home.
Shula was a tiny little girl. She didn't know how to play with toys, and she was rather shy around her new mom and new siblings, Abby and Samuel. She grew to really love Samuel, and followed him everywhere. Mom use to call her Sam's "mini me" because she was like Sam's shadow, only a much smaller version.
Shula's favorite spot to nap was in front of the little floor fan.
She especially liked it in the summer when the nice cool air from the air conditioning vent was also blowing on her.
Mom knew when she took this little girl into her home, that she most likely wouldn't be around long. But she knew that she would make the time she had left the happiest, most loving time Shula had ever experienced.
Even at 14 and 15 years old, she loved to go for walks. She would run on her 26 foot retractable leash in circles, cuz she just loved to run. She had some arthritis in her back legs so sometimes she looked like a bunny hopping along. She really looked forward to her daily walks and runs.
She also liked to boss Sam around. She had a funny little bark that sounded more like a pirate saying "aaarrrrr" than a bark. She acted like Sam's mom, and yelled at him when he was misbehaving.
When she came to live with mom (before she was married to dad) she was told by Shula's former owners that Shula didn't like to be inside. What mom found out, was that they just didn't let her in the house, cuz at mom's house she loved being inside, and would only go outside long enough to potty, and then wanted to come right back in. She had her "spot" on the floor in the bedroom, on her special blankie, where she slept every night. When mom and dad got married, Shula got a new house, with a doggie door, and a ramp to help with her arthritis so she wouldn't have to use stairs. She also got her blankie in the new bedroom, and once again, had her sleeping spot at the end of the bed.
As her 16th birthday neared in October 2005, she became very picky with her food. I guess mom had to feed her warmed up hot dogs, chicken nuggets, baby food, and even baked chicken and rice (just for her) so she would eat. She would eat her canned dog food, but only right out of the can if mom fed it to her on a fork. Wow, talk about training your human!
Shula became very ill, very quickly. Mom took her in to the vet on a Monday November 14th after Shula had an episode that mom thought might have been a seizure, and they did some tests and found out that her red blood count was so low, she was only 2 points away from needing a transfusion. What mom thought was a seizure, was actually her body reacting to a lack of oxygen in her blood. So they put her on iron pills to see if that would help. She was extremely weak, and had a very hard time walking, and even standing up. Mom would carry her outside to potty, and then carry her back inside. I guess it was a good thing she only weighed about 43 pounds. Mom didn't get hardly any sleep that week because she was always up checking on Shula to be sure she was doing ok. But Shula got weaker, and by Thursday the 17th, when mom got up that morning, Shula didn't even have enough strength to lift her head to eat. So mom knew it was time to make that terribly difficult decision all pet parents hate to make.
She waited for dad to get home from work at 7 a.m., and then they called the vets office and wrapped Shula in her favorite blankie and took her in. Mom had them test her blood one more time, just in case there was something that could be done to help her. But there wasn't. Shula's red blood count had fallen below the line for needing a transfusion. The medication wasn't working, and the red blood cells weren't re-generating. The vet thought it was some form of leukemia and the bone marrow just wasn't working any longer. So mom made that super hard decision, and let her sweet "MaeMae" go over the bridge to play with all the other doggies and kitties who were there waiting to welcome her.
Mom was extremely upset. She was so grief stricken that she couldn't go to work for 2 whole days. Even though she knew she had done everything she could for Shula to have a wonderful, full life, it was still extremely hard on her to let her little MaeMae go. She knows she gave her MaeMae everything she could, and the fact that she lived to be 16 years old, just shows how well mom took care of her. She got way more time than she probably would have at her other house. Shula sure was a tough little girl.
The beautiful cedar box with her ashes sits on the fireplace ledge along with her picture. Mom wants to keep her sweet little girl close so she can always remember the life she saved, and how precious their time spent together truly was.
I guess it was a good thing she spotted me in that corn field just a month later on Christmas Eve, cuz it really helped take her mind off losing Shula. I'm really glad I could help cheer mom up, and remind her that rescuing a life in need is very important. She gave Shula a chance to live a longer, happier life, with tons and tons of love and attention.
I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get the same treatment for the rest of my life too.
(helping mom keep the tears away)