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Goodbye To Ebony


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I'm new and sorry i haven't yet offered support to others. I'm a wreck right now. I'm completely drained and i just don't have enough to give to others. I'll just start crying all over the keyboard.

We had to unexpectedly euthanize our dog yesterday. Ebony was an adorable puppy--solid black (hence her name) with a beagle look, lab ears, and a tail that went on forever. She was a holy terror growing up. She ate three couches, two chairs, a million towels, socks, bedding, tissue boxes (tissues are so fun to toss around!), Tupperware lids... I'm sure you get the picture. She had a stubborn streak and she would give a little growl to express her disagreement but she quickly became obedient whether she wanted to do what was asked or not.

Ebony became my third foot. From the start, she stood with her little paws on the bottom rung of the ladder as i painted the kitchen ceiling. She "helped" quite a bit, sitting on my lap as i painted the trim and getting her paws, side, whiskers, and tail in the white paint! I struggle with extremely severe depression which often keeps me from working and Ebony became my near-constant companion. We walked three miles a day. Eventually she grew to be able to walk with me without a leash, following my commands with no question. She often rode along when i went on errands. She worked out in the yard with me. She was always willing to take a nap at my side. She loved to hunt squirrels (and caught 11 of them over the years--yucky!) She knew how to sneeze on command, turn around both ways, play hide and seek, and a total of just under a hundred commands, words, and/or phrases. At night she slept somewhere on the bed (usually wherever she wanted) with my husband and me.

Ebbers had a few injuries and illnesses over the years. She got her tail caught in the snowblower when she was a puppy (and cried for hours), had two bouts of coccidiosis which made her extremely sick, was attacked by a bigger dog on two different occasions (very minor injuries both times but lots of scariness), was "rolled over" by a car last summer (no none injuries), last March she ATE a bone and had to have surgery to get it out, and a couple of weeks ago she broke her leg chasing a squirrel. She only trusted me to carry her up the stairs when that was necessary. I'd carry her food to her. I'd give her water when she couldn't get to the bowl. I'd sit with her on the couch so she could snuggle right next to me. She was never happy about pain and avoided scary things like a plague. She'd hide at the vet's office and had to be muzzled for them to do her nails.

As we look back, we can see that something was going on with Ebony last fall. We don't remember exactly when it started but know that it was before Thanksgiving. She had been getting aggressive when bumped by someone. She would attack a foot or whatever accidently hit it, growling and giving what appeared to be warning bites--no skin broken, just lots of bluster. We would discipline her appropriately but every once in awhile it would happen again. She freaked out at Thanksgiving. She always laid under the table at holidays, out of the way, quietly vigilant for dropped tidbits. Our daughter moved her feet (didn't even bump Eb to her knowledge) and Ebony came flying after her feet, growling and snapping. I took her away but it was worrying to us. My husband and our daughter (age 19, huge dog lover) became afraid of her.

Her surgery in March and then her leg injury didn't help at all. Last week, with her leg in a cast, she would not allow us to put a plastic bag/sock on her cast to keep it clean and dry. I could touch her cast but could not slip a sock over it without having her growl and lunge at me. At other times, she was my sweet, loving cling-on, finding unauthorized games to play with the wastebasket or a rug when she was bored (and was supposed to be resting).

On Thursday afternoon/evening, Eb started tearing crazily at her cast. I couldn't stop her. Even verbally confronting her led to growling. Again, at other times she was sweet and affectionate. The tearing at her cast became worse and worse. We called the vet and made an appointment for Friday morning to see if something was hurting her. She had trouble settling down to sleep (My husband was sleeping downstairs because he was afraid of bumping her and having her attack his foot.) and consequently i didn't sleep well. I was up from 1:00 AM to almost 3:00. I thought that some of her leftover pain medication might be helpful. Still she kept attacking her cast frantically.

When i finally laid down at about 3:00, Ebony came flying up from mid-bed, growling and biting my face. I managed to roll over to gently restrain her until she calmed while blood steadily dripped from my nose, both inside and out. When she relaxed, i got up to wake my husband and take care of my face. There was nothing too serious about the bite. It could have been much worse. She missed my eye by less than 1/4". My nose has several little rips in it and is swollen like a tomato from the impact. My lip is split. It's sore but i think it looks worse than it is. Obviously, i was upset. I wasn't mad at Eb. I was just distraught, knowing that something was wrong with her, knowing that she wasn't okay, knowing that we were going to lose her.

My husband and son took Eb for her vet's appointment. I got her into the car and said as much goodbye as i could. It wasn't supposed to be like this. The vet has known us for several years and knows how much Eb and i loved each other. He understood the significance of her bite to the face--especially to my face. He knew that though Eb could be a grump, this was nothing like she'd ever exhibited before. He talked with the guys about the loss of trust and the concern that her aggression continued to increase. He wondered if she might have a tumor that was affecting her or whether or not her car "roll over" had done something to her. He shed tears with my husband as they said goodbye to Eb. Though it kills me to think of her going through it alone, my husband couldn't stand to be with her. (I really don't know if i could have either.)

We've been crying and sobbing off and on for the last 24 hours. I feel guilty, wondering if i somehow caused her to become so aggressive. I was her primary caretaker and trainer. Should i have done something different? Was she in pain? Did i miss that? She had played earlier in the day, bouncing around on her three legs and a thump. I wonder if we should have tried longer. I'd always expected her to live another three or four years.

I miss Ebony so bad. I keep wondering where she is, what mischief she might be into. She was my biggest comfort. Petting her would soothe my pain. I keep wanting to stroke her velvet coat so i can feel better. Then i remember that her not being here is what causes my pain. It's all so sad.

Thanks for listening and letting me tell you my story.

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My dear Eb's Mom ~ Your story breaks my heart, and I am so very sorry this happened to you and your family ~ and to your beloved Ebony. Clearly you did NOTHING to cause this, and under the circumstances I simply don't know what else you could have done but to act as responsibly as you obviously did to protect yourself, your family members and everyone else who came in contact with Ebony ~ even though I'm sure this was one of the most difficult decisions you've ever had to make. Please, please read through some of the other posts in this forum and follow some of the links that have been suggested, especially those about guilt and euthanasia ~ and go to the Pet Loss Articles page on my Grief Healing Web site, as well: http://www.griefhealing.com/pet-loss-articles.htm

You need to know that what you're experiencing is absolutely normal, predictable under the circumstances, and therefore something you and your husband can get through and will manage. You need to feel, express, work through and understand all of this ~ and that's what all of us are here to help you with. I'm so, so sorry . . . :(

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