Just before midnight on July 25th, my husband had a sudden seizure. He was officially declared dead at 12:55am, though his heart had stopped approximately 30 minutes early. On July 24th, we got a new two month old puppy.
My husband had been extra stressed that week. He’d had a setback at work which added a little weight onto his shoulders, but the boulder he was crushed under was his mother’s move from Arizona to Pennsylvania. She is an emotional woman that is often myopic, and she had said some cruel things in the month leading up to her move. About a week before the move, they had a huge fight because once again, she was asking him for money. This time, $2000. He said no and things blew up. It was as though by not giving her that large chunk of money, he was a selfish, horrible son, or at least that was how she did her best to make him feel in order to manipulate our savings from him. Obviously, the money was to fund her cross country move. Since she didn’t get the money, she decided to move without it. To keep the peace, when we had a goodbye dinner with her and her husband, I had him give her $200 to give him peace of mind. However, on the first day their vehicle broke down and he kept being contacted about her being stranded. I have seen him stressed out, but never so stressed out as he was because of her. It was so bad that I suspect it contributed to or even caused his fatal seizure. And yes, this is the same woman I mentioned a few days ago that stole from me.
It was unusual that week that we had taken off that Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, we decided to go to the mall just to get out of the house. We then walked by the pet store, which in Phoenix at the malls was not really a pet store. Instead, the pet stores are now run by the ASPCA and just have shelter dogs. As a couple with three dogs, we knew better than to walk into that store. Against our better judgement, we decided to “just look”. Then it happened. We saw the cutest little puppy prancing around. My husband got the bowled-over-by-cute look on his face and put his hand on the glass. The puppy walked up to him and put her paw on the glass right where his hand was. Right then, I knew I was screwed.
I managed to get him out of there and we went to lunch in the mall. Over lunch, we talked about the puppy. I knew there was no way I could say no to him after seeing his face and her tricky maneuver of putting her paw on his hand through the glass, so I decided to put the decision completely in his hands. Despite his protests, I refused to give an opinion because I would not break his heart. Yes, I am a huge sucker. Finally, he took a deep breath and said “Let’s go get a puppy!” And so we did. I figured as long as we didn’t have more dogs than hands, we would be okay.
He spent the last day and a half of his life completely adoring that little puppy. He took picture after picture. When I teased him about it, he said “She won’t be this little forever, we must document her!” He uploaded a slew of pictures to Facebook with a post that said something like “Everyone is just going to have to deal with a continuous onslaught of cute for a while.” I took a video of him that afternoon letting her attack his face as he is laying down on the carpet. At one point, the puppy burps and he gets so excited, hugs her and says “That’s a doggy after my own heart!” Her burps still make cry, which is probably one of the weirdest triggers on the planet for sobs. I have watched that video so many times looking for some hint of the horror to come, but have come up empty. He was happy and laughing. He was himself.
That night, he had decided to sleep downstairs to be near the puppy cage because he was so thrilled with her. That was why I had to run downstairs when I heard the sounds of his seizure. Maybe that is part of why almost two months later I still sleep downstairs, I don’t know.
In the days that followed my husband’s death, there was a revolving door of people. When someone was having a hard time, I handed them the puppy and there was no way they couldn’t smile. My husband was a huge believer in therapy dogs, so in a way it is fitting that he picked out and made the decision to get this scruffy little distraction. I do the best I can to get her trained, but truthfully I feel like I’m doing a horrible job. If I could afford obedience classes, I’d be all over it, especially since she has now learned how to jump onto the couch and thinks my face is a dance floor when I am sleeping.
Overall, she is incredibly special.
Good thing for today: I successfully solved a problem with my scanner. I had always let that sort of thing be my husband’s responsibility because he seemed to enjoy it. I felt pretty proud of myself to handle it myself.