Between the Woofs: Grief – Ups and Downs

Well, 3 months have passed. There are times I think the pain is getting worse rather than better. Emmy is extremely happy with her new family (does that make me jealous? I think so, at times) and her health needs are being addressed very well.

In the meantime, between the woofs, I’ve contacted the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) about their Assistance Dog Loss Service. I don’t want my grief over Emmy to interfere with me bonding with the new woof, do I?

My (now Their) Emmy – such a wonderful assistance dog! I have a brief slideshow that I made from some of Emmy’s pix. I watch it from time to time – not so often that I get maudlin about her, but just to refresh my memory and love for her.

Himself keeps reminding me, “She was your employee, not just your precious pet.” He is right. But the 5 1/2 years we were together were precious to me, and created a bond deeper than I, a “cat person,” ever dreamed I would or even could have with a dog. Himself has taken up many of Emmy’s tasks – and I realize just how independent I was with her. I still needed help, you understand, but SHE provided most of the help. I didn’t have to ask other people for help nearly as much as I do without her.

So, life goes on. My birthday is coming up – and we are going to Medieval Times for dinner! I’m sure I’ll think, “wouldn’t Emmy be interested in those horses!” But, we’ll just have to go to Medieval Times again [this is the original website] after the new woof comes into our lives. Maybe for my next birthday! That’s something positive to look forward to!

Meantime, here is a picture of Emmy with her little boy – just too cute! Think she fell into clover? You betcha! 🙂

Emmy sleeps with the youngest boy (9). Think they adore each other?

Emmy sleeps with the youngest boy (9). Think they adore each other?

Stardate: -309719.1535705226

Well, Emmy’s been back since January 31. When she arrived she had well-furred ears (!) and looked great. She, naturally, was a bit shaky on her cues, but we finally got those pretty straightened out.

Now, after 2 1/2 months, and the onset of deep Atlanta spring, Emmy is back to itching, licking, gnawing, and scratching. I’ve started wiping her off, especially her feet and legs, when she comes in from being outside. I have tried a wet washrag, dog wipes, and baby wipes. The baby wipes work as well as the other two, leave a slight fragrance that doesn’t seem to bother Emmy, and are easier than the wet washrag. They help some, but not enough. Emmy has also had her first yeast infection (R ear) of the season – despite cleaning and drying ears daily – sometimes twice daily. So, I’ve added Posatex to the grooming routine – again. She is taking Hydroxyzine Pamoate (one of the older antihistamines) and it works better than the (cheaper) benadryl. She is less groggy, doesn’t sleep as much, and can function fairly well despite it. But she still has some problems with paying attention while under it’s influence. I give her a cue, and she stares me (or off into space) as if to say, “I’ve heard that before, I know I should know it, but I can’t get it together.”

We have talked with my liaison at PAALS, and we are looking at a “re-career” move for Emmy – to being a pet with my youngest son and his family. As for me, we have a lot of thinking to do. A smaller Lab from this year’s class, or wait for a Golden Retriever from next year’s class. We have decided to not go for this year’s class because I really need a larger dog, so that will make it next summer before I can be partnered again.

Another option our liaison mentioned is to apply with another service dog provider who might have a larger breed. Well, that’s certainly an option, BUT – we are very strongly attached to PAALS, it’s programs, what they stand for, and the people who are there and who train the dogs. Our liaison said PAALS will understand whatever decision we make because we know what I need and how soon it will be critical.

So, here we are. Already grieving about losing Emmy as my partner – after only 4 1/2 years together. But she’ll be with our youngest son and we’ll be able to see her from time to time.

SIGH! It’s a big decision any way we look at it.

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