by Antoinette Olivia TAYLOR
In July 2020 I finally decided to take the plunge and search for a new four-legged friend. I was blessed to find Luigi Paris Zane a beautifully all rounded Bolognese.
Luigi rapidly became the new focus and love in my life, or to be more accurate – my baby. Tuesday, the 15th of March when he was just two days shy of 22 months old, my heart was broken once again when I had to decide to let my baby go to a permanent sleep.
For about four weeks, he had a bowel disposition, and his stomach became bloated in the last two weeks of his life. We tried him on different foods, and ensured that he always received a mix with his favourite cooked chicken. It’s difficult to accept but I had done everything in my power to prevent Luigi’s fate. But I must not be angry with myself. It’s painful otherwise.
The evening of Monday 14 March, I returned to the vet to collect Luigi. Refusing to accept that this was likely to be my final night with him. Luigi had medical tape around his neck. The vet said that his heavy panting was normal given that he had been heavily sedated when x-rayed and scanned. I was to feed him up to 10 pm that night, and after that, only allow him water. He was to be operated on at 8.30am Tuesday 15th March.
I took Luigi on (what would be) his final walk. I sobbed uncontrollably the whole time. Our pace was deliberately slow, trying to savour every last minute of the walk. As a creature of habit, he still stopped at our usual rest stops. That night we went to bed. But Luigi kept moving, to different corners of my bed; the bedroom; the cold tiles of the bathroom and toilet. He was constantly groaning and panting. He was clearly uncomfortable. I lay awake watching him and begged for a true miracle. I asked God or whoever was in charge, to let Luigi run around my bed and paw at my bedside calling for me to play with him. But it never happened. I just helplessly watched Luigi fidget around the bedroom, trying to lie still on his side and find some peace in his skin. When dawn broke, I felt the end was near. But it could be benign? It doesn’t have to be the worse! Does it?
Luigi tried to roll over on his back for me to caress his belly, but he couldn’t quite make it. So I stroked his stomach gently whilst he lay on his side. Luigi’s auntie and I drove back to the vet the morning of Tuesday, the 15th of March. He was to be operated on and if the dark image seen on the scan and x-rays was malignant, and too large to remove, then he would not be woken. I lied to Luigi. I said “everything is going to be okay! “ I told him not to be scared and just rest in my arms.
I asked to stay with Luigi until he was sedated, but I was denied this request, as they assured me that they were ready to operate and needed to settle and prepare him. I handed the vet his baby blanket and squeezed my baby for what would be my final time. I really didn’t want to leave him. He was clearly in pain and needed to be cured. I kept telling myself that it could be benign, but I knew that this was unlikely. I just felt it. All the vet could do now was to help my little baby die.
When I got the call from the vet that the tumour was malignant and the size of 15 cm x 12 cm. I trembled. The tumour was in his intestines and could not be removed. I was forced to accept that I would never see Luigi again. I would never hold Luigi again. I would never play with Luigi again.
He was my baby and I now had to accept that he was gone. He was my tower of strength from the day he came into my life. I wept uncontrollably, I screamed frustratingly, to whom or to what-I had no idea. I was pulled helplessly between rage, upset and confusion. I had no plan and had no strategy to control my tears. My stomach ached and my heart was broken. Why did I find Luigi? I didn’t want to fall in love with him to lose him so soon. My rage was draining.
That Tuesday night, I again fell asleep sobbing. Throughout the night as I constantly woke and kept looking at the side of my bed wishing that the last two days was just a nightmare and a figment of my warped imagination. Of course he is in his bed beside my bedside! But this was not so and would never be the case!
This was my reckoning. This was my rock bottom. Above all, this was my grief. The grief that I had come to meet, adore and love this dog. The grief that I couldn’t have prevented this cruel fate on my baby. This was the grief of everything.