I didn’t think I would be writing this post for a few years. Today I had intended to write a post about sewing dresses for Sylvi’s winter wardrobe. Instead, I’m going to tell you a very sad tale about our sweet dachshund.
Matt and I found Nunzio at the county pound a month after we got married. We had gone to purchase a lawn mower and pulled off at the pound to see what they had because we had been talking puppy since before we even bought our home. And there she was, a tiny little baby shivering in the bottom corner of her cage with her sister. They had been found in a ditch a few days prior and although I wanted to take her home that instant, we had to wait 3 more days to make sure no one claimed her. On the following Tuesday, we arrived, dog carrier in hand ready to take our baby home. She joined Vito, who had come home the night before from a “first time breeder” (read: family with purebred pugs who happened to have a litter and wanted to start a business).
The next day, I noticed that Nunzio had thrown up a lot in her crate and mentioned it to the vet at the lab where I was working. Matt took Nunzio to our vet that afternoon while I was at the lab and he told Matt that the miserable little baby had parvo and he recommended putting her down to spare us all the trauma of having a very ill pet and then her dying. I fought for her and since I knew how to start ivs and monitor her stats, we kept her at home and took care of her. By the end of the weekend, she was running around again, a scrawny but chipper puppy. Our vet has always said that Nunzio beat the odds by not only finding a family, but she found a family that just wouldn’t let her quit when she was so sick and loved her enough to help her get healthy.
In the last 8 years, Nunzio has become an indispensable member of our family. When my mother died, I came home from the hospital and held Nunzio until my tears ended for that moment. All those nights up with babies? Nunzio would get up with me every. single. time. She would lay on the floor at my feet while I nursed, burped, soothed, rocked and wished for more sleep. When Liam had colic, Nunzio would lay under pillows on the couch and look at me with her giant puppy eyes as if to say she understood I was miserable, but she didn’t so much like the noise. Nunzio allowed Sylvi to kiss and love all over her as soon as she was moving independently.
In the last 6 months, things have changed with Nunzio. She stopped coming to sleep in our bed because she couldn’t jump up on it. She started wanting to spend all her time outside on the patio in the sun. Then, her pain level seemed to increase. She hasn’t been able to climb up on low furniture, going up and down the two steps to the back yard was hard for her and she now is refusing to eat or drink. I have been taking her to the vet for Cortizone shots to keep the pain manageable, we’ve made trips to chiropractors, I’ve tried homeopathics, ice, heating pads and just love. Her painful episodes are getting more and more frequent, so much so that in the last 3 weeks, she’s only been able to walk for a collective 8 days.
And then yesterday, we woke to a very ill dog. Bodily fluids were all over my living room. And I knew. I had really hoped that she would pass in her sleep; that this level of suffering would not continue. I called our vet… they are practically on speed-dial at this point. The nurse listened to me cry and cry and offered to schedule me right away, but I still needed to talk to my mother-in-law and my husband. While wondering if we should wait it out and see if she pulled out of this episode, I watched her snap at and bite Sylvi who was sitting next her kissing her forehead gently. This was the second unprovoked snap at Sylvi in the morning and I couldn’t even bring myself to reprimand Nuznio. How can you when a precious member of your family is suffering that much?
Today, I’ve said goodbye to my little Puppy Love. Nunzi. Nunzle-nuz. Nunzio Carmela Contrascheri Burns. I can’t believe this day has come so quickly and in such a sad manner. I had never imagined that it would come this way. I’m no stranger to death or tragedy, but it’s so sad when it’s your precious baby. Tonight will be the first of many nights that I have to put my children to bed without my puppy shadow. We will miss you, sweet puppy!