Monday, May 9, 2016

Sunny Days

This week started off with the usual activities, mostly indoor because we’ve been getting a lot of rain. Toward the end of the week, we noticed that Sunny seemed to be breathing harder than usual. By Saturday, it had worsened so much that we took her to the vet. An X-ray showed a lot of fluid in her chest, but not in her lungs. The vet sent us to an animal emergency hospital in Salt Lake. She was kept in an oxygen cage, while we discussed the possible diagnoses, none of which were very good. Saturday evening they put a drainage tube in and gave her a transfusion, and she was able to breath better. Sunday it became clear she probably wouldn’t make it through until Monday, so, with our permission, they went ahead with the surgery. She made it through surgery, although they had to resuscitate her four times. We lost her during the post-op period. We waged a hard battle to keep her with us physically, although I know she will be with us forever. Saying goodbye is hard.
I want to say a few words about Sunny, but first I want to thank all my friends and others who don't know me all that well for your thoughts and prayers. The outpouring of love and concern has been overwhelming. Thank you for being there for me, Sunny and my family. I think the prayers were answered, just not the way we had hoped. I believe it's because this is what was right for her.
Sunny was sassy from the time she was born. After she came to live with us, she ruled Rocky and tried to rule us. But only at home. Whenever we went anywhere, she would look up at me, and I could read her thoughts: "You can be the alpha for now."

It was that willingness to be well behaved while out and about that made her a good therapy dog. And she was good at it.

We visited Federal Heights Nursing Home for several years, sometimes entertaining a group of people in the rec room; sometimes visiting people in their rooms. She always knew which people needed kisses and which didn't want them. There was only one person she wanted to give kisses to who didn't want them, and that was a person who really wanted her kisses but was allergic to dog saliva. Sunny would sit with her back to the woman and look over her shoulder at her to prevent the tongue from coming out accidentally.
Several times patients who were anxiously awaiting pain medication found they didn't need it after Sunny sat with them for a while and accepted their stroking. One lady with Alzheimer's or dementia (I never received information on their diagnoses) used to yell at me when I came in, clearly believing I was someone from her past. I would put Sunny up on the bed, take the woman's hand and put it on Sunny's back. She would look at Sunny and start petting her. Then she would ask me my dog's name and say she was pretty and soft, or something else clearly connected with reality. Then she would drift off again, but for those few minutes she was living in the present. Another woman just out of a coma laughed when Sunny licked her fingers. There were many situations like that. Sunny loved her work, but would sleep the rest of the afternoon after we came home.

We also visited Camp Hobe and had planned to go again this year. She entertained the kids with her tricks and let them hug and pet her.
Sunny was athletic. She could run like the wind. 

She loved camping. 

Sunny was a great hiker and snowshoer.

She was an excellent mouser when we needed one. She was smarter than most people. She leaves behind a big hole in our lives.

I feel honored to have been her friend/mom/companion for 9 years and 8 months.
I'm glad we did everything we could to save her. At least we know we gave it our best shot.

My regular blog post will return next week.


  1. Goodbye, Sunny. I know you were truly loved and returned that love to all of those who knew you.

  2. Goodbye, Sunny. I know you were truly loved and returned that love to all of those who knew you.