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The Mojo is Gone

Jim Burroway

November 18th, 2013

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I haven’t been blogging lately. Last week our family has suffered a terrible tragedy. Twister, our half-beagle/half something similar, was bitten by a rattlesnake on Monday. We took him to the veterinary emergency room and was given a vial of antivenom. Typically, under these circumstances the prognosis is good and he improved Tuesday morning, but then stalled out by Tuesday night — not improving, not deteriorating dramatically, although his platelet count was slowly declining. We gave him another vial of antivenom late Tuesday night.

Twister and me, stretched out for an after-breakfast nap early Wednesday morning.

The vet’s main concern was actually that he wasn’t eating. So on Wednesday morning I laid in the floor with him and was able to coax him to eat about three-fourths of his breakfast, which the vet was very happy to see. His platelets were still unstable, but his coagulation, while not back in the normal range, wasn’t deteriorating.

At 5:00 on Wednesday — this would be soon after I quickly posted about Hawaii’s marriage news — I talked with the vet over the phone and her main worry still was that he wasn’t eating and that his numbers weren’t improving. Getting him to eat seemed to be the key. She agreed that it would be a good idea of we brought him home where I was sure Chris and I could get him to eat. She would give us pain meds and a list of things to watch for and if there were problems we could still take him to the emergency room again. But in the hour it took to get there — we stopped at Walgreens on the way to stock up on supplies — Twister took a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse. The vet met us and said that his heart was damaged and giving out. We asked to be with him, and she said she’d bring him to the visiting room so we could spend as much time with him as we wanted. But not even a minute later she returned to say that he was too unstable to move.

So we went back to the intensive care area and said our goodbyes. At first, I thought Twister was unconscious, but at one point he raised his head and saw us, and knew we were there, he then lowered his head and closed his eyes.  We pet him and told him we loved him. It was clear that he didn’t have much time at all. We gave the signal and he was gone.

Me and Twister, 2008

Chris and I are absolutely devastated. We had gone to the vet expecting to bring him home — I had already made arrangements to take the next day off thinking that I’d be taking care of him — but that just wasn’t in the cards. I find myself in shock over the tragedy, and surprised by how much grief we are experiencing. I know that people without children often treat their pets like substitute kids, but I always thought that we were smarter than that. I never once thought of Twister as a substitute child, nor do I want to in any way compare our grief to that of a parent’s. But somehow it happened: Twister was deeply loved and now he is gone and Chris and I are really having a very hard time right now. I have to go back to my father’s death when I was 22 to recall a grief this massive and dark.

All of this is to say that I don’t know how much blogging I’ll be doing for a while. I’ll keep the Agendas going, but beyond that I’m not sure when I’ll return. I will be back, but I just can’t say when.

Comments

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Jay
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

I am so sorry to learn of your loss. I know how devastating the loss of a beloved pet can be. Your good memories and the knowledge that Twister had a wonderful life will provide some consolation. But it will take time. We still grieve the loss of our beloved beagle Beau, who died five years ago this Christmas. You will be in our thoughts.

David in the O.C.
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

I am so very sorry for your loss. There is nothing worse than having to say goodbye to one of your cherished pets.

After we put our 14-year old dog Scooter to sleep (he had suffered a very long time with the human equivalent of alzheimer’s), I was in an emotional stupor for 6 months.

So take all the time you need to deal with the grief and loss. We’ll all still be here when you’re ready to come back.

Paul Douglas
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

I totally get your tears and grief, Jim. I had a similar experience16 years ago when my dog had to be put down due to uncontrolled pain. I have grieved over loved ones who have died, but never like I grieved over Barney.
Take your time.

Regan DuCasse
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

My dear Jim, I don’t think there are any of us that wouldn’t understand. Indeed, take your time. You’ll need it.
Whatever you feel about the loss of your adorable dog, is what you feel. It’s all appropriate, it’ll be hard and you have many people who love you and share your grief with you.

Fiona Alwyn
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

Sending lots of good thoughts your way in this time of grief. Twister was obviously very loved and you were good forever parents to him.

Belar
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

I’m so sorry for your loss, Jim. Having lived with pets for my entire life, I can honestly say that while no they aren’t exactly like having a human child, they are very much a part of your family, and losing a family member that you care about (and that cares about you), is always a painful experience.

It’s not abnormal, nor is it irrational to experience such grief. It shows that you cared, and I’m sure your dog knew how much you guys loved him. Once again, you have my condolences.

tristram
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

Jim – My heart aches for you. Due to life circumstances, I have not had a dog for some time, but my first, most-loved dog comes back at times in my dreams and then I awaken and lose him all over again.

Recently, my brother went through the end process (not suddenly like your loss) with his pair of littermate labs. At about the same time, Andrew Sullivan was chronicling the loss of his beloved beagle Dusty, which triggered an outpouring of anguish, insight and empathy on his blog.

It’s far too soon now for you to imagine the light beyond the darkness. But my brother and Andrew have both “fallen in love again.” So file this in the back of your mind and let it percolate slowly back to the fore: in shelters and rescue organizations across the country, there are thousands and thousands of beating hearts attached to wagging tails, wet noses, and ears waiting for a hand to scratch them.

Marcus
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

My condolences for your sad loss. As others have said, take all the time you need, and take care of yourself.

Lindoro Almaviva
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

I am so sorry, Jim. I don’t know what else to say but I am so very sorry. My thoughts and positive energy to you and Chris

Ben in Oakland
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

I’m sorry to hear it Jim. I also know what it is like to lose a beloved pet.We lost our beautiful Missy three years ago, and I’m still not over it. She was the Best Cat in the World.

I’ve never considered my pets to be my children, even though Paul was Missy’s Papa. But they can be dear, dear friends, and their passing can leave a major hole in your life. They just have small lives, and we, much longer lived, have to accept that. You gave Twister a good and wonderful life, and that’s what’s important.

CJ
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

I’m sorry for your loss. Take time and grieve the loss of a loved one. I’ll hug mine especially close today in honor of Mojo.

David Jones
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

Love is love, loss is loss and grief is grief. It can’t be compared with or considered less than any other. The pain is deep. We know. Losing a four-legged caretaker/companion/friend is very difficult. May the happy memories last. To Twister -

Dave H
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope it’s some consolation to know that Twister had wonderful parents and a loving home, and he lived a happy life. We all have a finite and unknown number of days, and his were filled with happiness and love.

You and Chris take care of yourselves. The blog can wait.

Anne Noise
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

Take your time. It took me months to get back to normal after our 14 year old family dog passed away two summers ago. Even if they aren’t our children, they are still our family. You’re in my thoughts. I’m sad I never got to meet Twister, he looks like a sweetheart.

TomTallis
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

My deepest sympathies, Jim. I’ve been there too many times and I empathize completely.

SharonB
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

Jim:
No they are not human beings, but that doesn’t mean that in your particular circumstance, they can’t mean more to you than any human being. And thus, the grief is as great or greater. Our pets are there for us in ways that humans can’t or won’t be, oft times.
The thought that I will see my pets again gives me solace. I hope you cherish the memories, and find a solace for your greatly loved lost.

Hyhybt
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

There are those who trivialize and make fun of the deep hole that’s left when someone who actually loves their pets loses one. “Get over it. It’s just a dog.”

They’re really missing out. That attitude shows they’ve never had the blessing of a pet that meant enough to them to hurt when it was gone.

Take your time. One thing I’ve found, with cats at least, is that the best comfort in mourning the loss of one is another. But of course that sort of thing’s up to you.

enough already
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

My deepest regrets and sympathy.
We disagree with each other more than we agree, I’m from the queer rights side of the spectrum and my patience with christians is nill.
But I love my dogs and cats and truly wish you both the best in this hard time for you.

neil h
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

My sympathies are with you Jim.

Stephen
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

So sorry to hear this but thanks for letting us know. It seems to me that the greatest tribute to Twister and his life with you both is your grief at his death. In time I hope you’ll find yourself able to honor his memory and make a place for his successor – who will never replace him but will allow you both to love another. My best wishes to you both.

Charles Fogarty
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

Dear brothers, I was heartbroken to read about Twister’s passing. Who cares if he wasn’t your child? He was your best friend, the friend most like the God whom we’re told loves us unconditionally. Who wouldn’t grieve for this sad new hole in your soul? My husband and I will hold you in our hearts tonight.

With all my love,

Charles Fogarty

TampaZeke
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

Oh Jim, my heart breaks for you and Chris. It brought back a torrent of emotions from the still raw loss of my beloved dobi last December. I wish you peace and understanding. You, Chris and Twister will be in my thoughts and meditations. Blessings and merits to you all in this life and those that follow.

Odie
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

That sucks, man. I’ll send you whatever good energy I got, losing a pet is hard.

Soren456
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

To love a sentient creature is one of the gifts granted with our humanity. I’d argue that it is our fundamental gift.

Why are you surprised by grief? I don’t know that it is “smarter” (or even possible) to measure one’s love differently when you love a creature simply for itself, as itself. It is what it is.

I do believe that Twister’s awful loss is staggering. I haven’t yet experienced this in my life, but I do not doubt that I will and that it will be love itself that sends me reeling, not the nature of what I loved.

Hard to express (or know) what I’m wanting to say. I just believe that grief like this isn’t reasonably measured in kind or degree, dog or kid or parent. It’s all the same thing, and I want you to feel free to engage it.

Cordial wishes to you both, as always.

Hunter
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

Condolences, and my sincere sympathy.

Losing a pet is hard. I don’t know which is worse, losing one suddenly or having to make the decision to put a pet down. I’ve had it both ways, and it’s never easy.

Joseph Singer
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

I’m so sorry for your loss. Our pets are our children.

Randy
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

Sitting here in tears. Much love to you and Chris. As I shared with you on Facebook. I lost my Husky the exact same way.

Let the grief works itself through. It’s appropriate and right to do so.

Ray
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

My cry of the day, Jim. I’m so very sorry for your loss. My sister’s dog suffered the same fate as Twister – bitten by a rattlesnake – in early summer of this year. This year my roommate died in late May and ten days later our shared old lady cat, Darlene, lay down next to the kitty door and died; of grief, I honestly believe.

My grief over both of them is all confused. I knew both of them for exactly the same length of time and with the echoing silence that resulted around my house, I’m still haunted by their recent presence, like I fully expect one of them to came walking into the room at any moment. No, our pets are not humans, but we’re not animals, either.

Peace to you and Chris.

“Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.” – Wm. Faulkner

gar
November 18th, 2013 | LINK

RIP Twister. :(

Hyhybt
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

I still haven’t gotten over losing the dog next door. He wasn’t mine, but you couldn’t tell him that. It’s been months, and while I’ve gotten used to not seeing him every time I step out to the driveway, it’s still a bit jarring to go over there and not have him come around the corner to greet me and follow me around. It makes even things that are themselves good, like being able to leave a wet umbrella on the porch with the knowledge that it will still be in one piece later, sad reminders.

dave
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

Sorry for your loss.

LarryG
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

So sorry for your loss. No matter how hard we try to be pragmatic when it comes to pets, they love us so unconditionally that we slowly over time slip into the mire of their love for us. There are those that say that animals don’t have souls, or emotions, and I say that those people have never owned a pet, or owned one that truly cared about them in the first place. I have never lost an animal, as my cats are only 9 and 11 and we just got a puppy, but I know how I would feel if any of them were suddenly taken from my life: empty. Time heals and you will never forget but you will always have precious memories, and what is remembered indeed lives.

Richard Rush
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

While you work through your thoroughly understandable grief, I hope you get some comfort from knowing that you gave Twister the very best life and loving care that he could have possibly received.

John Silvernale
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, Jim. Just try to keep in your memories all the good times and fun you had with Twister. All my best to you and Chris.

MattNYC
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

Jim & Chris,

May your memories of him always give you joy. I hope your hearts heal quickly and you find yourself another bundle of joy.

hb
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

I am so very, very sorry. The pain will lessen with time, but a part of your heart will always be missing. But when the time is right, the right dog will find you and help you heal.

jpeckjr
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

Jim and Chris, I join with all the other friends on BTB in offering you my deep sympathy and wishing you comfort and healing.

Would you mind very much if I made a donation to my local humane society in Mojo’s memory? I’ve done it before for other friends when they’ve lost pets.

Alanna
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

I have no words to make it better. Take your time – grieving for a lost pet is hard. I still miss all my dogs who’ve crossed over. Sending virtual hugs.

Jim Burroway
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

jpeckjr,

That would’ve lovely. Our dog’s name is Twister, though Mojo would have been a very good name for him too. Sorry for the confusion. The post title refers to my own blogging mojo and all around lack of motivation

Thank you all for your kind expressions of sympathy. Chris and I really appreciate it.

ZRAinSWVA
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

My condolences to you both. I know how much of an integral part of ones’ life our furry family members become, and what a hole it leaves when they pass on.

cowboy
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

Condolences…made even more so by seeing the pictures.

Just look at those ears! He probably could hear your thoughts with those ears.

Maurice Lacunza
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

I had to put my dog down and this is the story of what I called Sky’s Big Day. I got happy for him so that he wouldn’t look back and feel like he did something to displease me. I told him it was going to be Sky’s Big Day. Please read it. It will give you a different perspective on how to handle impending death.

http://www.changingtheplanet.com/2011/06/skys-big-day-day-i-had-to-put-my-dog-to.html

Guffey
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a dog (pet) is always hard – losing one suddenly, unexpectedly, is even harder. Take care of yourselves.

(BTW, my screen name Guffey is the name of my heart dog, who died a few years ago. I’ve used his name for many years… in honor of his wonderful life and our bond)

Linda Miles
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

Jim and Chris,I wish we could keep our fluffy babies forever. It is so hard to let them go. Your cute Twister was fortunate to have good parents to make a heaven on earth for him. You will remember that sweet poochie forever!

codyj
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

I am a regular reader here,and send you my sincerest sympathy over your loss,my heart goes out to you during this difficult time….stay safe,stay well, CodyJ

Jude Hines
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

I have kids and pets. I haven’t lost a child, but when I lost my beloved chocolate lab I cried every day for weeks. My partner wondered if I’d ever snap out of it. It’s so terribly sad to lose our 4 legged family members. Twister was well loved and returned that love to you. Jude

F. Don Beck
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

There are no words of comfort that will accomplish the desired affect. The love that Twister, Chris and you shared, lives on through you and Chris. The deep pain you both feel now will ultimately be displaced by the joys of your memories together. My deepest sympathies.

Timothy Wood
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

I know how horrible it can be to loose a (pet) family member. I work at an animal hospital/kennel as a Kennel worker. Every time I watch a family loose one of their own I go home wondering if I am in the right business. I do disagree with you though, An animal can be just like a child or family member. Allow yourself to grieve, but remember that you did everything you could to give Twister a good and full life. If you are at all the type people I have always suspected you are, you will be for ever impacted by his time in your family. I always plant a tree for my passing four legged family members, I enjoy looking out in my yard and seeing the trees that immortalize, PridePuppy, ShadyGirl and Ruppard the Cat.

Timothy Wood
November 19th, 2013 | LINK

For the record, I have never posted a comment on a story here before. Even though they are all very important to me, none strikes home for me like the loss of your Twister. All of the troubles and problems in the world you post about daily, wouldn’t even exist if we could all think a bit more like our four legged companions. I don’t think of the dogs in my home as pets. They are simple my kids. My Mom even calls them her Grandchildren.

Lucrece
November 20th, 2013 | LINK

As the owner of pets over the year, my heart sank the first time you mentioned Twister’s lack of will for eating. That’s usually the tell-tale sign for possible death, as many of my cats lost their will to eat shortly before they succumbed.

I’m sorry this happened to you, but I’m glad you at least have someone to lean on and share the pain with.

Best wishes.

katz
November 20th, 2013 | LINK

So sorry to hear this. There’s a special kind of sadness when you lose a pet.

Al Raymond
November 20th, 2013 | LINK

When I was almost 13 I lost my little dog and was so grief-stricken I asked my mother to let me stay home from school the next day; as always, she was very understanding. I remembered him in my prayers for months afterward.
Your story reminds me of the death of a noted herpetologist a few years ago. He was bitten by a Mojave rattlesnake, took antivenom, and called the office the next morning to say he felt fine and would get back to work in a little while. But Mojave venom contains the largest proportion of neurotoxins of any rattler species, which even as a scientist he was not fully aware of. It turned out the antivenom–which worked well enough on other species–could not keep the neurotoxins from paralyzing his heart and lungs, and he died only hours after calling the office.

Johnson
November 20th, 2013 | LINK

My condolences, I lost my beloved Miniature Schnauzer Murphy a few months ago in a split second accident. Our Pets are our partners, they love and give unconditionally and make our lives better for them being a part of it. I really miss my Buddy Dog

Chuck
November 20th, 2013 | LINK

So sorry for your loss, my husband and I have lost 2 dogs this year. They were a big part of our family, and will be forever remembered. Our condolences.

Adrienne Critcher
November 20th, 2013 | LINK

I am so very sorry for your loss. We lost our beloved Lulu, our 16-year-old Shih-tzu last year. She was such an important part of our family and we still grieve her loss. Take all the time you need to start healing. Your BTB family understands and will be here when you are ready to return to a new normal.

David Hall
November 20th, 2013 | LINK

My deepest sympathies to you both. I’m so sorry for your loss. All my best to you.

David Wachter
November 21st, 2013 | LINK

I am so very sorry to read of your loss. Every one of us who has bonded with a pet knows the grief of losing that pet, and we understand. You and Chris bonded with Twister, and you are in pain. It will lessen in time, but you will always have a tender, vulnerable spot where Twister and you bonded. I think it hurts so very much because our relationship with our pets is so uncomplicated. My husband and I have been through it more than once, and it is always devastating. But we go back, over and over, because the love of our pets is so worth it. Grieve as you need to–Twister was part of your family!

Nick Thiwerspoon
November 24th, 2013 | LINK

We humans are programmed to love. Our dogs love us back without judgement or criticism, forgiving us our failings and loving us all the same. Would that humans were like that!

We had to have our little daxie killed (he was blind and deaf and at the end in great pain) and I cannot write about it now, months later, without weeping.

My sympathies.

Bruce
November 24th, 2013 | LINK

I’m so sorry. As one who has lost several pets over the years, I can tell you without any reservation that it’s entirely possible to fully comprehend the difference between human life and non-human life, and still feel deep grief over the loss of a pet. And it can be made worse by those who don’t understand how painful your loss truly is. Twister was a very lucky dog to have had such caring caretakers.

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