Sunday, August 21, 2011

Remembering Merlot

To look at this beautiful photo, you wouldn’t think that this post has a sad ending, but it does. Last Tuesday my parfait dyeing day with the Virginia Artists group also turned out to be Merlot’s last day. Her dying day. And the two will be forever mixed in my mind.

My five-year-old cavalier was recently diagnosed with intestinal lymphangectasia. She had a series of IV treatments to raise her protein levels, a change in diet and was put on three medications. She was doing great, until Tuesday morning, when we woke up to find her having a hard time breathing. My daughter and I rushed her to the vet, and they started her on oxygen therapy, got an iv started, did a chest x-ray and called the critical care hospital in Richnmond who advised us to keep her where she was. We were relieved that she didn’t need surgery, and the vet took us back to see her in her little oxygen cage, and show us that she was breathing much more comfortably in there. The vet opened the door so we could say goodbye, and I gave her a quick kiss on the head so that the door could be shut again to make certain the oxygen levels didn’t go too low.

At that point, my daughter and I were worried about her, but we felt like she was going to be okay. It was a relief for us to be with our art friends that afternoon. We used a technique called parfait dyeing to add color to t-shirts, old linens and doilies. We stuffed them into jars, and added several different colors of dye. The dye layers stay separate from each other inside the jar. I brought them home and left outside to warm in the sun.

At 7:00 the veterinanrian called to say there was no change, and that they were leaving for the evening. At 8:00 she called back. She told me that “this was a call she didn’t want to have to make” and how sorry she was. 
Our vet had gone into town to do some errands, and something told her to go back and check on Merlot. When she got there Merlot had arrested. A quick sonogram showed a tiny bit of electrical activity. She said she worked on her for fifteen minutes but couldn’t get her back.

We are absolutely devastated at the loss. Merlot was our first family dog, and my constant companion. She loved paper ephemera as much as I did, although she preferred to eat it, and led me on many merry chases through the house to catch her. She snored like a freight train. (No one could believe that a sixteen pound dog could make that much noise). Everyone who met her always commented on how sweet and gentle she was. She trusted us completely, and I wish, wish, wish I could have done more to protect her.

Sylvan and I found ourselves out on the grass where these photos were taken on Wednesday afternoon, dumping out the jars of dye and hosing off the fabric to reveal the most amazing colors. And we were grateful for the distraction. But the memories of our dyeing day and Merlot’s dying day will always be tangled up in our minds.


Elizabeth said...

I am so so sorry that you have lost your Merlot. My heart hurts for you. She was such a love!

Terry Pitzel said...

I am so sorry for your loss.
Merlot was such a sweet and loving girl.
This is such sad news.

Trece said...

I am so very sorry for you loss. In case you have not heard of it, here's a poem about the Rainbow Bridge:

Lorie McCown said...

I'm sorry you lost lovely merlot, what lovely guy he was. Art does heal the heart, and your lovely colors of the rainbow are a reminder of his happy lift. ((Hugs))