R.I.P. Mickey (2007-2020) the bestest dog ever

Mickey passed away at 6am, 8th of August 2020 at an emergency vet, after my dad woke up to her having seizures at 5am. By the time we rushed to the vet, it was already 5.45am and her brain was probably already dead due to lack of oxygen. The vet gave her a shot of valium to stop the seizures, but her breathing and heart rate slowed subsequently and I still replay the scene as he brought her to the room, her tongue blue. We were told there's an option to bring her back but it might be best to prepare ourselves - and in the midst of that, she already left us. I couldn't believe it - her body was still warm and her fur still soft. But the vacant look in her still-open eyes and her slack jaw with the tongue rolled sideways told us she has finally left this disease-ridden body of 13 years and 5 months to be pain-free and happy at the rainbow bridge.

She had joined us almost 9 years ago exactly to the day. I still remember the night of 5 August 2011 when my cousin Veron called me as I was getting ready to go to a club. She told me her sister found a dog that followed them into the lift, and seemed lost. However they couldn't let it stay with them because they have other dogs. She asked if they could put her at ours, maybe at the balcony, until they found their owner. I remembered asking my mum - she rejected initially - but I told her it's only temporary. I can't remember whether they brought her over the very night or the next - but she was a mess with overgrown matted hair, a bloated stomach and just all over.. dog, despite being showered. Her smile was contagious though, and my dad was the one that laid out newspapers and got her settled in. She was brought to the vet the next day and a microchip was found, and her aged placed around 5 years. 

We put up LOST DOG posters and contacted SPCA/NEA. No owner was registered or found. So we had to make "Oofie" (her temp name) more comfortable as she slept in the first week in our balcony wearing a homemade pink shirt by my mum. Everyone - my sister and brothers were home then - and we were all pleased and amused by this new dog, who did not bark a single peep at all and seemed quite well-behaved.

We continued searching, and got more supplies in the meantime. My cousin bought a red Christmassy dog bed and extendable leash with a pink collar. for her A dog food bowl. Dog food. Finally, we brought her to the vet and got all that fur shaved. Her skin was itchy and bumpy underneath, and all-bald Rat Mik was revealed as she was skinny with a big belly due to probably eating badly on the streets, and had humongous ears. There's also a scar running down her belly. A caesarean, perhaps? We thought she might have been used as a breeding dog and then dumped. But she was so well-behaved, and we realised she is grass-trained and had to be brought downstairs for pee/poop (my dad did that twice a day - thinking back, we should have trained her to do it at home so her organs were not stressed). She for some reason also knew not to go into the kitchen and would stop just at the door as if there's an invisible barrier since day one when she was let into the house, which again seemed to indicate that there was some sort of training by her previous owner. 

And then a stroke of luck - my cousin-in-law had casually asked about Oofie's microchip number at his usual AMK vet and they found it. They told him they'll contact the owners, who said they gave her to an "auntie" and will get back to the vet about what happened in a day. They never did, so they contacted them again. This time around they said they don't know what happened to her but she's not theirs anymore, don't ever contact them about her. The vet also told us that these owners were bad ones as they brought her to the vet but ran away without paying for medicine/consult. Regardless, we found that she's called Mickey and was born on 5 March 2007. 4.5 years old, then!

Mickey snuck into our hearts and sat there as a good girl permanently. It wasn't long before we let her sleep in the house - my dad decided to place her dog bed beside the head of his bed in his room and that was her place ever since. There was a brief incident when my cousins found someone interested in adopting Mickey since she was supposed to be temporary here, but that did not happen when I insisted to keep her with us. I filed and paid for her dog license too, so it made me her official owner. And we'd neutered her after, found out she was allergic to gluten and chicken, and got her on fish4dogs kibbles for a good no. of years before switching to wet canned food. During the good years meal times was simply scooping out her food and setting it down for it to be gone in mere minutes.

The best memories of Mickey were of those of her with the family. I remember we'd gone to the park a few times, my dad included, and she was running to all of us the moment we will squat down and call her. She will come bounding with a grin on her face. So my dad and my sister or me will stand quite far from each other and do that, calling her to each in turn. And she ran with my brother QY in the field, trying to chase and catch up to him. She doesn't know how, or I suspect, would not want to, play fetch, cos the person will just throw the thing away and she will just look at you and go, "so?". The toys we got for her initially went unused. She was more food-motivated and quickly learned tricks in exchange for treats. She would shake hands, lie down, roll over, and my sister even thought her how to play dead, bang! Who said you can't teach an oldish dog new tricks? She can also uncover treats that we will cover with a lid. 

There's also an incident when she had climbed onto our dining table via the chair, and ate almost the whole loaf of bread. She was caught red-handed in the act when we came home and she was on top of the table, unable to get down and with a bloated stomach. It was hilarious. Unfortunately we did not have a pic of that.. 

Years went by like that. My sister spent most time with her then as she was a teacher and came home early, and would teach her tricks (ask her to wait for her treat till she salivated before saying ok) or use her as a weight when she did squats. My dad too, would bring her out for long walks which was a sort of PT and agility courses as he liked to see how she will go up and down ramps, steps, and different parks even though Bishan Park was the best. I got her rawhide chew toys which she will decimate in a few hours and get it unknotted. My brother QY will bring her out for car rides with his dates and even once or twice to the beach (super sandy, super hot). QD was studying then, and would gudetama with Mickey in his bed. My dad recalled how she will come to the door to greet us when we come home at night, even if she was extremely sleepy, for that extra treat we'll give. Though I tend to also feed her supper w treats in the past few years when she stopped doing that. I still remember playing a "vending machine" game only at night, when she will give me a paw, and I will give her a treat. If she wanted one more, she needed to paw my hand again. 

She was with everyone during different times of the day, and in our lives.

3 June 2016, at the park

Birthdays, Father/Mother's Day celebrations andCand New Years were also spent with Mickey in our family photos and around our legs as we gathered at the dining table for meals. We saw the birth of our cousins' kids, and Mickey gave all of them a cursory sniff and tolerated their pats. We sometimes dressed her up for the occasions, and she will also tolerate those even if she did not like wearing them. There were some hilarious outfits and moments there! She was not a fan of the camera though. She'll also amuse us with the different poses of sleeping, and her different hair cuts after grooming. 

It was in June 2017 that we discovered she has a growth inside her, beside her liver. I had just come back from my round the world trip for 8 months. We debated and decided to do a surgery and see what's was it. Turns out the tumour was vascular and too connected to everything to remove so we closed her up and tried to manage it with medication. In July 2018 we decided to do a Fine Needle Aspiration to see if the tumour's cancerous. It wasn't, but there was no guarantee it wouldn't continue growing. She got better, and I travelled again to South Africa, and started work in November. Almost two years went by with my dad bringing her to subcut twice a week at the vet.

I remember bringing her to the park on Sundays to check out other doggos and for her to stretch her legs. By then she was noticeably less active and couldn't jump as much. She also couldn't jump up or down my bed for a while now. But she still enjoyed going to the park very much. We did also notice her growing dementia as well in the past year when she started facing the wrong side of the lift, and mistook where the door was, and no longer responded to us calling (deaf, too?). Perhaps it was in conjunction to her fear of thunder - there were many a nights in the past two years when thunderstorms happened especially at night and she would shake in fear, so I would bring her on my bed and wrap her up in my blanket tightly, playing Soft Pop Hits on Spotify to drown out the thunder. 

Then we got to a month ago, when things started going downhill. It was evident in her growing appetite loss and weight. She slept more. While her liver and kidney levels did improve, something was wrong. Finally during a routine subcut end of July this year, we decided to check up on her blood and found acute pancreatitis. I wish then that we did not hospitalise her - it wasn't helping and made her suffer in that small cube for 2 nights. When we brought her back we had to tube feed her and it was better - she started seemingly to become stronger till the vet review when the pancreas result went back to normal. It was the opiod painkiller injection that brought her extreme drowsiness, and then when she recovered from it she was still just generally listless and didn't want to eat. 

Then about a few days after I decided to bring her to another vet who took out her loose tooth and extracted fluid from her extended belly which seemed to be causing her discomfort. Alas, when we brought her home she seemed even worse despite it supposedly making her feel better. Another day passed - I had an animal communicator speak with her that night and things seemed positive still - and then strangely, both QD and Elsie came over for lunch, and that was the last day she was alive. I remembered bringing her downstairs for our last walk at 2pm+ that day, it was super warm but windy, and she walked unsteadily but still mobile. She smelled the grass, the surroundings and felt the wind all around. Me and my sister then went out and got her some liquid food and meds.

In the evening we tried to syringe feed her again. She then paced about after, being extremely uncomfortable and drooling slightly, trying to find a place to hide. I finally put her to her bed in my room and saw her resting breaths were more than 50. We considered bringing her to an emergency vet (it was already 10.30pm) but she was calm and not gasping. So I brought her over to my dad's to sleep for the night. And at 5.15am, I heard a knock on my door, and he was there with her in his arms twitching. We looked at her doing that for a few minutes and I called the 24h vet. Then he said something which I guess was indicative, whether I'd still want to bring her in for the seizures because its been more than 10 minutes. When we got there at 5.45am he gave her a valium shot, but brought her out shortly to say it's time for us to bid her goodbye. We did, and she left quickly. Pain shot through us, as that left her. In the haze I managed to ask for her paw prints that the vet tech kindly helped with. We came home, the soft gentle morning dawn suffusing a new day, to our folks at home with the news. After an hour+, I decided to pack up her things together with our dad so it won't be so painful to see - her water bowl at the corner, and her leash at the door, and even her old outfits were taken out.

Mickey's body was then cremated on 9 August afternoon and her ashes just came home this morning in a pretty urn. I've kept a memorial corner with a candle for the past 2 days, together with her paw prints, pillow and soft toy. 

I've backed up all the photos on my phone to a hard drive yesterday, but it was too painful to try and compile an album of all her photos so I've abandoned that. There's too many pictures and memories through the years, and I wish I had more by staying home more often with her. Regardless I am thankful during this year that I got to work from home and care for her during these times as much as possible. I'd felt that she was nearing the end during the past 3 weeks, but chalked it up to my paranoia (turned out to be intuition) and still couldn't believe how swiftly it all happened. She had also chose the start of a long weekend with a public holiday to leave us, giving me the time to remember our past together. We were incredibly lucky to have such an obedient, cute, lovable dog come into our lives unexpectedly and change it forever, and hope that she feels our love as much as her unconditional love that she gave to us. 

Goodbye Mickey. You'll always be in our hearts till we meet again one day. We love you so much. 

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