Sunday, April 11, 2010

RIP Belle

WARNING: This post, although sad, is also gross. Read at your own peril.

Another one of our fur-babies crossed over the Rainbow Bridge last Thursday, in what is the most gruesome and heart-wrenching methods I have yet witnessed.

Last Thursday we all came home from work and let the dogs out in the backyard. Then we went about our business changing our clothes. Suddenly we heard a loud whining bark and we rushed into the backyard. We thought maybe there had been an altercation among our dogs. We should have been so lucky. What we saw instead will be with us the rest of our brutal was it. There was Belle with her head stuck under an opening in the fence.

As a hound, Belle was a slave to her nose. Once she had the scent of something she would "hunt it down" no matter how far she had to go. Many was the time we had to chase after her by car and on foot to bring her home. This time, this devotion to the scent would cost her dearly.

While she had been pushing herself along under the fence, she had pushed her skin off her from her neck to her tail. In effect, she had skinned herself alive. The skin just hung there, revealing muscle and fat.

Daughter of House could just keep repeating "Oh God....oh God....". Man of House struggled in his shock to pull Belle's head out, but could not. I was able to extract her while managing to not fully look at her injuries.

We carefully lead her into the car and we took her to the animal emergency clinic nearest to us. The techs there took our girl to the back to clean the wound and stabilize her. In the meantime, I went to the ladies room and threw up...again and again. While there we called Son of House (he is a vet tech in the Army) and we explained to him all that happened. At first, he told us that they should be able to fix up our baby, but when he learned of the extent of her injuries he grew silent. (Later on we found out he had called Daughter of House at home - she could not face going to the clinic and had actually thought this was she thought she would see Belle later on... He told her that this was the worst case of it's kind he had heard of....that the back of dogs is not full of nerves, and thus can take a great deal of abuse, that the thick fur on a dog like Weeshah would have normally protected Belle, and that what she had been barking/whining about was her head being stuck.)

At the clinic we were told that after all the things that needed to be done to her (to the cost of about 2500.00) there was a chance she would not survive. It was then that the enormity of this hit us....we would be going home without Belle because of a "freak accident". This loving little creature of God, who had welcomed all babies into our family, who took better care of Molly's pups than Molly did, who simply ADORED Man of House (he had wanted a beagle since he was 10 years old) would not be returning home. I looked around at us and saw the blood on Man of House and on me....I remembered the smell in our car (EXACTLY like raw meat)....the pain in Man of House's eyes. I waited for the final decision to be made (she was, after all, his baby) and listened quietly while he told them she was to be put down and that we wanted to be there for it (for which they charge extra. Nice)

Belle was brought to us covered in a blanket. We told her we loved her, gave her kisses on her head, and held her. For her part she just looked at us with those beagle eyes of hers as if to say, "I'm sorry. Can we go home now?"....and then into her veins went two that would put her to sleep and one that would stop her heart.....and very quietly, this wonderful and loving creature slipped out of our lives.

And that was it. We brought her home in a bag to go into a freezer and await Ronnie, a gentle man who has become a friend of our family, to come and pick up her body for a separate cremation and return it to us in a box (that way we know for sure she will not end up in commercial dog food. Didn't know that?...well go on line and read about it...but that is another story).

We went home to clean up the mess in the backyard, to change our clothing, and to look around at the empty food bowl, bed, and towel that all proclaimed "We are Belle's".

So long Savannah Belle E. Button Hamilton you are over the Bridge and all the pains and scars of your former abused life (before you came to us) are free girl...follow your nose and know that you were so very loved here.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Oh, Nina! Many prayers for you and your family. I have had to put down beloved dogs and other critters; it's so hard!

I've also been, so to speak, on the other side of the fence. That is, I had a German Shepherd who hated small dogs and eventually did to a Dachshund what that fence did to Belle. Skinned the little dog alive. I didn't mind paying the Dachshund's vet bills, as was only right, and I rejoiced that he recovered. But what did break my heart was to have my German Shepherd put down the same day. Lest it be a small child next time.

Christina said...

Oh Nina. I admit I didn't read the whole post. I couldn't. But I'm so very sorry about sweet Belle. :o(

margaret said...

I am so sorry, Nina, this is terrible, she looks like such a pretty, loving dog. You have my prayers.

DebD said...

Nina, I'm so so sorry for your loss.

GretchenJoanna said...

I'm so sorry.

Miss 376 said...

oooh, what a horrible position to be put in. Thoughts with all the family as you come to terms with what's happened

Irene said...

Oh Nina! I am so very sorry! She was such a lovely creature and you loved her so much! our perfect yellow canary passed away a couple of weeks ago, and we were so sad. He would wake up with us in the morning and sing until we all left, and then sing again in the afternoon. Is it better to not have loved them at all?
May your pain ease with time.

margaret said...

Hope all is well with you, Nina. Happy All Saints' Day!

DebD said...

Miss you and hope you are well.