Leaving North Carolina for Japan, I had everything set. That was until I made it to Texas and missed a flight. My dog and I literally made it that entire way by car, and the last portion of our trip by plane was shot. Somewhere in there, things got messed up. In that mix up, I was unable to get my dog on the new flight to Japan.So, I temporarily re-homed her. She was with someone that I knew would take care of her, and would love her like me, if not more. I was right. My little hippo, Suki, was spoiled rotten. She was beyond loved. Her guardian even made things happen with Suki that I didn’t think possible. Her guardian was a bit of a hero in my eyes, well she still is.
If you didn’t know, Suki was deaf. She wasn’t always that way, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. So, when my mother originally purchased Suki, back when I was in high school, she was informed that the previous owner failed to care for an ear infection. Well this ear infection had gotten so bad that Suki lost her hearing. Not wanting her and her new problems, they returned her to the breeder, where my mother purchased her.
After high school, and getting settled at my first duty station, arrangements were made, and Suki was delivered to me. In North Carolina, I went to several vets and they all said the same thing, she was permanently deaf, and there was nothing to be done. So, I made due. I didn’t love her less, if anything I loved her more. She had a past, a broken one, kind of like me. I think that’s what made me love her more.
Well, in caring for Suki after I left for Japan, her guardian took her to the vet. There, after many demands and several visits, Suki regained a portion of her hearing. It wasn’t 100%, but it was something. It was amazing. My dog, my little hippo, could hear again.
I took some time off earlier this summer, and I came home. While the trip from Japan to Texas was rough, one of the few things I was looking forward to was seeing Suki again. I didn’t care if she could hear or if she couldn’t. I just cared about seeing her. So excited, I actually ripped the crotch of my pants when I got down to her level.
I left her again to return back to Japan, and it still sucked. Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely wanted her to be in Japan with me, but to fly her there on anything but military orders was beyond expensive. I looked into several methods when I had to leave her, and then there was the possibility that because she was a member of the bully breeds, the risk of having difficulties in the air was higher. All in all, it was safer for her to stay where she was.
A few weeks back, I got an urgent message to call her guardian as soon as possible. It turns out that during a car ride, Suki was not herself. There were many things that were just not right. So she was taken to the vet. She was there for several days. While there she had several seizures, and eventually passed. Devastated, I called the owners of her parents. I needed to know if this was a genetic issue or an odd occurrence. They had no answers for me. Both of her parents are about ten years old, alive, and healthy. Confused, she was sent to a lab. Further tests determined she had a heat stroke that lead to all the seizures and what not. Just a few months before her fifth birthday, she was gone.
So here I am, an ocean away, dealing with the death of my dog. I know I don’t show my feelings, because people tell me I don’t look or act very upset about it. I just process differently. I was told to just go buy another dog, but those people just don’t understand. There was a connection between Suki and me. She was special, she was stubborn, and she was mine. We had plans for when I returned to the states. There were road trips, hikes, and vacations planned that included her. Now, they’re just plans.
I know eventually the sadness and frustration will pass, but for now, I’m still going through the grieving process in my own way. She’ll be missed, and she could never be replaced.
Have a good one!