We made the decision to end his suffering less than one week after being diagnosed with kidney failure, only six weeks away from his sixth birthday. Hud hadn't been himself for awhile, though we attributed much of that to anxiety over going outside after a nasty run-in with a yellow jacket nest in early July. Little did we know. I brought him to the vet in mid-late August, after a week-long bout of vomiting, where it was believed he had a case of acid reflux or an ulcer. Less than a week after that appointment, he was barely eating and became extremely weak when he walked or got up and down. Something still wasn't right. I brought him back to the vet, where blood was taken and it was determined that he was in kidney failure.
When we received the initial diagnosis of kidney failure, Dan & I tried our best to prepare Leah for what was coming. We explained that Hud was very sick, that his body was hurting, and that the doctors may not be able to make him better. We used the words death and dying, as opposed to him "going to sleep" because I read that kids can get confused, thinking that if they go to sleep, they won't return either. Leah listened to what we were saying, repeated things back to us, and seemed to have an understanding. Still, she didn't truly grasp the emotional weight of what was happening until that day. Dan explained to her, "After today, we won't see Hud anymore." Then, it clicked. Once our vet arrived and events got in motion, Leah ran to her playroom bawling. I ran after her and she sadly exclaimed, "I don't want to say goodbye to Hud! I don't want to lose him!" My sweetie. I hugged her and held her in my arms, telling her to let it out, that it was OK to be sad and to cry. Dan was with Hud during his final moments while I consoled Leah. What an awful day, what a heavy lesson I hadn't wanted her to learn and to experience so young. Still, she has handled it remarkably well and I am proud of her.
It's been exactly two weeks to the day that we said our final goodbyes to Hud. We miss him terribly, though we appreciate every moment we had with him. I, for one, will be eternally grateful that he showed me how to love unconditionally and how to be a parent. He was the first living creature I ever cared for, one who depended on me, and who allowed me to make many mistakes. Though Dan & I became a family the moment we said, "I Do", Hud really solidified that and showed us what that meant. He was our first friend here in Georgia and he will always be a founding member of our little family. Hud Buddy, we love you and we thank you.
Oct 20, 2006 - Sept 5, 2012