Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In Which I Am In Exile

As you all know, The Boss and I surrendered Stella back to the humane society on Monday.

Since we knew it was coming, I thought I could prepare myself for it. As we got closer and closer to the shelter, though, the more and more I felt myself starting to unravel. We only had her for a week, but I could not deny the bond that had formed between us. As she whined and scratched at the walls of her crate on the drive over, I tried to assure her that everything was going to be okay, but I fear she already knew what was happening. She had already been abandoned at the shelter once before, and it hurt me to wonder if she felt that we didn't want her anymore, either.

I had to stay away from Stella when we let her out of the car in the shelter's parking lot. She strained against her collar and leash to try to get to me, excited, her tail whipping side to side. She barked and whined, just wanting a scratch behind the ears or a belly rub. After a few moments, she stopped struggling against her collar and looked at me, confused. I couldn't bring myself to look at her in the eyes. I couldn't even get within three feet of her.

Her tail stopped, and she sat down.

I wanted to hold her. I wanted to scratch behind those floppy ears one last time. I wanted to see the goofy smile that dogs display when they are happy, when they know they are loved. Instead, she sat there on the hot asphalt, confused.

"You didn't do anything wrong, Stella," I said to her in forced dulcet tones. "I'm sorry we can't keep you."

The Boss pulled in a ragged breath, and I looked up to see the afternoon sunlight catch on the tears rolling down her face.

"I'm sorry, girl," I said again. "I'm sorry."

Without saying anything, The Boss started walking towards the shelter. Stella got up and walked with her, but stopped after a few yards when she realized that I wasn't coming along.

She barked and pulled against her collar, leaning towards me.

"Be a good girl, Stella," I called out.

The Boss never stopped walking. "Come on, girl," she said. I could hear it in her voice that she was trying to be strong, but her resolve was fading. Stella skipped forward to catch up. They disappeared behind the doors, and my heart broke.

I tried to focus my thoughts on something else, anything other than the guilt I was feeling. I leaned against the hood of the car and waited. When I heard the doors swing open a few minutes later, I turned around to see The Boss walking hurriedly towards me, trying in vain to hold back her tears. We met in the middle of the parking lot, and I held her tight.

She cried. She cried brutal, painful tears. I did what I could to hold myself together, to be strong for her, but I failed. I began crying, too. We left shortly after, in silence.

---

Later that evening, after being back at our apartment for no more than five minutes, my body exploded in hives. My hands and arms, chest, back, inner thighs, groin... everywhere. Despite our best efforts at cleaning the apartment and trying to get rid of the allergen, there was still enough of the dander circulating in the air to bother me. I showered and took an extra dose of prednisone and benadryl, and tried to keep from screaming.

We left the apartment for a couple hours, and the hives eventually faded. I dosed up again on my medication once we got home, and finally got to sleep at 11:30, hive-free.

I woke up two hours later, covered in hives again. I woke up The Boss, and we went to the Emergency Room. I was put on two more medications to try to control the hives, and then discharged.

It was clear that I couldn't go back to the apartment, so I packed up what I needed to spend a week at my parents house. We arrived sometime after 3:00 AM, and crashed upstairs in their guest bedroom, where I sit currently. Until we feel that our apartment has been aired out sufficiently and is safe for my return, I have been exiled.

Even without exposure to the dog, I am still having symptoms. I'm trying my best to keep the medications active in my system, but it is hard to keep track of everything. I am on three different antihistamines, one steroid, and a medication to prevent airway inflammation, not to mention the bendaryl as needed. I've been carrying around my EpiPen everywhere I go, but am crossing my fingers that I will never have to use it.

The past four days have been a whirlwind, and I'm trying hard to get caught up. I clicked "Mark All As Read" on my Google Reader last night, which is something I have never done before. Please forgive me for missing all of your updates over the past few days, and bear with me as I try to get back into the swing of things.

Also, thank you all for your concern and well wishes over the past couple of days. The Boss and I both greatly appreciate it.

42 Comments:

Lana said...

this is truly heartbreaking. i feel for both of you. i hope you find comfort soon, without needing the epipen.

Jaime | Fast Times said...

That's so sad. I'm sorry you have to go through this, the both of you. And I hope you get to go home soon.

Organic Meatbag said...

I am so sorry, man... I know I about cry when we take our dog to be boarded when we go out of town... I wouldn't have been able to keep it together... I wish it could have worked out for you guys and Stella...

Kristina said...

Oh, how heartbreaking for you guys. That sucks. I hope you feel better soon.

Rebecca Knight said...

This almost made me cry, too :(. You'll all definitely be in our thoughts. I know a cutie like Stella will find a great home! Also, I hope you manage to de-dander the apt. Good luck and good health!

mysterg said...

Man's best friend and his worst enemy!

Sorry you had to go through that, but it seems like it was the only sensible solution for everyone involved.

Natalie said...

I'm sitting at my desk sniffing back tears. I understand the fast bond that can be made between a person and a dog.

If it helps at all you can still get a dog. My husband is allergic to dogs and cats. Poodles, and the poodle mixes are hypo-allergic. Oscar (my dog) is a cocker spanial/miniture poodle mix and he doesn't bother the mister at all.

You can also rescue them. The "designer" breeds were very popular a couple of years ago and a lot of them were turned over to shelters when people realized that dogs are actual work.

Also if you tell people you have an allergy most reputable rescue fondations will bathe the dog before you get there and keep them as confined as possible to test your allergies. I also suggest breed specific rescue fondations who foster.

OK longest comment ever is done.

Mwa said...

Oh, you are going through the hardest time. Look after yourselves!

Inna said...

This was a very tough thing to do. Both adopt and return the puppy.
(((HUGS)))

Nej said...

Stella wasn't my dog, and I'M near tears reading this post. It's amazing how much we love our pets, isn't it?

Stay well.

Moonspun said...

Oh honey! I am so sorry. That must be doubly hard for you, giving up Stella AND Still having reactions because of her. I sure hope your life gets back to "normal" soon. And you feel better. Be careful. Hugs to you both!

Daddy Files said...

That sucks man, sorry. If you guys are still planning on getting a dog my only suggestion would be to foster a dog temporarily. That way you can really test things out and if it doesn't work out, well it was never permanent to begin with.

Good luck.

Mrs Soup said...

That has got to be so hard. I'm crying at my desk, feeling the heartbreak. We had to give our cat back to the shelter (thankfully a no-kill one) before I gave birth because he was aggressive to children so I understand partially that heartbreak.

She will find a new and happy home!

Logical Libby said...

I am so sorry. I have a friend you had the same thing happen. She was never allergic to dogs until her 30's and then suddenly they almost killed her.

I wouldn't get a new dog right away. You need to heal. And not just your hives.

Jade said...

This is so so sad, and I'm so sorry for you guys. That must be so difficult. I'm sorry for your loss and I hope the difficulty eases soon.

mommygeekology said...

So heartbreaking :( Hang in there.

Kathy Garmus said...

I'm so sorry.

Caron said...

You can't prepare for things like this. You have been on my mind and I am so sorry this happened.

Doughmesticity said...

what a sucky situation! i hope you and the boss take some time to grieve your loss of stella, and maybe take some time to catch up on sleep and rest.

LiLu said...

I've clicked "Mark all as read" once before, too. Just once... but it was necessary.

My heart goes out to all of you. I hope you feel better soon, dear.

mumma boo said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry for all you're going through. That truly, truly sucks. Take care of yourself. Sending good thoughts your way...

Samsmama said...

I'm so sorry...I've been there, done that. Keep positive, I'm sure Stella will be fine!

Mad Woman said...

Oh man. You had ME in tears reading that. How awful for you (both of you) to go through that! I hope you start feeling better soon and can come out of exile. And Stella will find herself another forever home....she's a good looking girl.

Sending good thoughts out to you and The Boss!

Aunt Juicebox said...

Don't worry about trying to read everyone's blogs. Just read mine. ;)

Aunt Becky said...

Aw, Badass, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.

Laura said...

I am so sorry you had to go through this. My heart is breaking for you guys, I can't imagine how hard it must have been to take her back.

LucyCooper said...

wow. that is just sad. I am so sorry.

Maureen said...

Oh BG, I am so sad to read this... how horrible. It sucks when a situation is out of your control; I hope you are better soon; both physically and emotionally.

Lola said...

Oh, man, I'm so sorry ;( I'm shocked that that tiny dog produced enough dander to make you so sick. Hang in there.

And no, you do not want to use that Epi pen unless you have absolutely no other choice. It's a life saver but NASTY business.

Staceylt said...

I am so sorry. This was so hard for me to read as I love my animals so much.
I wonder if your hives have anything to do with emotion, along with your allergy.
My thoughts are with you, dear.

alntv said...

Dude...that is a sad story. Hope your hives clear up soon! :-(

for the love of pictures said...

I am so sorry that you both have to go through this. I too hope your reaction clears up soon.

Badass Geek said...

To All: Thank you all again for your compassion and caring. I am getting better, slowly but surely, and even though it was hard to do, I know we did the right thing in finding a new home for Stella.

Now if I can just get back to feeling normal again...

JennyMac said...

M: I am teared up reading this. Big hug to you and the Boss over what I know is so sad and heartbreaking to you both.

Notes From the Grove said...

This made me cry. My heart is broken for all three of you.

Love.

joyiseverywhere said...

I am so sorry you had to give Stella back. She seemed like a really fun addition to your family.

~Jennifer~ said...

I'm so sorry. Take care of yourself adn I'll be thinking about you.

lovelila said...

So sad :(

I seriously had a flashback to four years ago, when my dad took me and one of my younger brothers to the humane society to put our cocker spaniel down (she was really old and sick) and I wish I hadn't watched as she took that last walk behind the gate with one of the employees. I still cry when that mental image comes to mind...and for that reason, I'm gonna stop talking about it. (I know, it was four years ago, but it was my first dog *sigh*)

I hope you feel better soon, that Stella finds a good home, and that when you return to your apartment, it'll be all clear for you.

Sandy said...

I've been away for a week so I'm just catching up here. Of course, I knew you were going to have to give Stella up before I left but reading this post is indeed heartbreaking. I know how quickly you can become attached to a pet. But you clearly had no choice. I'll read further and see how the week turned out.

Canadian Girl said...

I am so sorry for you! I just started reading your blog and this was one of the first posts I read - it made me cry! You must be so heartbroken.

Danielle-lee said...

Awwww, I feel so bad for all 3 of you! That truly sucks! I'm so sorry. :(
And omg, I seriously feel your pain re: the medications and hives. It is BRUTAL.

abrandname said...

My heart aches for you.

Post a Comment