(click the picture above for the high definition video - but also click YouTube for me!)
YouTube link added 12.22.07
8:02 PM, Monday, November 27th, 2006:


Early this morning at 12:30 AM, Roxy and I lost our best friend. To anyone who has read The Journey the past 3 1/2 years, they too have lost a friend...if only through their computer screen. Shizzle was in 25 videos throughout the years, dozens of pictures and over one hundred mentions. He laid by my side as I built the guest-house, as I edited my videos, as I dealt with my divorce, and was single-pawedly the reason I fought so hard to keep my house. For Roxy of course they were never apart. Every walk, every meal, just every second. Shizzle affected everyone he met with his "lap dog love" at 125 pounds, and I have never been closer to an animal in my life. The video will show that bond, and that love...

...unfortunately, for the sake of truth and documenting what happened, that's the end of the memorial. So wipe your eyes after watching that video (easily the saddest video I've ever posted) and prepare yourself for a pretty unfortunate story that absolutely has to be told. I highlighted this part of the story in red so if you want to skip it you can. It will greatly upset you. Hell who am I kidding, the whole thing is upsetting, but this part will simply infuriate you.
When I last left the story I was waiting for the test results. They showed he had a very low platelet count, his white blood cell count was high and something irregular with the liver. They said keep him on the steroids for the platelets, they had some anti-biotics as the high white blood cell count showed infection, and some liver meds I could pick up. I went immediately to get them. On the way there I was a bit frustrated as it seemed his bleeding was a bigger issue as it was now coming out of his penis because of their stupid urine sample mistake. I was gonna give him every shot though...
...and then the pills were close to $300. ?! I was so frustrated. I pulled out my phone and proceeded to call EVERYONE I could think of for advice. Then I talked to another doctor who said, really - he needs a blood transfusion more than anything. So I went home without the pills and thought I'd give him one day on the steroids. If they improved his bleeding I would go full-boar. Otherwise, I just didn't think it was realistic to have him in a hospital getting a blood transfusion and IV meds.
Unfortunately, although his nose seemed to stop bleeding and his eye even seemed to get better - he was going downhill quickly. That night he was puking blood, the following morning he couldn't even keep water down and at that point to "help" him I would need to put him in the hospital for a good week for the transfusion, the fluids, and an IV for the meds...
...and I almost did it. He had so much fight in him. Even though he was delirious at times he seemed to want to fight and it killed me that he could be dying of a simple infection. But again, he couldn't keep water down and I just couldn't risk what could be a 5 figure solution when I had no idea what to expect. I called to make the appointment and they were booked so I made it for this morning at 11:30 AM. I called 2 more times however on Sunday and they just couldn't squeeze him in - I was kinda pissed about that, but I didn't imagine he would be in much more pain for another 12 hours...
...I was deadly wrong. By 11 PM I was calling emergency hospitals, only to be told they would charge me TEN TIMES what a normal vet would to put him down. I thought we shoudl wait, but Shizzle just couldn't. It got ugly. I'll spare you the details but suffice to say, it was as bad as you can imagine because he fought soooooooo hard. His 3 year old age showed. He fought and fought and fought. I wept and wept and wept. It was so painful and so traumatic for me, Donna, and Roxy - I just can't express it in words. The anger comes in right about now.
I started replaying the events that happened to lead us here. Let me tell you the exact timeline of things that happened on Friday.
-Took Shizzle in and he was in good spirits. Doin' tricks for treats, lickin' my face. Not his normal hyper self, but still Shizzle. They said it was serious and they needed said he should watch him overnight. I told the doctor I just wanted to see the blood results first and then go from there. She said fine. They took him back to draw blood and get a urine sample.
-10-15 minutes pass and they ask us to leave the room and go to the waiting room. Another 15 minutes pass and I even mentioned to Donna:  "How long does it take to draw blood?". The doctor comes out and is much more concerned and wants to make sure we don't want him to stay overnight. I again said, I really want to see the blood results before I take a course of action.
-Another 15 minutes pass and still nothing. I ask to speak to her in another room and she tells me she can keep him at the vet until they close at 7, to watch him without charging an overnight stay. I agree to that.
-We get a call from her that he is perky and we can pick him up aroud 5:45. When he comes out Donna notices his stomach is completely swollen. I ask the lady at the desk what happened and I demanded to talk to the doctor again immediately. They took him back again. Another 15 minutes we wait and they bring us into a room. 2 doctors this time proceed to tell me that when they tried to take his urine, blood filled his stomach. It wasn't a big deal it would absorb over time into his body. I believed them and went home.
-The next day as I mentioned before his eye started to clear up and his nose bleed stopped, I assumed thanks to the steroids, but the night before his penis was bleeding and he was completely listless. We know how the rest went.
It's clear to me that they caused severe internal bleeding. They admitted as such. Now granted, it doesn't mean they did anything wrong - but his platelet level was so low that a routine proceedure caused massive internal bleeding. It begs some huge questions:
Why they would do that proceedure when it was obvious he had a blood clotting problem?
Why did they hide it from us when they knew right away that something went wrong?
Why did we have to demand an explanation for something so OBVIOUSLY wrong?
Why would they allow him to BLEED INTERNALLY without advising us to put him down? He suffered for 2 days because of that.
And the biggest aggrivation of all? It looks like the steroids were actually working. Had it not been for the internal bleeding, it looks like he would've pulled though. I would've stopped the bleeding by Sunday and been able to give him the anti-biotics and liver meds and he had a pretty healthy chance at making it. So I'm pretty frustrated to say the least. A final check of the back yard revealed bloody stool and vomit and it was clear he was suffering from internal bleeding for 2 straight days until he died an extremely violent and painful death.
Now, there's another way to look at this. I did everything I could do with the info I had, and they did everying they could do with the info they had. They had no reason to suspect a routine proceedure would cause the massive bleeding it did. What is completely unforgiveable is that they weren't up front with me and didn't allow me the decision to put him down when it was obvious he could never recover from that bleeding. I mean not only was his stomach bloated - it was hard. Something was seriously wrong and again - they admitted their "prick" to his bladder is what caused that, but it took me demanding to speak to them to understand that and they were remarkably vague about what had occured. There is however the issue of my soul...
I can't draw this out. I just can't. I am having a difficult time even writing this entry. My hands hurt from digging a grave, I'm emotionally and physically exhausted, I have so much I have to do this week for CBS and to have to re-live this all day in 7 seperate phone calls and then this has pushed me to the edge. Then the video? Oh fuck me. I can't do it anymore. I can't sue these people, not because they don't deserve it, but because I can't emotionally take it. Yes, I believe had they not caused the bleeding he would be alive and doin' alright. Unfortunately there was NO WAY I could've known that allowing them to get a urine sample (which I easily got the next day the old fashioned way) would lead to this. So I truly did everything I could do. I have to accept that and let go... to a degree. When this has passed for a few days we'll see where my fight is, but right now it's all I can do to just finish the story. Your advice on the boards will be much appreciated.
So when he finally passed, the kitchen turned into a certain episode in Season 4 of The Sopranos: The clean-up. Because of this show I knew to get out the bleach, get the garbage bags, I used terms like:  "hide the body from the neighbors"...it was a bit of comic relief. You just go into "that mode" because you have to. Donna was extremely helpful and we were able to get Shizzle prepared for the next day. Ironically it started raining the second we put him outside. Poetic I guess is more like it. And Roxy unfortunately was freaked out. She whimpered around him a few times near the end knowing he was dying which just ripped me apart and when he finally did pass, she was just hiding in her dog house. Frightened to no end. She did see him when he was dead, but wanted nothing to do with it. The smell was pretty horrific too. Poor girl. Then of course, bright and early the next morning it was time to go to work.
There was no way they were taking my dog. I wanted my dog on my property and with a burial that I could see every day and remember him by. I understand that in recent decades most cities have outlawed burying your pets but I just couln't stand to have someone dispose of my best friend in some land fill and saw no reason for cremation. He belonged in his yard no matter how difficult and unpleasant the process was.

Keith and I dug a pretty impressive grave. It was 5 feet long 3 feet wide and 4 1/2 feet deep by the end. We went through 2 rock layers, dirt, sand...it was one helluva long process and as you can see from the picture there were a LOT of rocks. I spent a good deal of time wading through it with my hands to save the rocks for future use.
Eventually we got to the point of having to lower Shizzle down into the grave and poor Roxy knew exactly what was going on. The smell was certainly hard to forget.

When we got the first layer of dirt over him Roxy just stood over the grave and stared. Although horrendously sad, it was also very interesting. I was detached enough to be able to take a picture as it was just extraordinary to me that she really knew who was in there. She was very concerned and very serious as she walked around the grave, sniffing and staring. I thought it was best to allow her to do this as long as she wanted so she could make the connection. Although I affectionately call her "Box of Roxy" as she tends to be on the dense side, her instinct certainly came out here. She knew her best friend had died.

And that's what it really comes down to. We can fight the particulars, we can get caught up in what could have been but in the end you have to know in your heart you did everyting you could. Also know that in their hearts the vets had no intention of hurting Shizzle and were only hiding what happened because of this maddening sue happy society. Malpractice is so high now that they can barely do their jobs or even give you adivice. Of course this is me talking the day Shizzle died, we'll see what I think in a couple of days.
I used the rocks to make a nice little design. I can't imagine that will be feasible to keep forever considering leaves fall 12 months of the year but for the time being it will bring a smile to my face everytime I see it.

We got all dressed up a la The Cosby Show and Keith even gave a humorous eulogy in his pajama bottoms and his appropriate "Scooby-Doo" tie. I had already cried so goddamn much that the "ceremony" was really just to have something to smile about. Roxy in a tie is cute as hell.
Now of course I get to try to piece my life back together and deal with the issues that were at hand what seems like a month ago. Again, I do appreciate your advice on how to handle the vet situation as I'm so emotionally exhausted I may not be in a position to make the appropriate choice. I will be pretty grief stricken for awhile. Shizzle meant the absolute world to me and a part of me really is empty.
Rest in peace sweetie. I'm sorry I couldn't help your suffering the last 2 days. I love you.