Friday, December 20, 2013

good-bye, Aruba

Hello everyone and thank you so much for all of your thoughts and prayers.

As many of you already know from my Facebook page, Aruba passed away on December 13.  We are devastated and still trying to cope.  We miss her and Buddy so very much!
For those not on FB, I've included my post + pictures from that day here... and below it is the special story of Aruba's rescue and how she joined our family.  

Thanks for letting me share....

from my Facebook page (12.13.13):

Dear friends & family,

It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that I share that our precious Aruba passed away today.

The cancer had spread to her brain.
There was no hope....
We are devastated, our hearts are shattered. For our 15 years together, we tried to give her Heaven here on Earth, but she's in Heaven now... with our dear Buddy.

We spent the day cuddling with her, saying good-bye. It was terribly painful. But, we were blessed with access for the entire day to the "family room" at the hospital... a quiet, private room with a sofa, blankets + pillows, and an oxygen hook-up, which Aruba needed to breathe comfortably. Aruba and I laid down, snuggled & napped like we had so often done.

The room also has an adjoining patio... and since Aruba loved the outdoors--- we had always spent lots of time outside together; she loved to sniff the air, feel the sunshine on her face--- we chose the patio for Aruba's final good-bye. A pleasant breeze was blowing on Aruba's face as she went to Heaven. The veterinarian who helped us was the same who had helped us say good-bye to Buddy in June... she is so kind and has such a gentle, compassionate spirit. She cried with us, petted Aruba's beautiful fur. Such a blessing to us!

I wore my Dog Mom shirt. I'm so distraught that I'm no longer Buddy & Aruba's Dog Mom.

We brought Aruba's favorite toy to her-- a stuffed hippo that squeaked. It will be cremated with her. She had several of them for us to have as keepsakes.

We donated Aruba's corneas to the ophthalmology dept at the hospital, they were very thankful. We find joy in knowing that Aruba's beautiful sparkling eyes will help another dog !!!

It is very hard to be home without her... I feel empty, lost. She and Buddy are everywhere here! I've lost my family in less than 6 months, so painful. I'm struggling with how to cope ???

I'll post a memoriam to Aruba on my blog soon... I'll share the special story of her rescue and how she joined our family.

Again, I thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers for Aruba, and for checking on me. It meant so much during what has become one of the most difficult times of my life.

We love you Aruba! You were cherished !! We'll miss you forever! :-(

Aruba's Rescue Story 
It was summer of 1999 and Salvatore was in the final year of his postdoctoral work, beginning his search for a professor position, and I was working toward my engineering license.... a stressful time.  I planned a brief getaway to a place that was beautiful yet purposely without much to do except relax.... the island of Aruba seemed perfect.

While lounging on the beach, we noticed a small dog emerge from bushes on vacant land adjoining the beach.  Local surfers told us she was living in those bushes.  She staggered down the beach, obviously weak, and drank water from a puddle on a pool deck. 

We approached her and were shocked to see that she had no fur and was covered in sores!!  Because of her frightening appearance, some tourists were kicking sand at her to keep her away from them, so awful !!  In horror we wondered where was their compassion for this suffering creature??!  :-(   Our hearts were broken and we could not leave her to live like that!

We fashioned a leash out of our luggage straps, in case she was scared and would bite.  We quickly realized she was way too weak to do that.  Instead, we wrapped her in towels, carried her to our rental car, and found a veterinarian on the island. 

The doctor was shocked at her condition and said that she was near death!  He immediately began treatment for her sores, plus dehydration, malnutrition, etc.  We asked him to prepare her for travel back to the U.S.--- we had already decided that she was our "Aruba" !!  In the meantime, I worked out the details with Customs paperwork and the airline.  I contacted Buddy's veterinarian back home in Indianapolis so they'd be prepared for her arrival.

Aruba did well on the flight to the U.S. ... at only 14 pounds, she was tucked under the seat in a cozy pet carrier (it was a challenge to find an airline-approved one on such a small island!).

Arriving home, we immediately took her to Buddy's veterinarian, where she was quarantined for 3 weeks (as a precaution) and received medical treatment.  We visited her during quarantine and had to wear gloves while playing with her because of those treatments.  Veterinarians estimated that she was about 6 months old.

With her health much-improved, and her skin sores all healed, we were able to bring her home.  She was bald and pink and adorable.  Buddy welcomed her so warmly!  She was immediately fascinated with his toys--- she had never seen toys before!

Over the next few months, her beautiful fur grew in and we saw what colors should would be and how tall she'd grow.  Her fun and silly and lovable personality emerged too.

We were a happy family. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh susan...what a lovely post. i'm in tears. i did not know Aruba's full story. God love you and Sal,,,,and your precious Aruba and Buddy.