January 6, 2016

Letters to Piri // 08


 Dear Piri, 

Happy New Year! It's 2016. The Year of the Monkey. The year when amazing things will happen. 

Did you know? My childhood cocker, Bobby, only lived to be 7 years old. So when you came to live with me when you were 7, I wished and prayed that you would live a long and happy life. You're going to be 17 this year. It's hard to believe that I made that wish nearly 10 years ago. Despite all your circumstances right now - with your eyes, ears, kidneys, heart and now gum and tooth - thanks for sticking it out. Thanks for just being here and wagging your tail and making us feel like the most special people on earth. 

You know though.. I do feel so terrible and sometimes I wallow in thoughts like.. maybe if you met a more diligent and thoughtful person you wouldn't be suffering from a tooth infection, a swollen gum, an uncomfortable growth in your mouth now. Maybe you wouldn't have kidney disease or heart murmur. Maybe your ears would be better and your eyes, too. Maybe you would be the healthiest 16 year old there is. Maybe... 


I'm sorry I didn't catch your tooth ache earlier. I didn't know that was why you were sometimes dropping your food from your mouth. 

I noticed that your vision at night is worse. I noticed you wondering what I was standing on our deck and came to sniff. Then you realized it was me. I noticed you miscalculate the step up to the deck. Twice. Oh, Piri...


What do you dream about? Sometimes you come out in my dream. The funniest one was when Yangkyu and I were on a walk with you and you pooped so much but we only had one tiny little poop bag. I mean you pooped a ridiculous amount of poop. Do we come out in your dreams? I hope we're not doing anything similar to what I just described you doing.

There is a place out in Utah where the stars are so big and bright and huge. It's called Moab. It would be nice to go with you, Piri. 

Or feel the warm sand on the beaches of Florida. You'd like that. I remember your face and the touch of the sand and sun when we were at Virginia Beach. That is such a fun memory, isn't it?


So I got this thing. It's called a food dehydrator. I thought I could make you chewy sweet potato snacks. It came yesterday when I found out about your tooth. I'll try to make them bite size and more on the softer and chewy side. Maybe you'll like them. 

There are so many good things out there for dogs now Piri. Top grade dog food, treats, beds, toys, gadgets and things. I do sometimes get caught up in all the frenzy. I do sometimes wish I can feed you "the best." I do sometimes get sad that you can't have "the best." But you know, I've learned to come to terms that what we're doing now - what we are giving you now - must be working. It must be working for us. And in the end that is what matters. That is our best. Right? 

But I do wish those pet subscription monthly service boxes had special boxes catered to senior dogs with kidney disease. Ha. 

What would you put in them? 


Yangkyu makes us all laugh doesn't he? He provides the comic relief during the stressful times and the sad times. How does he find the silver lining all the time? How does he manage to make us all laugh? Can you see inside his heart? Is it crying, too? 

I'm sorry for waking you up again. I told you before. I like getting close to your face and mouth and just smelling you and touching you. I love the way you smell. 

I know. You love the way we smell too. 


Every time I am skyping with my parents you are asleep. They always call out to you though - "Piri! Piri!" - even though I have told them a hundred times that you lost your hearing. I know they know. We do that too. We are always calling our your name and talking to you. I think my dad feels a little heavy in his heart, Piri, when he sees you. I think he remembers when he used to care for you when you were a little puppy and then an awkward teen and a mature adult. I think he realizes now that you are older than him! And I think it breaks his heart that you are going through health issues. I think it also makes him realize and gives perspective of where he is in his life -- with his age and health. 

Why do we get weaker and sicker as we age? It's not fair. 


I heard you bit Dr. Klein while she was examining your teeth yesterday. Aigh. We heard you probably bit every single vet tech who gives you Sub-Q fluids. Aigh. They sure do care for you a whole lot for you to be getting away with it and getting all their attention every time you walk in through the door. 

I was making an appointment yesterday and the receptionist asked for your name and our last name. When I told them she said, "Oh Piri! I know Piri Yoo!" 

When Yangkyu went with you to get your Sub-Q fluids last week, another receptionist was checking you in and realized who you were and she said "Piri! I was just checking out the Christmas card you sent us. It's hanging on our wall." 

They are good people. I trust that you are in good hands. 


I hope you know that we all love you Piri. Hang in there, ok? 

Love, 

The girl who gets tempted to wake you up and nuzzle her head against yours. And the girl who will probably give you a bath today, or some time this week. 


** Yesterday we found a growth - a lump, bubble - inside Piri's mouth. We rushed to the vet in the afternoon and found out that there are two issues going on. 1. Piri has an infected tooth and 2. the growth. Unfortunately there is a risk of putting Piri under to remove the growth and send it in for a biopsy and for our vet to extract his infected tooth and clean the area. She thinks the risk of going under is greater than what is going on inside his mouth right now. If the growth is cancer (which is rare) then there is a chance that it can spread. The growth can pop on its own, which means we'll have a lot of blood to deal with, but having it grow larger can mean that it will hamper him eating. It was hard for our vet to give us a recommendation - to risk him not waking up or to go on with his growth and tooth infection. She told us to wait 2 weeks and monitor whether the lump will get bigger and if the situation gets worse we'll have to decide what is best. I have been reading different ways to sooth and give relief to any pain he may be feeling. The gum around his infected is swollen and has covered up the tooth. Despite all this, Piri had a hearty appetite yesterday, eating all his meals and snacks. We are still using Petzlife gel on his teeth and gums every morning and night but that won't do anything for the tooth that is already infected. I hope we can manage this and that he won't and is not in a lot of pain. I had many regrets yesterday for not being more responsible and was very hard on myself. I cried a lot and felt terribly guilty. One more diligent task in cleaning his teeth would've maybe meant one more comfortable day for him as an elderly dog. I'm sorry, Piri. I'm so very sorry.


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