It started about two weeks before he passed away, he was just not quite himself. He was throwing up and wouldn't eat or drink anything. I took him in to his vet right away thinking maybe he had gotten into something toxic. After three hours of labs and blood tests, they finally came back and told me he looked totally fine and probably had some kind of bug. They sent me home with some bland food and medicine and sent us on our way. A week passed and he still wasn't better, so while I visited Beckham in the nicu, my mother in law brought him in for more labs. This time they did an X-ray to see if maybe he had an obstruction or a blockage, still everything looked completely normal. I was distraught and angry that they couldn't figure out what was wrong with him! He was lounging around the house, wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink, and wouldn't even bark at the door. It got to the point where we were having to force feed him pumpkin and water mixed with pedialyte through a syringe, just to keep up his health. A couple days later he started to look better and was acting like his normal playful self. I was so happy! THEN a few days later he was right back to being sick. On November 2nd I had a horrible bad feeling and knew something was terribly wrong with our little Rookie. We decided to take him to a new vet that night. Within 20 minutes they gave us more answers than the first vet did after 3 visits! The following day they called us and said they found a blockage in his intestines and they were going to need to do surgery immediately.
Honestly, Skyler and I were stressed about this because having a baby in the NICU is not cheap! We were already seeing the bills coming, and paying for Rookies surgery would put us into debt. We decided we wanted to do whatever it took to keep him alive, and gave them permission to do surgery. There was no question in our mind that he was well worth it. He was and always will be apart of our family. About an hour into it the vet called and said that Rookie was in surgery and was doing well. As they were bringing him in for surgery he had a massive explosive bowel movement (sorry tmi) and a little rubber thing came out. It looked like a small piece to maybe a nerf ball? After that they did another X-ray and ultrasound and saw that something still just didn't look right. They decided to go ahead with the surgery and found out that whatever caused the obstruction, had stretched his intestine so tight that they had to remove part of it! Because the intestine had obstructed, it caused intestinal fluid to leak into his stomach. Its kinda like if your appendix bursts and goes unattended, it can kill off your organs. This is what happened with Rookie. They had to suck all of the intestinal fluid out, remove part of his small intestine, and sew it back together.
Once he was out of surgery they called me again and said they expected a full recovery. During the surgery he passed away, but they were able to revive him. He was doing much better than they thought he would considering what he had been through, and was ready for us to pick him up in a couple hours. We had to take him to a high level intensive care veterinary hospital for 12 hr post surgery observation in Salt Lake. I was so glad he was doing okay, and loved snuggling him the whole way to Salt Lake! It broke my heart leaving him there over night, but I wanted him to be in the best place possible if anything were to happen to him.
The following day I was ready to pick him up and so excited to have our Rookie home with us again! I called the vet to see how he did over night, and he told me that he still wasn't ready to be picked up. He still wouldn't eat or drink and seemed like he was in a lot of pain. He asked if id come to the hospital and try to get him to eat. Skyler and I both came, but Rookie still wouldn't eat. He looked completely miserable so they did yet another ultrasound. He still showed no signs of any fluid in his stomach that could cause him to be this sick, so once again we had no answers. The 12 hour observation was now looking more like a 24 hour observation.
Later that night, after visiting Beckham we went to visit Rookie again. They let us in to a private room, and brought Rookie into us laying on a big pillow. They laid him on my lap and I just cried and cried. Rookie looked up at me and gave me this look ill never forget. I knew at that moment he wasn't going to make it. I won't go into too much detail about how in pain he was, but lets just say it was very hard to watch. After a couple hours the vet came in and asked to take Rookie back in for observation. Now the 24 hour observation was now looking more like 48 hrs. I didn't want to leave him, but I knew he needed to be in a place where they'd be able to help him if anything happened. I cried the entire 30 minute drive home, and cried until I fell asleep.
That night I had a dream about Rookie. I received a phone call saying that he was eating again and had made a miraculous recovery. I saw him playing and jumping, acting like his usual self. He was happy again and I was filled with joy. I held and kissed him and told him how much I loved him.
I woke up to Cayman crying in his bedroom and went back to rock him back to sleep. As I rocked him, I started crying again. I realized that it was all a dream and that Rookie was probably not going to make it . Once Cayman went back to sleep I laid down next to Skyler in bed and started crying again on his shoulder. He hugged me tight, and then told me that while I was with Cayman, the vet had called. My heart dropped...He said, "Bethany, Rookie passed away just a little while ago. The vet said he became really calm and peaceful, and passed away in his sleep." Wow, I was hysterical. I couldn't stop crying.
The last time we had seen Rookie, he looked like he was in a lot of pain and we didn't want to remember him like that. The vet said he looked very peaceful when he passed, so Skyler and I wanted to see him one last time to say our goodbyes. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect, or if seeing him that way would traumatize me, but we both kept having this feeling that we should. So, we went back to the animal hospital to see him one last time.
They had us sit in a private room at the back of the hospital and brought him to us on a pillow, with a blanket lying over him. I opened the blanket, and there he was. Our little Rookie. I thought seeing him passed away would be weird, or I wouldn't feel like it was actually him. Instead, Skyler and I both lost it. Rookies sweet spirit completely consumed us. It was like he was still in the room with us and we couldn't believe how peaceful he looked. He looked like he was just sleeping and he'd wake up any moment, but he didn't. Im glad we decided to say our goodbyes, because it gave us both closure. We were able to tell him how much we loved him and thanked him for always loving us.
We buried Rookie in the mountains by my moms house. We found the perfect spot overlooking the valley, and buried him under a great big tree. It was a beautiful day. Skyler buried him with his favorite toy (we called it his girlfriend) and made an adorable sign with Cayman to put above his grave. Every time we drive past that mountain we'll think of him.