By Lesley Rousso (@mommyrou)
When Sonja Morgan held a service for her beloved dog Millou, some Real Housewives of New York City fans sympathized, some snickered. In August, our beloved goldendoodle Isabella passed away and we were just devastated. For those of you ridiculed that RHONY episode, or are right now saying, “It’s just a dog”, clearly you’ve never loved a dog. Warning: this piece, by the way, may not be for you.
Izzi’s sickness started innocently enough. She threw up a couple of times and seemed lethargic. I thought maybe she ate something that didn’t agree with her, but soon she seemed to have very little appetite at all. Then I noticed something that scared the shit out of me; her eyes were yellow, so was her skin, and her gums. Jaundice, a sign of liver disease, is what I immediately thought. I took her straight to the vet the next morning. They kept her, ran blood tests, did an ultrasound. After spending a few days there, she was misdiagnosed with pancreatitis and sent home with antibiotics. She progressively got worse and after taking her to another vet it was discovered that her liver was full of cancer. Fucking cancer. 5 years old. It was extremely advanced and she was suffering and we had to make a decision.
We were there with her, and she died with her head right in my lap, her most favorite place to be. We sat with her a long time afterwards because I knew once we left, it was the last time we’d see her. This was a profoundly sad moment for our little family. My kids are old enough to be affected by this, and believe me, they were. Since one of Izzi’s symptoms was yellowing of the eyes, every day now, without fail, my 9 year old daughter asks me if I’ve checked Roxi’s eyes. Roxi is Izzi’s sister, same parents, different litter. I’m hoping and praying this cancer is not genetic. I miss my sweet Isabella every day. I still cry or at least get tears in my eyes daily, and each day I swear I can see her out the corner of my eye. I can still feel her fur in my hands and her sloppy tongue on my face. I cherish those five years I had with her but I’d give anything to have her back. I have come to the conclusion that she was too good to stay. She was needed elsewhere. Whatever gets me through the night right?
We keep her ashes in a pretty box with her collar atop it and her picture next to it right in the wall unit so every time we watch TV we can see her. We placed a pretty river rock in her favorite spot in the yard with her name on it. We had a memorial service, the 5 of us, plus Roxi and Duchess, our Great Dane. I read the Rainbow Bridge poem and Riley, our daughter, read a poem called Epitaph for a Friend from a book about pets that I’ve had my whole life. I have loved every dog I’ve had but there was no one like Izzi and there never will be again. She truly was a special soul.
Fast forward a little and enter Chloe. Darren was on the phone with our breeder Cindy Hancock at Abracadoodle almost instantly. He knows me well enough to know that, while I would never and could never replace Izzi, I would definitely need another dog to help with my grief. We got to pick who we wanted and I could’ve gotten another sibling of Izzi but I opted not to just in case her cancer was genetic. It just so happened that there was a new litter and when I saw the mom dogs name it sealed the deal. Isabella. Chloe arrived in the third week of September from Spangle, Washington. She’s a standard sized Doodle and she’ll grow to be about 80-90 pounds. I know what you’re thinking, wow that’s a big dog. If you know anything about me, you’ll know why that’s funny. If you don’t, it’s because my Great Dane weighs about one hundred sixty-five pounds. (Now that my friends, is a “big dog”.)
So far so good with Miss Chloe, with the normal puppy antics. She has tons of energy and she’s afraid of nothing. Including Duchess! Duchess on the other hand doesn’t quite know what to make out of this little maniac (Her words, not mine). Roxi is happy with her. She really missed her sister and now she has a new playmate.
One thing this whole experience taught me is to make sure your veterinarian is a good diagnostician. Someone, can’t remember who, said this very thing to me. It is true, and until I wound up at Knowles Animal Hospital and saw Dr. David Wise, Izzi kept being misdiagnosed. I strongly recommend to any of my Miami people to just head straight there if you have an emergency situation. After we made the heartbreaking decision of having to put Izzi down, I received the most beautiful handwritten sympathy card. Not from the hospital but from Dr. Wise personally. I mean it was three paragraphs.
With death always comes new life and for that we have our Chloe. For as long as I live though, I will never forget my IzziB and the love she gave to us in her short, but wonderful life.
Isabella Frothingslosh Puppy Rousso
June 20, 2010-August 14, 2015