Pugs & Pushups without the Pugs or Pushups?

It’s been far too long since I’ve updated this site. Twin motherhood, working full-time, moving twice, and just life has made anything extra (like this blog) hard to keep up with!

Something I never anticipated when becoming a mother was how intentional I HAD to be about things I used to do during down time. If I want to keep up with things I like doing, I have to actively participate in time management to be able to do them.

Over the last two and a half years my health has been on the decline. Sleep disturbances, crippling anxiety, and simply not taking care of myself (both from a physical standpoint and a mental one) was creating a space where I felt like my only purpose was for my family and I no longer mattered. I struggled to lose weight and find anything for myself.

The last few years have also been hard for Charlie, our pug, and reason for the blogs “pugs” title. In 2016 he began coughing and was having episodes where he’d pass out frequently. Despite working with some of the best veterinarians, on Xray we were unable to find any real reason for the cough, and medication wasn’t working. In 2019 he was finally diagnosed with lower airway collapsing trachea which had progressed probably from three years of coughing.

Over the last 6 months to a year his hind end also started to get weak. To the point where he was having trouble controlling his bladder and would often urinate and dedicate wherever he was sitting and wouldn’t notice, so he would sit in it until someone moved him. We found ourselves having to carry him outside to go to the bathroom where he would then struggle to stand for anymore time than the time he was going potty.

On August 14, 2020, with multiple veterinarians opinions, realized that his hind end was not going to get better, his cough was progressively getting worse, and the only option to keep him here comfortably was to sedate him to the point where he was no longer the dog we know. We decided that while the twins were at daycare, we’d let Charlie finally rest.

As a veterinary technician that has written about euthanasia of my patients, deciding to put Charlie to sleep should have been easy, but it wasn’t. The decision to euthanize him was, to date, the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. Together with my husband, we sat downstairs at my job, and behind tears I kissed Charlie one last time and attached the syringe, slowly pushing the sedative, followed by the euthanasia solution into his veins.

I’ve been part of more euthanasia’s than I would like to remember. Working in the ER and then as an oncology technician, I’ve had to say goodbye to so many pets, many of which I felt a personal connection to. The decision to euthanize Charlie myself was one we made as a family, but also I felt that it was a necessary decision. While my patients were always so hard to say goodbye to, being able to hold their paws or give their families condolences always made it slightly easier. For me, being able to control the decision around Charlies end of life experience was important. He trusted me to make the best decisions for him throughout his entire 12 years of life. I felt as if I owed it to him to be there for him in this way.

So, now our house is more quiet. We still have our dog Miley, a chiweenie, who has inadvertently become my emotional support dog while I’ve become her emotional support human. I’ve started taking her to work with me and whenever I can take her anywhere else, I do.

Aside from Miley, we also have our cat, Louie. He’s much less a people person and has always kept to himself. For Louie, not much has changed, but I’m glad our house is not completely empty as I’m not sure if mentally I’d be able to handle that.

Teagan petting Miley (this never happens)

After Charlie passed I came to the realization that I needed to start to take care of myself. Having a propensity for depression, I knew that if I didn’t start taking care of myself soon, I’d likely be in big trouble (mentally) and as a wife and mama of twin toddlers I have too many people counting on me to be there for them. I also realize I can’t be there for them if I don’t first take care of me.

So, while my house may be without my pug, and I haven’t done a push-up in what feels like a lifetime… I’m here, trying to look after my physical and mental health.

In 2010 I made a promise to Charlie and Miley that I would take care of myself so I could be around for them. In 2020, I kissed Charlie for the last time and promised him I’d take care of myself for Miley, for the twins and his daddy. While I can’t promise I’ll be doing any pushups any time soon, I can promise to write more, to continue to work on myself mentally and physically, and to allow myself to grieve because even though I don’t regret euthanizing Charlie (he was not living a quality life) I miss him every moment of every day.

In loving memory:
Charlie Bentley-Sofia Thomas
7/25/2008 – 8/14/2020

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