Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Phred the wonder dog

A week long trip to Arizona with friends who are family more than family, helped us through the tragic news that our dear Phred, the BEST dog in the whole wide world, had been hit and killed on Thursday night.

We decided to postpone telling our sons that Phred was no longer with us until the day we left Arizona.

We thought that Jordon, who Phred regularly slept with, would be the hardest hit. However, as in some of our thinkings, we were wrong. Gabriel broke down and cried and cried and cried.

We had a four fifteen flight to catch, so we arrived at Skyharbor Airport by two p.m. After saying goodbye to Richard (oh how we love him!), we entered the airport and Gabriel told me that he needed an ibuprofen.

Gabriel took his ibuprofen and became ill - throwing it up and going into a severe shock type reaction. He was shaking and his body temperature was soaring and then freezing. He could not stop shaking.

Mel alerted a police officer that we needed medical attention. The fire department responded and stood around, watching as Mel and I tended to our son. We laid him down and we covered him with our coats. The fire chief told us that a blanket would come when the EMT personnel came.

We were asked numerous questions, which we answered, taking turns in tending to Gabe, holding him, getting him to breath properly, basically, rendering aid to him.

It was decided to transport him to the hospital as he was experiencing severe head pain; which came in waves and had him tearing at his hair to stop the pain.

The hospital was a ten minute ambulance ride away. Jordon sat up front with the driver while Mel, Gabe, Andrew (the EMT) and I sat in the back. We had no other way in getting to the hospital, so the fire chief had directed that we be permitted to ride along. Nice...

At St. Luke's hospital, we were seen by the nurse and the doctor. The doctor ordered blood and urine work and a Ct Scan. These were all done within a two hour period and read back to us. All the tests came back normal.

The doctor told Gabe that his brain looked liked Einstein's brain and that he thought he should study to be a doctor and get straight A's. (I second that motion!)

We departed the hospital via taxi and were back at the airport, with Gabe a little bit paler but in full recovery. Southwest Airlines was terrific in rebooking us for a later flight and taking care of our luggage for us.

We departed Phoenix and arrived home around midnight. Gabriel was on the verge of another meltdown when he settled down to sleep. I stayed with him for about an hour, holding him, encouraging him to think of Phred and all that he brought to our lives, and trying to get him to stay away from another episode of hysteria.

Gabriel finally went to sleep around one thirty.

This morning, snow covers the area - and the boys went outside and saw the beautiful cross that our neighbor made for our Phred. It has his name on it and the date that he died. Our neighbor, bless his heart, brought Phred home and buried him.

In the midst of this sad, sad incident, there is so much good. The good that ordinary people do - the care that others gave to us in our grief.

Yes, Phred was a dog. Yes, he was only a dog - but I am so impressed in how he, the wonder dog, permitted others to show Christ to us through his death.

Rest in Peace, Phred, my dearly beloved most wonderful dog in the whole wide world.
(The photo was taken Christmas Day night - Phred and I were wiped out!)

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