Terii’s Cycling Babble

The Hardest Post
February 25, 2020, 7:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Loke – Age 8 Weeks & 1 Day

Memorials. Eulogies. Hard things to express. Difficult to pour out the emotions of loss even as one feels the need to do so. The weight of something that feels so heavy and yet, it is a void left by something or someone no longer with you.

Anyone who has made a habit of reading my posts, or has looked back over what I’ve written recently, knows of Loke’s decline these past years. The past 2 years especially. It’s been such a roller coaster, but if it were graphed and you connected the peaks with a straight line, you’d see that each of the highs wasn’t as high as the previous. We knew this day was coming. It still hurts.

Snow Loke2 Dec 31 2005 alt

Loke – December 31st, 2005 (6 months old)

The past month or so, it had accelerated. There was less spring in his step, at least when outdoors. His appetite had lessened, so he was much pickier about what he would eat. I was having to go to more creative methods to walk that razor’s edge of keeping him from having allergic reactions, but still something he would eat with this medications mixed in. The times when his back  legs would just suddenly quit working for minutes at a stretch had increased.

Then it accelerated even more. Over the weekend, he was walking even slower. One short walk I took him on, he was ‘knuckling’ horribly and not even realizing it. Sunday, he suddenly refused to eat his medicated deer meat breakfast. He still desperately wanted Jens’ breadroll, and ate his new hydrolyzed salmon kibble with okay enthusiasm, but he wouldn’t so much as LOOK at the deer meat.

06-01 b Wallowing Loke

Wallowing Goof Ball of Fur

That was concerning as it was the only was I was willing to make sure Loke took his meds. Before we started giving him soft food again to get him take them, I’d been prying Loke’s mouth open, inserting a pill, hold mouth shut and rub the bottom of the jaw to make him swallow them.

We were miserable. He became evasive and paranoid of where I was in terms of his personal space. I hated that he was looking at me as something to be avoided. Then, came the day when he bared his teeth and snapped at me. Fortunately, we were able to overcome that when a soft food that wouldn’t trigger an allergic reaction was discovered thanks to some of the vets doing research. I was able to hide his pills in it and he gobbled it down with no notice.

04-07 e Smithy & Loke

Small Smithy, Loke & Trike

Then he stopped eating that so, we moved on to deer meat against my instincts, since his last 5 day stint at the hospital was because of reindeer meat. But it worked and he was over the moon getting deer meat again. Then there we were. Even deer meat wouldn’t tempt him into eating his meds. Jens tried to suggest that I make Loke take them. I refused to spend his last days hating me and running from me. Jens tried and got Loke to take his capsules at least. That was Sunday, Feburary 23rd.

01-07 b Loke's True Love

Loke snuggling with part of his one true love.

08-04 b Loke Cooling Off

Loke cooling off.

Then, February 24th, Loke wouldn’t eat. Not anything. I even did a little test with a piece of bread. He turned away from that. Bread, something he had loved as much as the trike didn’t even call to him.

He had some energy in the apartment, but each step outside was teetering and slow. One walk with him, his back legs suddenly dropped him. I’d been watching closely and hurried over to help him lay down, checking to see how bad it was.

07-06 j Koversta Loke Hoping for Food

Loke did try to touch noses with the horse before looking to see what was in the bucket.

Suddenly this woman seemed to come out of nowhere, probably because I was so focused on Loke. She was yelling at me about what a horrible person I was and that she was going to call the police to report animal cruelty. I was already gutted and crying, then this harpy came out of nowhere to kick me while I was down. Loke freaked out at her hostile manner and started thrashing around, trying to get up and escape. So, who was the cruel one?

I picked him up, the woman waving her phone and yelling still as I carried my 50 lb dog about 30 yards to the apartment building I first lived in with Jens. She didn’t follow me inside, so all I had to do was go up a flight to get out of her sight. I set Loke on the landing and we just waited for a while. His legs came back to him and then we finished the walk home across the parking lot.

57 Loke Battling Water

The Water Started It!

I told Jens and since Loke was having such difficulties, we decided I’d call the vet to at least get him checked and see what, if anything could be done. I had my doubts anything could be done, but one way or another, a call needed to be made.

While I waited for the appointment, Loke seemed to have a bit more energy and was rather clingy.

Jens’ parents came to give us the ride. Jens’ dad is Loke’s mostest, favoritest person in the whole world. As I coaxed a teetering Loke to the car, he didn’t even respond to Åke. He might as well have been a stranger.

03-29 e Loke Snow 3

Loke Snow Diving!

I was already teary as I walked into the clinic. I became more so when I coaxed Loke onto the scale only to discover he’d lost about 7 lbs in 10 days. In the exam room. Loke was lethargic. He had no gut sounds, was dehydrated. I called Jens and we decided. It was time.

Jens asked if it was okay that I had it done right away. It would take him over 2 hours to get to us and the vet clinic would have been close to closing time by then and it didn’t seem right to try and make Loke wait another day if he was already doing so poorly.

Loke at Gysinge

Loke Hunting Beavers? – February 2010

My husband is one of the kindest and most generous hearted men I have ever known, but I’ve never seen him so much as teary-eyed in over 15 years. I heard it on the phone. The thick voiced grief. For Loke, he was shedding tears.

Loke’s been so much apart of family life, I did call Jens’ parents to let them know. Give them the choice to say goodbye or not. Jens’ mom came in, but it was too painful for Jens’ dad, bringing back memories of when their Standard Poodle passed. I think my mother-in-law was there more for me than for Loke.

1a Innocent Loke

What? I wasn’t doing anything! I’m a good boy!

We went off to the small, more comfortable room the clinic has for the final farewells. A nice, thick, fuzzy mat on the floor for big dogs to lay on. Candles gleamed and boxes of tissues

The vet staff rallied around. Olivia, one of the vet techs, spread the word to anyone who knew Loke and I. As Loke was given the initial sedation, they all came in, one by one to give his head a last loving pat and me a hug or hand on the shoulder, kind words. I was relieved that the end came there, among the men and women who had worked as hard as I had to keep Loke happy and as healthy as possible for as long as we had.

Loke passed peacefully beside me, as I laid down on the floor with him for that last cuddle. February 24th, roughly 3:45 pm. We sat with him for a while until I finally had no sense of Loke still being there. I’d stopped crying for a bit while talking with my mother-in-law about memories. I stood up and gave him one last look. His collar, I decided I had to have it and burst into tears all over again as I took it off.

Though I could have taken the side door and slipped out with my tears unseen by all in the waiting room, I went through the clinic to double check about any payment since I hadn’t had a chance to pre-pay. Olivia about hugged the breath out of me, bless her.

05-03 jb Loke by Baltic

Loke by the Baltic

I’m glad I took that little side trip, even if strangers saw my tears. As we were finishing up, Olivia came by again. “I thought you’d want to know, but after Loke is cremated, his ashes will be scattered in the forests of Dalarna.”

That was a comfort believe it or not. Darlarna is a ‘region’ of Sweden, sort of the way the US is broken into states. It so happens that Loke was born on the fringes of a small town called Insjön which is in Dalarna. Loke was returning to the land he had been born in. Also, Dalarna is where a major branch of my family tree has roots. Fitting, as a huge part of my heart was leaving with him, back to that source for us both figuratively speaking.

16 Loke On Top Of World

Loke On Top of the World

Rather than going home to a suddenly empty house, Jens’ mom insisted I come with them to their place where Jens could pick me up when he got to Uppsala.

04-08 d Loke Watching SquirrelIt was a strange evening. There were times when I felt so calm, but it was more of a sense of numb or hollow. None of the general nitpicking between Jens and I about who takes Loke out. No tick-tick of nails on the wooden floor. None of the cute little snoring sounds.

I had been in Sweden for less than 6 months when we decided to get a husky. Barely more than 7 months when we picked Loke (then Ezlo) out from two litters. Had been in the country for 8 months and 10 days when we brought him home.

He was much of what my life here was. Shaping my perspective of it. Sharing in my exploration and in some way, love of it as we rolled thousands of miles with my trike. The adventures and fun and, yes, even the frustrations and challenges.

Now, Sweden will be different. Riding my trike will take on new meanings I’ll have to discover. A major thread in the fabric of my life where Loke was, has been cut and the pattern will now change. I spent more time with Loke than any other living creature with the exception, perhaps, of my mother through childhood to the moment I left home. For almost 15 years, we’ve shared the same space, most of the time, 24/7 excepting running errands. I’ve spent more time with Loke than Jens. Except for his trips to the hospital, there have only been 6 other times I’ve not had Loke around overnight. My trip to the hospital for the stroke. My 2015 credit-card tour in the southern part of Sweden. The road trip through Europe where he stayed with Jens’ parents. Both trips to England for me to test ride the trike. One trip that Jens took with his dad and Loke went with them.

RIP - Feb 24th 2020

The last photo of Loke taken February 24th. Born- July 1st, 2005. Died – February 24th, 2020. My heart goes with you. Thank you for the smiles.

And so, I set out without my constant companion for the first time in over 14 years, to see where the roads will take me.