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obituary

Losing Faith

I never doubted that I was doing the right thing when I drove over 10 hours round trip to adopt a seven-year-old basset hound on December 30, 2020. The moment I saw Faith’s photo, I knew she was my dog.

Five days after her adoption, I rushed Faith to the animal hospital in renal failure. Until then, no one had realized how sick she was.

Adoption Day!

During her first hospitalization, the vet determined that Faith would need to be on prescription food for the rest of her life.

Ok, I thought. I can do that.

About a week later, she had to be hospitalized again. During that stay, the vet determined she would need to be on subcutaneous fluids every night for the rest of her life.

Ok, I thought. I can do that too.

They had to bring me into the hospital so the tech could teach me how to put the needle in her back between her shoulder blades. As I sat on the floor with Faith with one of her vets sitting on the floor across the room from us, we discussed her medical conditions. He had been employed at the hospital for about six months, but because of COVID, I was the first pet parent he’d spoken to in person.

Every day while Faith was hospitalized, I called the hospital at 4:30am to ask how she was doing as I drank my morning coffee. I knew the vet would call after morning rounds, but I didn’t want to wait to hear how my baby was doing. When the staff mentioned in passing that she liked the fleece blanket, I went to Target and bought her four. I wanted her to be surrounded by loving softness.

One of her fleeces, “purple blanket,” even came with us to the office every day. At the end of each day, I’d scoop up Faith’s 33-pound body and carry her to the car. At night, I administered her subcutaneous fluids. Each of her beds had one of her heavy fleece blankets, and I hung a hook on the wall above each one for the fluid bag. After she was done with her fluids, I covered her with a light fleece and the heating pad to keep her warm as her body absorbed the room temperature fluid.

Faith in her nest of fleece blankets.

I was prepared to do whatever she needed.

I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye so soon.

On January 31, 2021, as I was about to climb into bed, I noticed that Faith was breathing somewhat rapidly. I called the hospital and they said to bring her in. As I pulled into the parking lot, I was met by three techs. Two of them loaded Faith onto a stretcher and whisked her inside, and one handed me a clipboard with a consent form. I climbed into the back seat and tried to sleep, knowing it would be a while before the vet called with an update. Close to midnight, my phone rang. Not only were Faith’s kidney numbers worse than ever, she also had pneumonia. Her little body was failing.

The vet offered to put her down that night, but I declined. “Faith will die at home,” I said.

Faith was so small, she could fit on the office chair with me.

Faith and I went to the office on Faith’s last full day. I invited the legal assistant who adored Faith to come pet her before we left for the day. She was busy and said something like, “I’ll see her next time.”

With tears welling in my eyes I responded, “There isn’t going to be a next time.”

That night, Faith and I cuddled on the couch with purple blanket and watched “The Devil Wears Prada.” The next morning, Dr. Katherine Campabadal came to the house and helped little Faith over the Rainbow Bridge. Just like with Rosie, I stayed at Faith’s side through to the end, and then kept her home for a few hours until I was ready to take our final photos before taking her to the pet mortuary.

Faith Helen Carter (December 15, 2013 – February 3, 2021)

Faith died on February 3, 2021, only 36 days after her adoption. I didn’t know it when I adopted her, but my job was to give her a soft place to land and surround her with love for her final days.  

RIP Rose Louise Carter

October 21, 2007 – August 7, 2020

My sweet Rosie went over the Rainbow Bridge on August 7, 2020. This sweet basset hound came into my life in the spring of 2012 courtesy of the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue. When I first laid eyes on her and trotted up my front walkway, I knew she was my dog.

Rosie was such a smart dog. In Carter Law Firm’s infancy, I worked out of the house and had a mailbox at the UPS Store. When Rosie and I would pick up my mail, she’d walk around the counter and sit for a dog treat. Then she’d help herself to another one from the box. There was one time when Mom was visiting, and she made a cheesecake which she left on the dining room table. A little while later, we noticed a bite taken out of the cake and Rosie was quietly laying on her bed smacking her lips. Even at nearly five-feet long and 60 pounds, Rosie could be stealthy when she wanted.

Basset hounds are notorious for being stubborn, and Rosie was no exception. She regularly went “flat basset” while we were crossing the street. When she was on a scent, nothing could pull her off it. On more than one occasion, she got soaked at the park because she followed a scent right into the sprinklers. Speaking of the park, it was so much fun to watch her run with a group of dogs – well, the other dogs would be running as a group, and she’d be chasing after them, fast as her little lets could carry her.

Everyone loved Rosie. She had the best set of human friends and dog friends, and we had puppy playdates nearly every day. I loved when her godfather would come over because of how much she would bark with joy.

Rosie went nearly everywhere with me. I even registered her as an emotional support animal. Whenever we’d go out for a meal, I’d always order something for her along with a meal for myself. When the partners at my current firm announced that they wanted me to join, I responded, “Great. I come with a dog.” We had to have a third interview where I brought her in so they could see she was going to be a non-issue, particularly with a baby gate across my door. Technically, she was only supposed to come in once a week, but no one batted an eye when I brought her in more often.

There were a handful of times I had to go out of town without her, and I had to leave her at the kennel, aka “Camp.” While she was there, I ordered extra bedding and playtime for her. I’d call and check on her each day, even though the report was always, “She’s fine. Everyone adores her. She sleeps a lot.” The best part of taking her to Camp was when I got to pick her up again. She barked like crazy coming through the lobby door, said a quick hello to me, before pulling me towards the exit.

In 2015, Rosie lost her eye to glaucoma, and the vet said it would only be a matter of time before she lost her other eye. Our schedule became regulated by her medication as she was put on a regimen of eye drops to try to sustain her sight as long as possible. Knowing that there was limited time, I wanted Rosie to see as much as she could for as long as she could. We took a long weekend trip to Long Beach, CA so she could experience the beach and the ocean at Rosie’s Dog Beach, an off-leash dog beach named after an English Bulldog. Not a fan of the water, she loved plodding along on the sand, and several times she plopped herself down on someone else’s blanket and looked up at them as if you say, “You shall pet me now.”

As the years progressed, Rosie began to slow down. She wasn’t interested in walking as far as arthritis began affecting her hips and knees. Sometimes she just wanted to walk two feet out the front door and lay down on the cool cement. She began sleeping more. Then, in 2018, Rosie lost her second eye to glaucoma. Her world went dark and I became her seeing eye human. Even though she couldn’t see, she would still wag her tail in happiness when she smelled a familiar person or pup.

As she continued to age, Rosie developed canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) aka doggy dementia. Sometimes she would pace or pant as if she were lost in her own home, and she developed sundowners where she’d flip night and day. She had CBD to manage her anxiety during the day, and our vet prescribed trazadone to help her sleep through the night, which was a godsend. Rosie spent most of her days laying next to me as I worked at my desk and laying next to the front door when I went out.

During the last few weeks of Rosie’s life, I knew her time was short. I arranged for Rosie to be Miss January in the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue’s 2021 calendar, even though I knew she wouldn’t live long enough to see the new year. The photographer was so sweet, following Rosie around, getting shots when she could because older blind dogs do not pose for pictures. Then she invited me to jump in for a few shots. I’m so glad she got a few final shots of me smiling with my baby girl.

Rosie died at home on Friday, August 7, 2020 with the help of a mobile vet. It was one the hardest decisions I ever had to make. I stayed at her side until she took her last breath, hoping she knew, for every moment she was my dog, that she was loved.