Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Mario -- Fin

March 6, 2004 (Gotcha Day) -- August 18, 2014
This blog had been grossly neglected the last year.  It is hard to have a running blog when you aren't running.  I wish I had kept up with the "Monday Marios" because I love looking back and reading them myself and I know Mario had a lot of friends out there who looked forward to seeing his handsome mug.

I am heartbroken to share the news that we put Mario to sleep on August 18th.  He was declining slowly over the course of this past year.  He didn't do his Bunny 500 zooms around the living room anymore.  He didn't really care too much for coming out and exploring as much.  Eventually I noticed he couldn't support himself on any surface that didn't have adequate traction.  He couldn't bend around to groom himself or eat his cecals.  

His veterinarian and I tweaked all sorts of things to keep him happy.  He was put on supplements and pain meds for arthritis.  I did warm compresses on his eyes to help that issue.  We changed his diet.  I modified his pen set up when he couldn't always make it into the litter box.  My veterinarian said to keep perspective:  If he was a person he would be grandpa in a nursing home in a wheelchair and diapers.  We started to have to give him baths.  Everyone who has followed this blog knows how fastidiously clean Mario was and I can only imagine how annoyed he was to be soiled.

All of this became the new norm the last 6 months or so and it seemed to work for everyone.  Then in his last 2.5 weeks Mario started to have major difficulties walking.  The final couple of days he was totally immobile and I made the heartbreaking decision I hoped I would never have to make.  I always wanted Mario to go peacefully in his sleep on his own terms.  After the major health scare and hospitalization we had a few years ago I didn't think I had it in me to make that choice for him.  It is hands down the hardest thing I have had to do and I am not sure pet ownership is for me anymore knowing it could end that way.

After over 10 years together life is very different without him.  I was in my mid-twenties when I adopted Mario and am now in my mid-thirties.  I would argue that is the decade the most drastic change in your life occurs.  Mario was with me through my final years as a student, my first job, a cross-country move, a wedding, and a baby.  He was up with me when I burned the midnight oil studying for Boards.  He was up with me when I would wake at dark o'clock for races.  He was up with me the night before my wedding when I couldn't fall asleep.  When my newborn was crying at 4 am he was up with me wondering what all the racket was about.

Mario was the heart and soul of this blog.  I started this as a running blog and it truly evolved into Mario's little corner of cyberspace.  More than anything else, I am thankful I had this blog to compel me to document his life and my memories with him.

After going to the veterinarian on Mario's final day, my husband parked by the ocean so I could regroup before going back to the craziness of a 4 week old and visiting relatives.  It was beautiful, somber, peaceful, and everything I was feeling.

"The cure for anything is salt water:  sweat, tears or the sea." -- Karen Blixen

It took me a year to get this posted.  Thank you to everyone who ever admired Mario from afar and laughed at his antics with me.  There is a rabbit-shaped hole in my heart.

The day I adopted Mario I met him and an animal shelter worker at a Connecticut train station.  He was in a carrier and looked a little distressed.  "Poor guy," I said.  "He's having a rough day."  The young woman looked at me and replied, "But he'll have a great rest of his life."

I can only hope this was the truth.

Every post I ever tagged with "Mario" can be found here.