Tuesday, April 24, 2012
As was to be expected, none of us slept very well last night. We are very sad and I expect it will be a week or two before the tears and the sadness subside.
I took the dogs for a long walk as usual early yesterday morning and noticed Simpson was having some digestive issues. Since I was going to the Babies' Home and then out to lunch with friends, I asked PeePorn to take him out in the yard every hour or so while I was gone... just in case. She went out with him a little after noon and, while she stood on the front stoop, he ran around the side of the house to do his business. She called him after a few minutes and he came right in. PeePorn said that he did not seem at all distressed when he came in the house and went right over and laid down on the rug near the family room. PeePorn was leaving to go to the market and happened to glance over and saw he was foaming at the mouth. She ran next door to get my neighbor but, by the time they got back to him, he was already dead. It happened so very fast and there was absolutely nothing I could have done even if I had been home.
Thinking he might have eaten something poisonous, PeePorn walked around the yard and, right next to our side patio, she found the dead snake. My neighbor and another friend took Simpson and the remains of the snake to our vet and the vet confirmed that it was a baby cobra. Apparently the bite of a baby cobra is especially fatal because it will inject all of its venom in one bite, whereas an adult cobra will bite its victim several times and release a small amount of venom with each bite. At least Simpson managed to kill the snake and I am relieved to know exactly what killed him. It doesn't make his death any easier but at least I am not wondering what happened and filling my head with "what ifs?".
My friends finally contacted me (I couldn't hear my mobile ringing in the restaurant) and I met them at the vet. We were told we had to take Simpson to a temple to be cremated. Fortunately, the vet was very helpful and drew a map to the temple. He also wrote a note in Thai for us to show at the temple which explained what we needed - this made a very stressful situation so much easier. The temple was very close to Nichada and we were there in about 15 minutes. The workers were very efficient and took Simpson from us immediately for cremation. I declined the offer of a short prayer service - by that time, I felt like I was on the verge of completely breaking down and just wanted to say good bye to Simpson and get home to the kids and Sonder. The temple where he was cremated was beautiful and, even under the horrible circumstances, it was a very peaceful goodbye, especially given Buddhist teachings on life, death and rebirth.
Kevin and I are still in shock but the kids are handling this much better than I thought they would. As hard as it is, we are trying to focus on the positives of his death. We know he died very quickly and without any pain so that helps our hearts a little. Also, there are a lot of young children in our neighborhood and they are always out playing, running through the yards and reaching into bushes to get misplaced basketballs or frisbees. It very easily could have been a child that was bitten instead of Simpson and that would have been truly devastating. Simpson also killed the snake so we don't have to worry that it is still out there. Yes, I am sure its siblings and its mom (and cousins, aunts and uncles) are around somewhere but I can't think about that. He got this one.
Poor Sonder is so lost without his buddy. PeePorn said that he was next to Simpson while he was lying on the rug so I assume that, at some level of dog awareness, he knows Simpson is dead. He is not whining or wandering around looking for him but he does keep going to the area where Simpson died and sniffing and resting on that spot. He won't leave my side and follows me everywhere so I have scrapped all but the most important of my plans for this week to stay with him. Needless to say, he will only be walked on a leash for the rest of our time in Thailand. There have been increasingly more cobra sightings in just the last week and I cannot take the risk of letting him out in the yard.
While we will continue to grieve and remember Simpson, life does go on. We will ease back into our routine over the next couple of weeks and begin to organize and plan for our trip back to the U.S. in June. Definitely something for us to look forward to.