Please ignore my lack of awesome camera skills for any pictures I will be posting in now and in the future (well, until I get my camera fixed).
The pictures were AFTER the tragic even that happened to us. The plan was for everyone to come to Jimmy's Aunt Lorie & Uncle Joe's house (where we stayed) for a bbq before we headed over to their church for fireworks. Side Note: Joe and Lorie's church is HUGE. Every year they host a fireworks event for the city (Northridge) that includes food and vendors and everything. Lorie works for the church and Joe volunteers to work as the head of security. Let's just put it this way, they had over 900 volunteers for the event. 900!
Back to the story: I wasn't sure I wanted to tell the story at first, but it was a part of our trip and it happened and it was tragic and it's just a good lesson to learn. Jimmy's Uncle Joe and Aunt Lorie have one son, Jacob, he's 15 and he's awesome. Seriously. Awe.Some. While Joe and Lorie were at the church getting ready for the fireworks event we (me, Jimmy, the kids & Jacob) decided to go swimming in the pool. They have a dog, Rambo, a pit bull. Now before you go all crazy on me regarding pit bulls, know this, Rambo was a big teddy bear, lovable, sweet, affectionate, adorable. They got him as a puppy from Jimmy's Aunt who owns the mom of Rambo and the bloodline is not violent. However, you still need to be cautious, and that's around any dog. Rambo was all muscle and could knock me over in a heartbeat trying to play catch. The pool was his cooling off place, so it was normal for him to dive in and hop out to cool off. Jacob decided to tie him up to an old outside umbrella stand that was weighted so he wouldn't risk knocking in one of the kids or one of us while we played in the pool. Simply put, Jacob wanted to protect the kids.
Everything was fine, the kids were loving the water and the day seemed perfect. We were all at the shallow end when we heard a splash. (getting the chills as I type) Some sounds and smells and sights will forever remain vivid and real in our memories. That sound will always remain loud in my thoughts. Rambo jumped in. Tied to the umbrella stand (I told you he was strong). I was in panic, I yelled for Jimmy and Jacob to dive down and get him. Dive down. 10 feet down. 10. feet. They tried and tried. Jacob was in full panic mode, crying and freezing up. I kept as calm as I possibly could and kept yelling at them to try. I got the kids out of the pool and tried to get a pole for them to hook him on. Unsuccessful. I ran in the house, called Uncle Joe, tried to tell him what was happening. In between poor cell phone reception, my blubbering of tears and cries, he finally understood what I was saying and was on his way. The boys got Rambo out by using the hose and quickly started CPR. I called 911, and asked the proper way to preform CPR on a dog, as helpful as he could be, the 911 operator explained what thought was the proper technique. He tried transferring me to other people that could help, one which was extremely unhelpful and rude and pretty much heard the wrath of my situation and lets just say she got an earful from me (and yes you can yell at someone with out cussing!!!) I hung up on her and the 911 operator and kept yelling at the boys to not give up and keep trying. Jacob was sobbing in the corner and my heart just broke into a million pieces for him. I kept the kids inside away from the scene. I did NOT want them to see what was happening. I was bawling and praying. Ryan asked me a few times what he should be saying to Jesus. I just kept saying, for him to pray that God will breathe life into Rambo, for healing for Rambo and also peace with Jacob and Jimmy. Ryan said a little prayer and started to play. I can't tell you how thankful I was to not only hear him pray, but that he didn't understand the tragedy of the situation. He understood enough that the dog got hurt in the water, but not the severity of events.
My husband. Man, my husband. He tried and tried and tried doing CPR on this dog. What an amazing man. He wouldn't give up.
What seemed like an hour, but in reality only about 10 mins, Uncle Joe came and they rushed off to the nearest emergency vet.
In the meantime, I was getting cleaned up, trying to act normal and sane in front of my 4 year old and 1 year old. I dried my tears and just got ready for the evening. Remember, all the family were supposed to come over any minute. I walked out of the room to see some family members there and I quickly explained the situation. With each person that come there I had to retell the story, retell the events. My voice was shaky, but I held it together. Jimmy's Aunt (who's puppy it was) was softly crying. I didn't know any more details at the time. We were all trying to move on, but still waiting.
I got the phone call about an hour after they left with Rambo. He didn't make it. I was obviously praying for a miracle, but in my heart knew before they left that he wouldn't make it. A few family members cried and a few just sat in silence.
The boys came home, to a house full of family, and they were all in tears as they walked through the door. I thought of Jacob. How he must have felt guilty and blamed himself. I thought of Jimmy and how he must have felt guilty for not being able to get Rambo to breathe. I thought of Lorie, who was still at work unable to get away, how her heart must be aching. There was a time of crying and time of encouragement and prayer and then we continued as planned with the bbq.
Everyone decided to head to the fireworks to take our minds off of the events and be together. I think that was the best decision. Not only were the fireworks amazing, we all managed to have a nice time with out thinking too much about what happened. I think it helped Jacob too, to be with his friends and to realize the event happened, he was brave, did the best they could and it WAS NOT his fault. He was such a trooper.
If you know me at all, you know how much I ADORE dogs. How much I love them and how much I do feel that they are truly apart of a family. I know many don't see the tragedy as that, but just as a dog drowning, but to us, to Jimmy's family it was so much more. They lost a member of their family. It was hard, but we all agreed how very thankful we were that we weren't mourning a child, that it could have easily happened that way. It goes to show anything can happen in a split second. Your life can change drastically.
It was sad, it was hard, but thankfully we were all still able to enjoy the rest of our vacation. We had many places (namely San Diego) to look forward to and as the days past things got a little easier and some joy did return. I think it was just a great lesson to learn. Cherish everyday, every moment, everyone. Life can change in a moment, in a second. Don't waste the time you have here.