Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Friday, March 21, 2014


Nearly 13 years ago my mom had a golden retriever who had lived past all reasonable expectations for a golden.  So for Christmas I gave her a ball of fluff that was half lab, half golden.  She was the goofiest dog ever and I could keep you laughing for some time if I could manage to share her exploits. But I can't right now.

The puppy bonded to me heavily in the first 2 days that we had her.  The first day she actually went around the nursing home with me.  The 2nd she was with me a lot as my mom was out of town for a while.  She always loved me and as time has passed has been in some ways more my dog than my mom's. 

18 months ago we lost her companion dog who was around the same age.  She went downhill after that.  She improved after the puppy came but never was energetic or extremely playful again.  She'd had many health problems and had numerous fatty tumors and potentially cancerous tumors everywhere, severe arthritis after having had 2 knee surgeries, etc.  We've had her on meds for months and she was really doing pretty well until the last month or so when subtle changes happened.  She started being short of breath and wanting to be in cold air all the time.  She slept more and more of the day but was agitated at night and didn't seem to get comfortable easily then.  She was supposed to go to the vet today to be checked for heart failure.

Yesterday when I got up she was confused.  I thought it would pass and let her out.  She acted pretty normally for a while.  Then a few hours later a person came to fix my cracked windshield and despite being right by the dog yard fence she didn't come down.  I checked her and knew immediately it was bad.  Blood had filled her eyeballs.  At that point it was only one and she could see some out of the other but soon she was totally blind.  I arranged a vet appointment and got my mother to head home.  By that point I knew it was very bad.  It got worse when it got ready to rain and she was too afraid to go up the 2 steps to the sun porch.  I had to lift her entire body by wrapping a towel around her.  In the sun porch she kept walking into things until I finally got her to lay down.  At this point I was sure it was the end and so I spent most of the next few hours saying good-bye.  She finally fell sound asleep and I let her do that until my mom was home.  During that time we talked on the phone and discussed the high likelihood of euthanasia and that I was pretty sure.

Loading her into the car was awful.  I picked her up with the towel again, all 80 lbs of her and got her into the back of my mom's SUV.  (Remember that I have a likely fractured/definitely sprained ankle through all this and am supposed to take it easy.  Ha.).  The vet's office brought a gurney out and we got her inside.  The vet felt that she very probably had cancer as she had some extremely abnormal white blood cells, the numerous tumors everywhere, and clinically something was wrong.  She probably also had a stroke.  Together we decided it was time.  Restoring her vision was unlikely and even if they had it wouldn't have solved the other problems. 

So she is now wrestling with her best buddy.  I can picture it and it makes me smile.  But at the same time I miss her so much.  I have lost it totally here in the last half hour because i went downstairs for more water as I do about 3 times per night and I'm so used to checking on her, giving her a pat, getting her more water and making sure I didn't trip on her.  And now there's nothing down there but water in the fridge. 

Nobody greeted me today with her traditional 3 tail thumps of approval.  I missed petting her velvety soft ears.  Nobody tried to get me to pet their belly.  It just wasn't a day that was right because she was gone and she will be gone forever.

I know that yesterday was awful for her.  She was so afraid and confused by the vision loss.  She had trouble walking because her balance was gone, again probably a stroke.  I also know I made it as good as I could.  I sat on the floor and petted her, brushed her and talked to her for hours.  I rode in the back of the car to  keep a hand on her while we drove.  We talked a lot about the other dog and how she'd see him and we'd miss her and loved her so much.  Before she died I gave her a hug and said a few last things and then I left.  My mom had a few minutes alone before the shot.  She went completely peacefully.  It was time.

But I'm just so sad.  It will never be the same without her.  I keep crying at completely random times, this email being begun because of one of them.  I just want life to not keep changing in painful ways.  And I know that's just not how life works.  Oh, but missing my girl isn't a way I was prepared for.  I knew it wouldn't be forever.  I did think it would be yesterday until I DID know and then I felt like I had compress so much into just a little time. One last cuddle.  One last pet.  One last word.  One last memory.  That just sucks.

1 comment:

Jean Grey said...

I am so sorry. I have lost a dog before- and it is awful. Let yourself cry. I was afraid I would never stop crying, but of course eventually I did. I have a lot of wonderful memories of a great dog.