Daisy

One of my oldest, dearest friends is staying home this Thanksgiving with her dog, Daisy. I feel for her because Daisy is close to dying. Barbara, one of the most tender people I know, if you can get inside her layers of bravado, will not leave her side. She will sit with Daisy and eat turkey together and will not leave her house for one minute, she knows this is Daisy’s last Thanksgiving.

Ba and I have grown up together and I don’t say this lightly. We have been friends for over 30 years. We may not see each other for 5 or 10 years at a time but our connection is unbreakable.

Barbara has cooked a turkey for Daisy because Daisy still has her appetite and I know that my dear friend will be eating with her. The dog can’t walk easily so Ba helps her on to the bed, where she sleeps, on and off. Barbara hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks and from how she sounded I can see the dark circles under her eyes. The ones I used to see when she allowed herself to be sad in front of me, crying, when she was vulnerable and unafraid to be who she was.

Part of me wishes I could be there, for her, part of me is grateful that I have my own family to be with, I was never good at endings. I can barely say good-bye. All of my old feelings of our first dog, Callie dying unexpectedly are coming up.  I can’t write this without being misty-eyed and I am controlling myself. A lot.

I am sending my love to Daisy and to my friend Barbara because I know how hard this is, most animal lovers can certainly relate. I know that Daisy does not have much time left in this world, and in fact, when I found out that Daisy died, about a week later, I knew it in my heart, I felt it deeply. I even told my husband the very same day that Daisy had passed.Dog lovers, animal lovers, there is a bond like no other. Daisy was Barbara’s fur baby.

You cannot know love until it is taken away from you. That is when the grief process begins. The house, Barbara lives in now, is just way too silent.

In memory of Daisy, dedicated to Barbara with love.

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What Makes Me Cry

old dog

Imagining myself in the future with my old dog, in the veterinarian’s office. My dog is older than she is now and very sick. She can’t be cured and paying thousands and thousands of dollars for treatments that will just prolong her pain and make her suffer is not what I want for her. It’s been hard enough to look at her these last few months and hear her whimper in pain, I cannot see my beloved dog suffer. I made a promise to her. They are ready to put her down, that’s the easiest, kindest way of saying it, I know. The vet and his assistant said I could wait outside, that it would be easier for me but I know in my heart I can’t do that. I adopted this puppy when she was six weeks old and she looked into my eyes then, wide eyes with expectation and she crawled on my lap, snuggled and never left. I promised her I would never leave her; how can I leave her now when she needs me the most? I’m sobbing but I go inside the office and I go around to her head and look into her eyes and tell her how much I love her and how much joy she has brought into my life. “My girl, my sweet girl” I whisper between my tears, ” I love you so much.” The vet looks at me and asks me if it’s okay to inject the needle into the IV. Part of me wants to scream “no!” but I have no choice, it’s time. I don’t want my dog to suffer anymore; we have been suffering together for a while now. I nod my head and it only takes moments before she inhales deeply and then is silent, her body still, frozen. I break down and sob hysterically and they let me have a moment alone with her. I’ve never loved an animal like I have loved this dog. She was my girl, my baby and I feel lost without her. I made a promise that I would not let her suffer and while I know logically that I did the right thing, my heart has been shattered and I feel overwhelming sadness and pain. I’ve truly lost my best friend, and it’s killing me.

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*I Will Carry You UPDATE

Field of Snow

Image by spodzone via Flickr

 

Dear Callie Dog,

A human neighbor saw you the day before yesterday and she commented that you looked “old.” I was offended on your behalf and hurt and I tried not to show it but inside I was sad and angry and yes, scared. Human people don’t go up to other people and say “you really look old.” I know they wouldn’t do that so why on earth did she have to say it about you? Don’t worry sweet dog, sometimes humans have no manners.

If you can no longer jump on the bed, I will carry you. I will hold you in my arms so that you feel safe and talk to you in sweet, soothing whispers. My voice would stay calm and high so that you would know that things are fine. I don’t want, for a minute, for you to feel afraid. I love you more now than I did when I brought you home from the animal shelter at six weeks. We’ve gone through a lot together.

I now see the wisdom in your eyes, those wide brown eyes, contrasting your snowy white chin and whiskers. You look beautiful to me. You may not be able to jump as high as you used to when you were younger but you still jump and most importantly, you still enjoy it. I know you are waiting for the winter, for the snow to fall, so you can play in it. Sometimes we call you “snow dog” because you love the snow so much. Dad will play his game of shoveling the snow with his snow shovel and he will throw it high up in the air and you will bark, as clear as the sound of laughter, when you jump right into the snow. By the way, I hope you know that Dad has as much fun with this game as you do, maybe even more. I know I hate the snow and I’m sorry I don’t go out as much in it but the best part of having snow, to me, is watching your joy. When you have to leave me, please know, that every time it snows, I will picture you in it. I will still hear your delight as you jumped and bounced and tumbled in the white stuff you loved so much. Whenever it snows, I will think of you.

We have both grown up this year haven’t we? Change is happening all around us and we are learning to cope with it and deal with it and most of all accept it.  We’ve gotten so much better, you and I. Last time we went in the car together you were scared but that’s okay. I get scared of things too, but we make ourselves do new things even if we feel nervous at first. Remember by the end of the car ride how you stuck your head out the window, looked outside, showed everyone your happy face and your wagging tongue? It was lovely to see.

I will love you forever, Callie, my first dog. Though I don’t want this to happen for a long time, you should know that if you are ever in pain, and I see it in your eyes, I will not let you suffer. One thing I know, I will look into your brown pudding eyes and you will look back into my green eyes and we will talk wordlessly and understand each other as we always do. Any decisions we need to make, we will make together, the two of us. You can crawl into my lap, just like you did the first time we met, and I will hold you tight and not let go until I have to.

For now, while you lay beside me, sleeping, just know I will always comfort you. Whether it is thundering and lightening or hailing outside like it did last night, I will always protect you. Last night, I wrapped my arms around your silken body and I held you and stroked you and talked to you so that you would stop shaking so severely.What I want to say now is simple;  thank you for your love and loyalty and kindness. For kissing my tears away, licking my face and sharing blueberries with me. I enjoy our “cookie game” as much as you do. I take a vanilla cookie and hold half of it outside my lips, you take it out of my mouth and we share it. I will try hard, when you are no longer with us, to fight to remember the good times and not just cry at my loss. I will try Cal, I really will; all I can do is to promise to try.

Love,

Mom

*Dedicated to Rosemary’s dog, Mr. H. Rest In Peace.

UPDATE: CALLIE died six months later from cancer.