Those We've Loved....and Lost
Many of you have brought up the death of a pet, and I believe the topic deserves to be addressed (especially after the Heaven topic). My cat Yogi will have to be a topic by itself, because that was the hardest thing in the world for me, even though I had him only one year. So share your stories about those you've loved, lost and will always remember.
I am lucky in that I've never yet had to make the decision to put down a suffering pet. My beagle, Penny, died at home. She was old and it was to be expected, but it's never easy. I came home from work and she was outside lying under her favorite bush in the front yard. It was July and extremely HOT. She didn't want to come in and eat, so I bustled about feeding the other dogs. Later, I went out to check on her, and she was nowhere to be found. The yard is fenced, so I was panicking. I didn't hear her loud snore, either. My heart sank; I just knew. The Boss got a flashlight and checked under the front porch. I heard him call "Penny" and I could tell by his voice that something was terribly wrong. She had crawled under the porch to die. He had to rip off the side of the porch and pull her out with a rope. I lost it. The Boss had to bury her right away, because it was so hot we couldn't leave her, and at the time my vet didn't have the means to cremate. So The Boss dug a grave in 100-plus degree weather. I yelled, crying from the front porch, "Make it deep! I don't want anything digging up my Penny!" I forced myself to go and look at her before she was put in the ground. I petted her and bawled my eyes out. The boss was dripping wet with sweat and I felt guilty because when I came home from work I didn't even pet her.
That was my first pet death and the start of my pet cemetery. Penny has a little stone with her name on it encircled by landscaping stones.
Tramp, my "first born" also died before making it to the vet, and while it was very hard as she was my first, she had a "perfect" death - if there is such a thing. She was 14 and getting old (I had her 12 years), but could still make it up on the bed. She had some fatty tumors that tested okay, but she got very thin. One night she was on the bed with me, and all of a sudden, when she got up, she staggered and fell off the bed. I knew something was terribly wrong, as her bowels emptied on the floor. I called the clinic, but the vet on call was one that saw patients at Animal House on Dover Road. I live way out Hwy. 13, and it would have taken me 45 minutes to get there. So I called my vet at home, at night, and woke him up. Even though he wasn't on call, he said to bring her right to Southside. I got in the backseat with Tramp laying on my lap while The Boss drove. I felt her last breath while she was on my lap. Why a perfect death? Because it's the way she came to me. We adopted her from the Humane Society and she rested in my lap as we drove her to her new forever home. Her previous owner let her have puppies, roam the neighborhood and was going to drop her off in the country when he didnt' want her any more. A friend talked him into letting the Humane Society take her. I later heard he "couldn't believe" someone adopted her! Jerk.
I didn't have much of a chance to say good-bye, but I couldn't have asked for a better way for her to go: quickly and in Mommy's arms. We went on to the vet where I said good-bye and left her to be cremated, something I plan to always do in the future. I have a clipping of her hair from her tail in a jar with her collar and tags and her remains in an urn by her picture. It gives me much comfort. I feel bad, because I used to think keeping ashes was creepy, but now I realize how much good it does in the mourning process.
Above is a picture of Tramp. That was the name she had when I got her, and I never changed it, though she was a Lady, not a tramp! It makes me sad, not only because they are gone, but because that part of my life is also gone with them. I have new pets now, and know I will be going through the pain of loss again. Some people avoid it by not getting another pet. You might avoid pain that way, but you also avoid the great love pets give, and with so many animals needing home, it is something we have to keep doing! The vet thinks Tramp had an aneurism, because she "bled out" internally and quicky --her gums were all white by the time we got to the clinic. I am thankful she didn't suffer.
So let's pay tribute to the ones we've lost and the ones we've yet to find that need us most.
posted by Sandy at 2/05/2007 09:41:00 AM