You know, I was thinking about you ton on my drive down to the Vet’s office today in Orange County. But then my eyes would fill and I tried to think of something else so I wouldn’t crash… but I couldn’t help but think of you. But I figured that if I crashed then maybe we would go to a similar place, well at least I knew you would get there.
I walked into the narrow waiting room with my sunglasses on; you were at the end facing directly at me. Mom and Baba were sitting in the chairs next to you. The place was filled on a Sunday, and normally around people you had your signature smile, your cheerful demeanor. But today when I saw you, you had your head down between your beautiful two front paws – you were splayed out on the cold floor, like you had given up, and just like the past few weeks, you didn’t move much and we watched you whittle away uninterested in food as your gorgeous golden hair clinged tighter to your ribs and bones…
And for the past few days you were vomiting and weaker than ever before. I hoped you would get better and eat a shitload of food like a buffet. So we tried all of your favorite foods. Salmon, hamburger and rice, sausage, and even foods that you weren’t supposed to eat. Just wanted you to eat. I Facetimed Justin in New York, and when you heard his voice you perked up and got up, even though your eyesight was taken away from you at age five. We were optimistic at first, but as the days went on, we realized it wasn’t the flu. When you ate some biscuits on Thursday at midnight, I had extended hope that you would pull through. But Friday & Saturday you didn’t eat anything, and on Sunday morning you were too weak to walk.
And then we knew it was time to bring you to the vet and let you go in peace rather than starve to death.
The nurse at the Vet’s office asked to start an IV for which the process included shaving a small portion of your leg and placing a needle and a small tube …which would later allow them to put a sedative and a drug that would put you to sleep. You didn’t want to go and be pulled away from us, so you put your head down. We didn’t want you to go through the door either, you were our family member. You were too weak to walk, and I carried you through the door with sunken eyes and tears dripping onto your hair. Your hair still looked good – it always did. They told us to go to a small room to wait for you. When they brought you out, they placed a blanket on the floor so you wouldn’t be cold. I heard this morning, Mom took you to the backyard onto the grass and you stared at the flowers smiling even though you couldn’t see. She said you sat there smiling, knowing it was your last time out there.
When they brought you back out to us, you were standing?!…and smiling! But you were struggling to stand and we didn’t want you to be pained to stand, so you sat on the blanket, and then put your face between your paws again. And then began to breathe heavily.
The veterinarian came out and asked us if we knew the process, that she would put a sedative, and then the stuff that would put you to sleep. I thought they were going to take you to the back to do that, I didn’t know that you would be right in front of us when it happened, so I was going to leave, but to be honest, I’m glad I stayed.
She asked if we wanted more time with you and of course we did, but then you would just struggle to breathe even more and be in more pain. We all hugged you kissed you and wanted you to know how much we loved you. And we said our goodbyes.
I cried most when she put the sedative in, because I knew it was really happening. And when they put the drug that puts you to sleep, we watched you go in peace, and then we were at peace. No more struggling for life, struggling to breathe or struggling to eat. No more struggling to walk or vomiting when you tried to eat anything.
You know, thirteen years to the day today. They say that’s a long time to live for a big dog like you. In dog years, that’s ninety one. You lived a good life, but to be honest, we are the ones who really lucked out. I still remember when we first picked you out, or maybe you picked us. Or both. You were so calm, so gentle, so kind. And for the past thirteen years, you were so calm, so gentle, so kind.
You know, in Boston with the recent events, they brought five golden retrievers out as a relief team to give people comfort and help them smile. You made us smile and gave us comfort every day. We are so lucky to have had you…
Driving home was even harder, and I remembered the last meal I made you was lamb chops which you devoured, so today, I went to the Winehouse to the “Old and Rare” case in honor of you because you were old and your demeanor and smarts certainly rare, and you know what the first wine I saw was? Your birth year – a 2000 Léoville –Barton, an excellent year for Bordeaux. And obviously an excellent year for our family. We’ll drink it when Justin comes back from New York and the whole family is reunited. Though, the family doesn’t feel complete without you.
I got a question for you, Did you know you were my favorite to cook for?
You ate everything I made, lapped it up while I snuck you Prime Rib and Lamb Chops under the table, and smilingly asked for seconds. And then thirds. 🙂
Heavy heart today without you here. God certainly blessed us with you.
I’m extremely sad that you won’t be around, but incredibly grateful to have known such a kind, gentle, cheerful dog and friend. You were from day one to the very last day, as beautiful on the inside as the outside.
april 21, 2013