Thursday, May 17, 2007

Loss of a Pet

As I said when I first started participating in KillerHobbies, I was delighted to be asked to join in even though I considered pets not hobbies but family.

One of my dear family members is now gone, and I’m teary-eyed as I write this. But then, I’ve been terribly sad for days.

I’d mentioned in my posting last week that my 13-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Sparquie had spent the last few days at the vet’s. She’d stopped eating, perhaps because she had nibbled on her bedding. Whether it resulted from that or something else, her main problem turned out to be an accordion-like section in her intestine. Perhaps it was caused by an obstruction, or a growth, or... well, there were several possibilities. But at her age, and the way she had been failing, we decided not to make her suffer through surgery to find out.

I’ve lost several Cavaliers over the many years they’ve owned me, and this has been the most difficult loss, particularly since it was the first time I had to make a decision when it was time for her to go. The only two males I’ve owned, Panda and Micquie, both dropped in their tracks just shy of their 10th birthdays. One female, Lucia, lived to age 16 and although I had her put to sleep, she’d had a massive stroke and would not have survived anyway, so there really was no other choice. Then Sparquie’s mom, Emily, died in my arms from a seizure. She’d been having other seizures so her passing wasn’t entirely unexpected.

According to the vet, Sparquie could have survived perhaps a day if we had brought her home once more, but she might have suffered. She certainly had little quality of life at the veterinary hospital and was clearly deteriorating. So, my husband Fred and I made the decision we felt we had to. There are many ways to refer to it--euthanasia. Putting her down. Putting her to sleep. Letting her cross the rainbow bridge. Whatever the euphemism, however it’s phrased, she is now gone from our life. But absolutely not forgotten.

I see her at our front door, demanding to be allowed onto the porch behind the wrought iron gate, her window onto the world. I feel her leap onto the sofa beside me in her favorite spot--insisting that Lexie move to my other side--and waiting to be petted, then rewarding me with a small kiss. I find her fluffy white fur everywhere and know that, when Lexie sniffs at some of my clothing, it’s her dear friend’s scent she senses, only adding to her confusion and obvious loneliness. I even took Lexie to the vet because her stomach was upset, and the only cause we could discern was stress. And loss.

Family and friends understand the loss and offer hugs and condolences for the loss of our dear pup. And I appreciate it. I know that passage of time will help, and so will lots of licks and hugs from Lexie.

But I really miss my Sparq.



Sally J said...

Well, my eyes are wet, partly for you, but mostly for myself. We lost our dear Freya last year. We don't know if she got into the car by herself, or whether she didn't get out of the car when the kids did. She was almost nine years old, and had been our long-legged bundle of love for every day of those years.

I believe that animals go to heaven, and I believe that we will see Freya again, just as we will see all our other loved ones, two- and four-legged.

Take it easy, and get another dog when it feels right to you. Best wishes.

Deb Baker said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Pets are such parts of us.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Oh, Linda, I am so sorry. I know how you feel. I still miss my co-author Kevin.

I wish I were close enough to give you a hug.

It takes a lot of courage to love something that won't live as long as we do.

Again, my deepest sympathies.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thank you all. It helps that others understand!


Monica Ferris said...

I remember going through a pile of old clothing I was planning to give away and coming across a sweater simply covered with cat hair -- the hair of a cat we had put down several years earlier. I don't know how it was overlooked for so long, but it was a source of both joy and pain to see it. Oh, Harley Quinn, you silly old cat!