Love And Loss
We explored the avenues of palliative care but found none that would restore even a modicum of the energy you can see in the picture. All the options amounted only to a few more weeks, and sad, tired, painful weeks they would have been.
Better to let her go.
Whenever I lose one of my pets, I like to think I am sending them to my Mom in heaven, and she will take care of them until I get there. There are a lot of assumptions in those ideas, but I take comfort in them anyway. Yes, Mom is there. Yes, she will love caring for my pets. And, yes, one day I can join them.
We spent the last few days feeding her all kinds of things to perk up her failing appetite, stinky French cheese, bacon, hamburger. She was delighted with all the treats and the visits from neighbors who stopped in to give her a last pat. I brushed her beautiful coat twice, just for the pleasure of feeling her warm fur.
A very caring vet came to the house and was greeted, as so many have been before her, with that lazy wag of the tail and a nose in the crotch. Cora liked to get to know people intimately right away and, since most crotches were conveniently nose-height, she took full advantage.
We fed her hot dogs while they gave her the shot to make her sleepy, and My Beloved and I were both on the floor with her when she slipped away, our tears splashing down on her white muzzle. We shared some tears and some stories with the vet and her helper before we cut some hydrangeas from the garden to send her off to heaven. We are ridiculously sentimental about this dog and always have been; she was just that kind of dog.
Her ashes will come back in a few weeks to be put in the garden along with those of my two cats who shared this house when we first moved in. On the advice of a close friend, I have printed her picture to keep in the corner where I have a changing display of family photos. None of that fills the gap left by a cold nose and those soft, bendy ears, but it serves as a reminder of how much we have to learn about friendship from a good dog.
She and I met a man out walking his dog in the last week and, as he stopped to pat her and remark upon her beauty, I told him about our troubles in that odd way we can share with total strangers over the backs of dogs who are busy sniffing each others' butts. He said something very true that evening, "They teach us about love and they teach us about loss."