Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bye, Bye Doggie

I vacuumed up the last of the hair that would fall from her coat to the floor today. And although I know I'll be vacuuming up her fuzz for years to come, I'd been putting it off because I knew how sad that thought would make me.

Pragmatism tells us that losing a pet seems like it should be a natural thing. We know they're not going to out live us, that they obviously won't live forever. 

So I wasn't prepared for the heartbreak that would come with the loss of our Maggie.

She passed before we could say our final goodbye. She'd been declining every year of her thirteen, but had very sick for four days and we knew when she stopped trying to stand that it was time. We'd driven her nearly three hours home to the vet to put her out of her pain, and no sooner did they put in her IV in the operating room did she stop breathing. Brian said she lifted her head one last time on her way out the door. 

Her goodbye to him.

When they called us in to the operating room, she was already gone; we got to witness the death rattle as the vet informed us there was no heartbeat. We were both bawling and clutching her body, giving all our love with which we could to send her away, everything we should have done before she left the room and thought we had time to do as they administered her dose.

As we're hugging her body, the vet says she hears a faint heartbeat again. So she administers the dose and Maggie the Lab's -- the happiest, sweetest dog ever -- story has ended.

I haven't told Brian, but I get the feeling that its because of his presence that her heartbeat returned. Their love and bond was so strong, they were so close, that I think for a second she heard his voice and was trying to come back.

While Maggie lay dying on the operating room floor, I remember looking up at one point toward the open door to the crated animals. I saw the saddest little face on a small shaggy white dog peering at us. S/he was looking at me, and it made me sad that s/he had to witness this whole scene, but at the same time, that little look offered me more empathy and comfort than -- although both helpful and welcome -- any words of condolence from any human has yet to relay.

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