My Best Pet Friend Left Me Today
We both enjoyed evening walks, it was our special time together. The air is different, sounds, and smells change, there is a mystery in the shadows. The night has its own kind of magic, we felt and embraced it together.
In the months after Lady was diagnosed with the dog version of ALS our nightly hour plus walks slowly shrank. Near the end, it became a challenging trip to the front yard. Even then she would lay in the grass, nose up for smells, those German Shepherd ears on a swivel, still bright eyes peering into the night.
If there is a good thing about dog ALS, they don’t seem to be in pain. Lady slowly lost mobility and control of her back legs. Frustrating, tiring, but not painful.
The downward slide seemed to speed up in her last month. Evenings outdoors didn’t matter so much. Near the end she quit caring about yard critters, then her toys, snacks, carrying my shoes around, sniffing in the yard, and finally food. Even taking care of her bathroom needs became a challenge.
Our energizer bunny of a dog had wound down. When she wouldn’t eat scrambled eggs with ham I knew it was time.
Even on her last day, there was one thing that still brightened her up, a car ride. We took a long one stopping at a park she hadn’t been to in some time. The picture at the top was taken there. It was a joy to see her so happy. For me those fading moments made me want to cry.
She was a long time regular at the vet’s office. When we traveled we kenneled her there. She apparently helped manage the sick dog areas during the day. I often took her when I picked up meds. It wasn’t a scary place for her.
We took her in at the end of the vet’s workday. They brilliantly placed us in their exit lobby. It’s where people and pets go after their appointments. It’s not a threatening spot.
There weren’t any strangers with Lady when she passed.
She was surrounded by love. Her long time vet, the back area assistant that let her roam during the day, my wife and I gathered to send her off. We all sat on the floor with her as she enjoyed undivided attention and affection. It was sad and comforting in an unexplainable way.
When the time came it only took a light sedative for her to doze off. She laid her head on her paw, took a last adoring look at my wife, and closed her eyes. When the final dose came she drifted off so peacefully. There wasn’t even that last heavy sigh that is so common. She was ready to go, went willingly and peacefully.
She was free.
After a few minutes, it was just the two of us. I know it’s kind of weird but I have heard that the brain can continue for a short time after the heart stops. What the spirit does is a mystery to us all. I held a final vigil, petting her, talking to her, reminding her she is loved, thanking her for sharing so much fun, joy and mischief.
As the last of who my friend and companion were drifted off, she knew release, peace, love, and appreciation. For those moments that was our universe.
I love rainbow bridge poems, for now, I’ll go with that. Lady has joined a growing pack of dogs we have shared our love and lives with.
When it is your pet’s time, I hope you do the hard thing and repay their love by being there to the end. They want you there, they need you there. When you do they will leave an extra piece of themselves with you and take an extra piece of you with them. It’s a special gift to each other.
Thanks for letting me share a little about my wonderful friend Lady.
Tim Gebauer for Her