A final farewell


We put Bonnie down because she was suffering from intractable vomiting due to megaesophagus and pancreatitis. An xray showed that she also had a fused spinal column. Despite all this, we tried to treat her, and it worked initially, but she soon started vomiting again, and this time she couldn’t even keep her anti-nausea medicine down. A day later, Peggy and I started out on our daily walk, but only got a block before we agreed that it was time to toss in the towel. I called the vet’s office, and was told that we needed to get there fast because, it being Saturday, they closed at noon. As we drove, I wondered if we would make it on time, or if the new vet we were supposed to see would say that we should keep trying to treat her. Peggy asked if I wanted one of these things to happen, and I said no.

The new vet told us that Bonnie was doomed to die within 12-weeks, no matter what we did. Our original vet had failed to mention this, and it helped me considerably. Despite the hundreds of times I had wished she would die, I didn’t want her to die for my convenience or due to my negligence, and I had been blaming myself for stopping her first round of antibiotics too soon. I still don’t know why I did that, and it will always bother me. Dogs are ever a reminder that I am not so good a person as I should be.

I’ve yet to cry over Bonnie. Maybe the Cymbalta is in the way, or maybe it’s because I’m so relieved to have the stress behind me. I look at her grave, and am stricken that never for all eternity will I see her again, yet the tears won’t come. When she was young, she thought she was invincible. For example, she was lying on the car seat one day when a city bus pulled up beside us, and the sound so infuriated her that she tried to jump out the window and attack the bus (luckily, the window wasn’t open all the way). Her self-confidence was such that she almost had Peggy and me believing that she was the goddess she considered herself to be. Old age, arthritis, and blindness debased her, and she became as timid as she had been arrogant. The joy that had once filled her being died long before she did, and it was very, very hard to see it happen. I would watch her running into walls as she fled a cat that wasn’t even chasing her, and I would think, How low the mighty has fallen. How then am I supposed to grieve? What then am I supposed to grieve, the death of dog whose spirt died three years before she did? If I grieve anything, it’s not her death, but the three years before she died and my inability to be there for her in the way she deserved.

24 comments:

Helen said...

Dear Snow,
Giving you a huge cyber hug today ..

(!!!)

Stephen Hayes said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. I doubt anyone questions your love for this og. Everyone grieves differently and no one should judge.

ellen abbott said...

It's not inhuman to be relieved by a death. Even though you loved her, took care of her, will miss her, it's OK to be relieved.

yoborobo said...

I am so sorry to hear about Bonnie. It's so hard to go through this. I feel really bad for you and Peggy.

kylie said...

I put my dog, Taffy down last year when his lungs started to sound gurgly. He had already struggled to recover from a major stroke and I didnt think it was right to ask an old dog to recover from another draining illness, even if it were possible for him to do so.
Taff was happy but physically struggling on the day he died, his spirit was well alive and I still wonder whether it was premature to do that to him.

i dont think i have cried for him since he died but i wept buckets watching his valour in his last months.

long story short, I think we will always second guess ourselves but you did the right thing.

hugs
k

The Tusk said...

I posted pix on my facebook account of how my Sydney had passed after ten years, her last act of walking with me was to chase a cat up a tree at least 15 feet. So high that I was worried for the cat. I walked on proud to know she had seeked revenge on an animal that had once sliced her nose with a claw, it must have stung her so very much. That day we walked by a friend who had owned a dog she used to have play dates with. I'm glad she was able to see her one more time. She missed Jane an awful lot. We used to stand in front of Janes yard, and Sydney wouldn't bark but whine and almost howl, but whine and cry until Jane would run out the back door of her house and bound and bounce inviting us up to her gated yard. Jane passed from Leukemia, syndey survived 2 to 3 years longer. After chasing the squirrel and seeing Anne, Janes Mom, I didn't have the heart to say I knew Sydney had been given a death sentence a week earlier, I left the vet office expressing to my wife to speak with the vet, when she came to pick us both up. I would choke and no words would come out. Tears still now come to my eyes. It was cold that night I put her in the ground by myself, in a wood radiator frame wrapped in a zippered dog bed and diwn blanket with her collar.

a backyard high intensity eco light shines on the 3 foot down grave I made for her. There is no marker other than the light and the dirt spot.

I think unlike you might think, she is with Jane her friend.
Bonnie sounds like a gem, we rescued dogs and took only there love and gave them back food shelter and our love the best we could. Too keep them alive any longer in any pain or discomfort only defeats what we gave them when we did out of love and hope and faith that our lives and theirs were enriched.

The Queen said...

I am so sorry. I lost the royal dog at Christmas when she broke her back. It is always such a hard time when a family member leaves, whether it be two legged or four.

kj said...

Snow, losing a friend and family member in any circumstance is a great loss. I will carry sorrow for my beloved Stella and Rosie before her for all of my life.

You don 't need tears to know the love for Bonnie obvious in your words

I am sorry for your loss

Love
kj

Mim said...

This is a tough one Snow. Hugs to you both.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Snow, There are no words I can offer. We all grieve in our own way...

Rob-bear said...

Letting a great (four-legged) friend go is tough. And, yes, there is relief in doing for her what we, ironically, cannot do for ourselves. Maybe the Cymbalta is in the way, but I doubt it. Maybe it is the sense that you did the right thing for her.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting
Life in the Urban Forest (my poetry blog)

Elephant's Child said...

You are such a lovely man.
Vale Bonnie.

Zoe said...

death is often a relief on both sides of the coin I suspect. This sounded very difficult. Your dog was truly loved.

Marion said...

I knew my old cat was 20 and living on borrowed time. I grieved his last months...but when he died, I felt relief. He died so peacefully, lying in his favorite sunbeam. We each grieve in our own way and there is no wrong way. Hugs to you, my friend. xo

Kerry said...

Oddly, I usually tear up when I read of the death of a blog friend's dog, but I'm not crying right now. Bonnie had a long and fortunate life. You can't beat yourself up for stopping the antibiotic early; she would have come to the same end regardless.

Phoenix said...

Hugs and love, Snow. It's always hard to watch someone we love leave us behind. Particularly when they weren't quite themselves for the past few years before they go.

It's not fair, but then, not much is.

Lisa said...

We all wonder 'what if?' and even if we come up with a suitable answer we will wonder it again.
She lived as long as she needed to live and that is that, black and white........but then there are the grey's and they are the areas that keep us human, keep us striving forward, keep us questioning our actions and intentions.
The grays, humbling but liberating in the knowledge they bring as well. You did what you could, when you could and that is all anyone can expect. Don't judge yourself too hard Snow, Bonnie would still wag her tail to see you. You did what was needed, when it was needed with the right intention. Thats all anyone can ask. Lisa x

Charles Gramlich said...

That's tough, man. this is a powerful post, painfully honest. OF course, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. We are all full of complexities.

Robin said...

Sending you and Peggy many, many hugs. Charles' comment expresses how I feel too.

A part of Bonnie resides within your heart now... all those years, all those adventures - imprint into yourself... Bonnie lived for you and Peggy - and yes, she will wag her tail one day when she see you. (This coming from your Catholic Girl...)

Love,

♥ Robin ♥

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Deb said...

I'm so sorry. Sometimes it just doesn't sink in, especially if they've suffered, almost like a relief in a way. Sending positive and healing vibes your way. I'm very sorry.

Linda said...

Some day you will cry but not from the dog's death. This happens with humans too. Crying is delayed and triggered by something else. Death is not the worst fate for humans or dogs. I was grief-stricken when my father died. But, after weeds of morphine for his pain from pancreatic cancer, I was relieved he died and was not in pain.

possum said...

It is tough, really tough... but if Bonnie was throwing everything up, she would have been gone much sooner than the 12 weeks...
As a Buddhist, I struggle with the vow to not kill and the vow to help all creatures to avoid suffering.
Intent... it is all about intent. I tell myself that everytime I pick up my little Rascal and pop another pill down his throat and marvel that there is no fight left in him. 2 months ago he would have spit and yowled at the indignity of it all and smacked me a good one. Yet he managed to jump up on my lap this morning. That brought tears to my eyes.
We are blessed by them and their love for us.
Perhaps "god" is a dog or a cat and we are being tested to see how well we worship them!

The Blog Fodder said...

Hard times. Hugs. Putting down a dog is no easy task.