It was 9:45pm and we were waiting for our vet to arrive. Let’s start by saying how grateful I am to Dr. Virginia Kenneway. It was Sunday and she was coming back from Jerome to help us with Roxy. Not every Vet does that. Her compassion and her love for animals goes beyond what I could ever imagine.
At one time in my life I enjoyed the company of nine beautiful dogs. They all had their own personalities and their own way to bring happiness to my life. From the nine, two moved away to another State and are surrounded by unconditional love. Quito, Jake and Panda died a few years ago. Pooh and Lucky follow them this year. The ones left were Maxito, Roxy and Duke. Maxito is still close to me even though I do not see him every day. He is now an old “man”, suffering from “old man” aches and pains. Then there was Roxy and Duke. Yesterday night we said bye to Roxy, our 10 year old Golden Retriever. Roxy will be the third dog I have lost since June. Not a good year in the dog department. The sadness and emptiness you feel when you cannot do anymore to help them leaves you drained. The world looks different, and like my friend Wayne said once “the sky seems much less blue”.
On Saturday Roxy had a super fun day. I knew she wanted to go for a ride when she kept walking to my car. I took her to my friend Greg’s house so she could enjoy some treats. She ended up enjoying a nice warm dog bath in his super cool walk-in shower and then she enjoyed the sun and some treats on his patio. In the afternoon she had her favorite chips, her favorite meal and a nice walk before dark. She seemed fine and I was happy to see her doing so well despite the tumor that was aggressively growing inside her. Yesterday morning a call at 7 am was a sign that something was not right. Roxy was having difficulty breathing. A little later, the emergency room x-rays confirmed that the tumor had spread into her lungs. She tried so hard the whole day to be what she has always been; an active and hyper dog. She kept wagging her tail and getting excited at the sight of her leash in my hand despite her trouble breathing. We went for a couple short walks and she was happy to do them, even more because her breathing was easier while standing. Later that night we learned than her lung capacity was at a mere 20%. She was suffocating.
We had no choice. We did not want her to suffer any longer. Dr. Kenneway gave her a tranquilizer. In minutes she looked peaceful again. I held her face in my hand and felt her breath. Then it was time for the last injection. As soon as it went in, her breath stopped and the warmth of her body slowly faded away. Despite knowing that she was finally free, my tears kept rolling. I gave her a big hug, told her to go see Pooh and Lucky and thanked her for everything she had given to me. I imagined her in heaven following God and becoming a soul not limited any longer by a dog body and rising above the limits of the world.
Max and Duke are the only ones left. Even though my life has been enriched by all these loyal companions, I am quite sure that once I lose them all, I won’t be replacing them. Losing three of them in less than a year, has forced me to analyze myself. I discovered that even though I look strong in the outside, these experiences have awaken a subtle fear in me that has me avoid situations that will hurt me or hurt others. For the first time in my life I could explain why I never wanted to have children. Even though I am a happy person, I am conscious that the world we live in is not a happy place. Pain in many forms will always be there, for some people more than for others. Experiencing the life and death of my dogs has made me realize that nothing really belongs to us and that when we feel some kind of ownership or responsibility toward another soul, we only suffer when their lives turn out different that we expected, despite our efforts. I realized that at some point in my life I must have experienced something similar to the loss I am experiencing today. That impression has affected how I want to live my life. My first dog was a gift to me, and all the others fell into my life only by chance.
Today I feel sad. The house feels empty, her wagging tail will never greet me again. She trusted me as did Lucky and Pooh. They looked to me for comfort and help, and in the end -I shortened their lives. I know some people may say that I stopped their suffering but I will never know if that is what God expected me to do.
Quito, Panda, Jake, Pooh, Lucky and Roxy, you were, are and will always be part of who I am and who will I become.
I love you with all my heart.