Yesterday was such a beautiful weather day: sunny, cool with a breeze, things blooming and leafing out.
Yesterday was a heartbreaking, devastating, mournful day too.
I was with my friend Elisabeth going to visit her dog, Carlo, a 13 year old OES (Old English Sheepdog) who was in the ICU after being bitten by a brown recluse spider. He has several issues before that caused concern, a heart condition and breathing issues coupled with some old age stiffness and weakness. But he had been improving! He was getting to go home! His wounds were improving!
We were excited to go get him.
On the way there, I checked my Facebook to discover that my friend Alexine had just lost her 17 year old cat, Kody to cancer. My heart broke for her. She is pregnant and has had Kody for 13 years. I had so hoped he would make it to meet the baby. But he was tired and it was time. Alex posted a beautiful tribute to her long time companion who had seen her through so many life changes as a student, a vet tech, a wife and now a therapist. He moved several times with her. He brought her comfort in times of angst and grief. He was a purring lapcat with a penchant for bread. He was her first baby...
I know how much she loved him and what a great life she provided for him starting the day they rescued each other...
After reading that post I was looking forward to see Carlo and anticipating a happy reunion and trip home. The vet had told Elisabeth he was improving. We got there and he was rolled in on a gurney and he was so excited to see his mama that he rolled off the gurney! He gave her kisses and sat smiling his big goofy doggy smile. The vet came in and talked about home care, asked Elisabeth's opinion and gave the thumbs up to going home.
After taking out the tubes and changing the bandages and getting his meds together, the techs brought him to the car, he was sitting up and looking very happy. On the ride home, he sat up looking out the window, smiling. All the way home his mom talked to him and held him. As we pulled into his street, he got agitated. We pulled into the driveway and he collapsed and started breathing hard. He passed out and we tried to resuscitate him, but he was gone. He lay there looking peaceful as if he were just sleeping. We were in shock. He took the decision out of everyone's hands about whether to euthanize him. He exited on his own terms, home at last. That had been what his mother wanted, to bring him home, out of the hospital with all the tubes and cages. She wanted him home and I think he held on until then for her sake.
When one loves animals as these two friends do, there is a heartbreak that is indescribable to those who have never had long term pets. No one can understand the comfort and unconditional love shared by a life with an animal companion unless one has lived it. They take a piece of our heart with them when they die. They are so loving and forgiving and live in the moment and are the holiest of holy here on earth.
My heart breaks for my friends. I have been there and I know the feeling of loss. I knew Kody and Carlo and loved them too.
My fervent prayer is that they await at the Rainbow Bridge, playing in the fields, waiting for a loving reunion one day...