You never know what each day will bring. Some days we enjoy fun moments we never anticipated and other days bring disappointment, sometimes it feels like it will never end.
|After a walk.|
We arrived at work, and wearing her purple collar she walked with pep down the hall, into the front office, into Janice’s office, where Janice was training Bernice on bookkeeping.
Five minutes later, Janice brought Callie to my office in a panic, with blood all over Callie's nose, mouth and chin. It wasn’t the same amount of blood as we’ve had in the house over the last five months, which were mostly drips. Now, when she sneezed, it was a spray of blood, covering the office walls and our clothes.
I mopped her mouth and tried to stop the blood which took about 10 minutes. We knew we needed to get her to the vet, where they might hopefully stop the bleeding.
The last two months had been difficult at home, especially at night, when Callie’s breathing sounded forced and she gulped and smacked her lips most of the night. None of us got good sleeps. Just a week ago we took her for a walk to the park where we told Callie that it was ok to leave when it was too hard to continue. Each day was a gift from God. Our prayer was that she would not die alone.
Now, today, with the spray of blood, it crossed my mind that this might be the end. I’ve been opposed to the thought of putting her down, feeling it is not my place to decide when life ends, just as I don’t decide when it begins. But as Kathy Troccoli said during a concert, "God gives you the strength when you need it. Not when you want it but when you need it." I knew that had already be the case having felt strong during the passing of my aunt Shirley, Mom and Dad.
Off to the vet, Janice drove and I sat in the back seat with Callie, holding a cloth over her beak to absorb any unexpected spray. Sitting in the lobby, Callie sneezed again and the blood splattered everywhere imaginable. It was uncontrollable and heart-wrenching.
The vet gave us three options: an x-ray to see what was going on, a scope by the senior vet to see what was going on, or euthanasia. We chose the x-ray, but almost immediately Janice and I knew it would be pointless to find out what we already knew - it was worse. We chose option 3. I couldn’t believe it had come to this point, today. But, today was the day.
|Me and Phyllis with Callie's body.|
Janice and I told each other again, that despite her good attitude, the blood was going to be getting worse as the tumour grew. She couldn’t stay alone and it would be unfair to take her to work. The decision was made.
I went into the vet to confirm our decision and to pay for it. After I slid the Visa card into the machine, it gave me the cost and then as it processed it asked - "Ok?" I started bawling.
Back in the parking lot Janice was having a chat with Callie. She handed me the leash and I walked her to the vet door, as Janice wailed in the parking lot. My walk slowed down and Phyllis whispered, "It’s not going to get easier." I kept walking.
|Funeral in the rain.|
I took her to the examination room and gave her a huge squeeze. The vet took her away to give her a sedative and brought her back a minute or two later - she was very tired and limp. As the vet injected her, I laid my nose up to hers and told her over and over "I love you. You’re the best dog." She was too tired to kiss me. Surprisingly, it wasn’t painful to watch; there was something beautiful about it. It wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t feel guilt. The vet listened for a heartbeat and said "It’s done." I remember saying over and over - "I can’t believe it," meaning, I can’t believe I actually had to do what I thought I would never do.
Phyllis stood by me. Her being there helped me to know I was doing the right thing. I didn’t second guess myself.
Phyllis and the vet wrapped Callie’s body in her blanket and I carried her heavy, extremely limp body to Phyllis’s car. Janice put her hand inside to feel her wool. We decided that Phyllis and her husband would prepare her for burial.
At 8 o'clock, in the a light rain, Simon dug a hole in the yard and laid her down. Janice covered it with dog toys. My brother and I watched.
A sad day, but we knew it was coming. In all, it turned out to be perfect timing. Callie didn’t die alone. She was with us, for her final walk, loved.
|I love you, Callie. You're the best dog.|