We took Sandy to Deason's for them to put her to sleep Thursday, and it was really hard. Harder than I imagined. We are missing her. Dwaine made fajitas today and said it was too bad Sandy was not here to get some scraps, one of her favorite activities. I tell you, I've been crying, missing my dog.
She was a golden retriever mix, about 35 pounds when she was healthy. She was the best dog to have around children. She was completely gentle. I never, ever saw her snap at anyone or anything, not even Mimi (our chihuahua-terrier) at her most annoying. She was completely loyal to us.
I don't know that I grieved like this over losing Honey, our Siamese cat who was over 18 when she left. I think it's because dogs have a complete fidelity to a family, and they totally depend on people, too. You get the feeling that your pet cat could make it alone, if he had to; furthermore, he might not even miss you. He'd prefer getting his food on the dole, but if he had to, he'd revert to the wild quite easily. The same cannot be said of most dogs. The relationship with a dog is symbiotic, mutually dependent. It must be so, Even I, a cat-lover, know it.
Sandy visited Andrew in a dream. Andrew is the one in our family who is most in touch with the after-life. He has been visited by Grandma several times after she died. He said Sandy was all frisky, the way she would be when she was about to be fed. At the end of a beloved pet's life, when they have been worn down by time and aging and cannot move well, it's hard to remember how they used to love to jump and play.
Here's a picture of Andrew with Sandy in a place that holds memories of those who have gone, Zapata (where his grandparents used to live when they were alive).
We got to the vet's around 7:30 and the vet was not in yet, though the office was open. This was how Sandy was the morning we took her: She was sitting on our sidewalk near Dwaine -- no, standing, then very carefully sitting in a complicated and slow effort to not fall over. She was looking out toward the horizon, greeting the new day and the coolest time of day (below 80 degrees), very peaceful. Dwaine thought her breathing looked labored, though.
At the vet's, she did not want to move anywhere. It was just too hard. We took her over to a grassy area nearby to wait, but it was not her home, and the traffic was unbelievably loud. Her tail was down, this last week. That was the most noticeable change. She did not wag her tail anymore. I had never seen her tail hang down like that before, and it was symbolic of the change in her attitude, the decision to give up this living because it was getting too painful. She had become just skin and bones.
She did not want to go inside the vet's. It was really hard to take her to someplace she hated so much for her last moments on earth. We do that to people, too. Who loves being in a hospital? Who, having a choice, would want to die in one?
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