It's been a long and weary weekend for us. We woke up to a very sick dog on Friday. Tyler had cancer and was growing steadily weaker all last week, but Friday he finally decided he was done with it. We called the vet at 10am and discussed our euthanasia options and made an appointment for 2pm.
So began the last four hours I would spend with my fourteen year old dog. Watching a clock tick away the hours of your pet's life is not a fun thing.
I brought his blanket out onto the porch, made myself a pot of tea, and sat there with him, holding his paw, rubbing his head, and helping him begin his passage from this world. The day was beautiful, Carolina blue sky, cool breeze, stillness in the air and we sat together for those last hours. He was refusing food, I needed something, and decided a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was about the only thing I could choke down. I brought it out on the porch, sat on the blanket, Tyler lifted his head, took a sniff. Oh yeah, bread crust from my mom, yum. I gave him a bite, then another, then another, he ate my whole sandwich :-) and so my last memory of Tyler will be sitting on the front porch sharing a PB&J with my sweet dog.
The drive to the vet in Pittsboro was long, long, long. I put on the classical music radio station, rolled down the windows and cried all the way there. By the time I got to the vet I was composing myself and the sweetest girls on the planet came out to get him. We went in to the room with him and Dr. Shama met us. She is an angel sent from heaven. I have never felt so much peace and kindness come from one person. She sat on the floor with Tyler, he put his head in her lap and she told us how she would help him go peacefully and he was comforted and not scared at all.
I could not imagine a more gentle and peaceful death for an animal than Tyler had. Trying hard not to grieve his passing, we chose to celebrate the life he had, and what a great life it was. He enriched our lives so much and shared with us his complete and total bliss for living.
|Tyler and Wesley having breakfast in my soon to be new studio|
And then we had to break the news to Wesley. Tell her the dog she has had with her since she was seven years old, was gone. On Monday we drove to Winston Salem, picked her up at her house and drove up to Pilot Mountain for a picnic and a hike. We had such a great walk, laughed a lot, caught up on all the school news and had a great afternoon. We stopped along the trail, and told her. We cried, we laughed and we said goodbye to our sweet best friend.
Tyler was born the day after Dale Earnhardt was killed in Daytona. Gerry was rushing around getting things together to go to Charlotte to cover the news of his death and Tyler's mom decided right then to go into labor. My best friend Lisa went and got our kids from school, helped Gerry get his shit together and then stayed by my side to laugh and cry with me and our kids as we watched little puppies come into the world. Cassie managed to push out 8 puppies but by then she was exhausted and could not push enough to get the last one out. The last one was Tyler and I helped pull him out. What an amazing experience. Wesley was seven and was there to see the puppies being born. For eight weeks we had nine puppy fur balls and one really obsessive mama dog in our garage. What a party! Our neighbors were constantly over to visit and play with the puppies, we had kids and puppies and moms and dads around all the time it seemed. What a fun time! One by one we found homes for them and got Gerry used to the idea that we would be keeping one of them. There was no way Tyler was leaving us!
This year we stayed around here for our vacation, because Tyler was old, we didn't want to board him or have someone else looking after him while we were gone. So we rented a cabin and took him along for his last vacation.
He couldn't go hiking with us like he used to and he slept a lot. He got sick during the night and I was afraid we would lose him that week, but he rallied and got better. I'm so glad we made the choice to take us with him that week, we made good memories.
Here is the letter we got from the Dr. Shama yesterday. God bless this girl! The staff at Hill Creek Veterinary Hospital in Pittsboro is beyond exceptional!
So, we say goodbye to the sweetest dog I have ever owned. He wasn't my dog, or Gerry's dog, or Wesley's dog. He was OUR dog. He loved each of us equally and unconditionally and we are all hurting so much right now from his death.
We are waiting on his ashes. I thought about making an urn for him, I have clay after all, and then we thought about taking the ashes to the beach, or the mountains. But we have decided that we will take them to the river where the monks released the sand mandala this past summer and leave his ashes there where the monks blessed the water and the sand. Since Wesley spent so much time with the mandala this sumer, it seemed like a fitting place. The vet is also making us a clay paw print, I wish I had thought of that, but I am so glad they offered it.
Our house is quiet with the ghost of Tyler very present. I still hear his toe nails tapping on the hardwood floor, still hear his collar jingling, hear his tongue lapping up water from his bowl. I open the door to let him out, I look for him under Gerry's desk, under our kitchen table. He is everywhere, and he is nowhere.
I miss him so much...............