Lucy... It Is Time. You Are an Angel in a Dog's Body
by Robyn Killian
(Los Angeles, CA)
I knew that when the day came to let you go I would literally fall to pieces. I've known it was coming for some time.
My angel, you have had a life full of suffering. The day I picked you up at the pound I cried that entire evening and many evenings after that. You pulled at my heartstrings.
They told me at the pound that you were found wandering the streets in Glendale, CA. How could someone dump you in the street? You came to me already an old lady, dirty and smelly. They thought you were 14!
I reached down to pet you and you literally crawled up my arm and looked into my eyes and said, "I need you, please take care of me." I heard you loudly and clearly and broke you out of the joint. You were grateful and never failed to show me how happy you were.
You had no hair on your back from scratching due to severe allergies and a yeast infection and worms. One of your eyes was bulging out of your head and had to be removed. You also had 3 hernia operations and had a mammary cancer tumor, which was removed.
You had had a recent litter of puppies when I got you. I'm sure you were a good mommy. I wonder what happened to your babies.
You endured months of testing to find out that you were allergic to basically EVERYTHING so you had to have an allergy shot every other week. Then you got a form of protein-losing enteropathy and had to take steroids and all kinds of other meds and eat special food.
I wasn't even supposed to keep you. I was merely supposed to foster you for a rescue. But you needed me and I needed you. And no one else would want an old sickly dog. But I wanted YOU and you became my baby.
It wasn't long before you grew in the most beautiful coat I have ever seen. And you CONSTANTLY wagged your tail. I have three other dogs but I have never met a dog as sweet as you.
You nearly lost your only remaining eye once before. You banged it on something and it had to be sewn shut for 3 weeks. It miraculously healed but you could barely see out of it. I guess that is why you hurt it this time. I woke up one morning and you could not see again. The eye was damaged again. It was not healing this time. It was only getting worse and worse.
Your only eye was infected and swollen so badly, and you were in so much pain. I knew yesterday that you would lose this eye but I also knew in my heart that it was time to let you go. Between the loss of sight, your age and the other illnesses, your quality of life had been reduced down to nil.
So last night I made the decision that was one of the most difficult that I have ever had to make.
This morning I took the cone (e-collar) off of your head and put you in bed with me. We snuggled together as you slept. I listened to you breathe. Our breaths were in rhythm together. I rolled you over on your back and gave you a belly rub. You love those. You were sleeping and every time you woke up I felt your little tail wagging furiously under the covers. As bad as you felt, you needed to tell me how much you appreciated the love.
I sat you on the lawn in the sunshine so you could enjoy the warm rays on your fur. I took some photos of you and a video of you. Your listlessness was apparent. I sat on the porch swing and just watched you for a while.
I loaded you in the car seat and off to the vet we went. Of course I cried the whole way. I told you how much I love you and how much I enjoyed the time we shared together. I also told you soon you would be running in fields, happy and healthy and you would once again have perfect vision.
As I reached back to pick you up from the car seat your little tail did its usual dance. I held you in my arms and told you again how much I love you.
I put you on the ground and you actually followed me, listening to my voice as we walked to the door. I shot one last video of you walking. I’m sure I will watch it over and over and cry like a baby.
The vet was surprised how bad your eye had gotten. He too knew it could not be saved. I told him you had been sick for so long I was ready to let you go to a better place. He assured me I was making the right decision and went to put a catheter in you leg. I waited, sobbing loudly.
He came back and handed me a little paw print impression he made for me to take home. I held you in my arms and he knelt down to inject the medicine. I said, "I love you, I love you, I love you my little girl," as I watched the pink liquid disappear into your little arm that was wrapped in yellow vet wrap with little blue paws on it. He said, "Good night Lucy." When the last of the medicine was gone he put a stethoscope to your heart and looked up at me and said, "She is gone."
I played this moment out in my head countless times. How would it be? How would I react? Would I be able to handle it? Is it different than I imagined it? I think it is the same as I imagined it. It is terrible for me but I know it is better for you so I will survive.
I held your lifeless body and looked into the bulging infected red eye and sobbed. I knew you were free. But I still hurt so badly. I reached down and took a big long whiff of your head one last time. I wanted to remember your smell. I handed you to Jeff, my vet; he placed your body on the table, and gave me a hug. I looked over at your body one last time. The vision of you lying on the cold table will haunt me forever. I knew you were no longer there. I picked up your paw print and ran out of the door.
Now I will grieve. I have my 3 other dogs to love and snuggle with. I know they will help me through this day and all of the ones that will follow.
This was the first time I have ever had to put a dog down. Since I have three more I realize it will not be the last.
Lucy, thank you for the two plus years you gave to me. I will never forget you. You have forever changed me and there will always be a big huge place in my heart full of love for you.
You have seen me through some of the toughest times and certainly the roughest year I have ever endured in all of my lifetime. You helped me through times I thought I could not survive. People showed me what conditional love was just as people showed you the same when you were thrown away because you did not serve the needs of those who once loved you. I guess they thought you got too expensive and they no longer wanted to provide for you, care for you, protect you and give you a home. At the same time you probably lost your babies.
People are the cruelest species on the planet and the irony of the whole thing is that my life experience has paralleled yours. It’s no wonder I related to you so well. We had a lot in common, little one. But you showed me what unconditional love is and made it possible for me to get through each day one by one.
One day I will see you again, my little angel in a dog's body. Until then, run free and be happy. You deserve it!