I was mad at The Husband when he brought her home. He didn't ask, he just notified me that he was bringing someone home. When I think of the dog he brought home that night, about 5 1/2 years ago, and the dog I grew to love, it seems as though they were different dogs.
She was so skinny and skittish. She was restless and roaming. It was a few days before Halloween and both of us were off from work, so we were able to spend several days at home with her. She didn't startle at the sound of the doorbell when it rang over and over on Halloween night. But she was restless, so restless.
I thought Bessy was a silly name. But that's what she was named by The Husband's son when his mom found her. I only commented that she matched the carpet..................so she could stay.
When did she creep in my heart and take it over? I don't really remember. It happened over time. We had our bumps and issues. But once she figured out that she was safe, and we would always feed her............she stopped ducking her head when you reached out your hand, and she worked her way into our lives.............and became, "my dog". We spoiled her in every way we could afford to do so.........the best of food, someone to stay here with her when we went out of town, and even dragging her to Keystone four times. Where she got to be a mountain dog and sniff the trails to her heart's content.
Once I fell in love with her, I seldom let myself think that she was an older dog, because we didn't really know how old she was. But the hair around her face grew grey along with mine and I knew in my head I would someday have to say goodbye, but my heart didn't want to face that fact.
When she started limping this spring, my heart clenched, but hoped it was just a kink. From the initial xray we waited 4 weeks to take a second one. And the spot had grown. She had bone cancer on her back left leg. Our wonderful Vet, Dr. Jeff told us it could be a few weeks or a few months. Just keep her comfortable, and you'll know when its time.
For the next few weeks Bess would lie on the floor in my office, right at my feet. She had a bed in there and slept most nights there. I was on the computer a lot. Posting my resume and looking for work. Late afternoon, she'd follow me down to the kitchen and curl up on the rug by the sink while I cooked dinner.
It was on the kitchen floor where she was laying during dinner, that she tried to get up and the leg gave out. The wailing and whimpering was one of the worst things I've ever heard. We loaded her up with pain pills and she limped into the living room and settled for a bit. We sat with her and tried to figure out what to do. I'd made a call a few days earlier and we knew what the end would be like.
Suddenly, with great effort she got up...............using the other three legs and headed for the stairs. The Husband helped her up the stairs, but we were amazed that she could do it at all. She was just so determined in that moment.
She wanted my office. It was her happy, peaceful and quiet spot.
The problem was, she couldn't lie down. She kept trying, and we kept trying to help. Finally after about half an hour, she managed to get down. And I knew I didn't want her to have to get up again.
Caring Pathways is an organization here in Denver, founded by a man that I know. Dr. Larry knows far too much about suffering and is a man of great compassion. He founded Caring Pathways, and I encourage everyone who reads this to click on the link and read about him. The call to them was the call I'd made a few days earlier and I knew we wanted to have them come to the house to take care of my Bessy. I can't even imagine how we would have gotten her into a vehicle and to a Vet without causing her tremendous pain. So we made the call.
We called the neighbors who loved her and they came and sat with her while we made some calls. They made their teary goodbyes and left us alone with her.
I laid down behind her on the floor and held her. She was quiet and I believe the pain pills we got into her made her comfortable. I sang our song to her. Tom Petty's Free Fallin'..........."she's a good girl, she loves her momma".
About an hour and a half later, Dr Amy showed up. As long as I live I'll remember that when she walked into my office, Bessy lifted her head and wagged her tail.
She was happy to meet a new person.
Dr Amy sat on the floor with us, and explained everything. When we were ready, she gave her a strong sedative. When her breathing deepened and she was no longer responsive. She gave her the final shot.
And quietly, peacefully, in her happy peaceful spot...............she slipped away.
These are the final photos I took that night. I was alone with her for a while and she was resting and calm when I took this.
I loved the way her fur looked on her neck. She was a beauty.
When she was gone, Dr. Amy let us sit with her for a while, then wrapped her in the sheet she loved from her bed. The Husband helped get her on a stretcher and into Dr. Amy's SUV.
It was the perfect way to deal with a very difficult situation. The Husband later apologized that it happened in my office, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Do I think of her when I'm in there now?
But I know she passed away in a favorite place, surrounded by people who loved her deeply. As the character, One Stab said in Legends of the Fall. "It was a good death".
She'll always be my girl.