Lily RIP

I thought I’d write the end of the story. I took Lily to the absolutely wonderful vet here in Monte Vista, Dr. Crawford at Alpine Veterinary Hospital. I’d told the receptionist this morning that I wasn’t sure but what Lily might need to be put to sleep, so when I came in, they were ready. The place was empty; a coincidence, but I was relieved. I know what was happening was written on my face.

Lily had lost 12 pounds since our last visit in October; not a good sign. The Vet Tech (awesome guy, too) took us to an examining room. I sat in the chair and lifted Lily onto my lap and held her as close to me as I could. I didn’t have her when she was a pup and this was the first time I’d held her on my lap. I felt her relax in my arms and I wasn’t going to let go. Dr. Crawford came in and talked over all the options with me. “It won’t work very long,” he said, “but you’d have her a little while longer.” I honestly did not want Lily to experience any of this hell again, and we both agreed that as Lily was often terrified and almost always disoriented, we’d do the kind thing before she got worse. I did not want to set her down or let go of her. It must have been a pretty interesting picture. They moved the furniture out of the way and brought a clean quilt to put on the floor. Dr. C gave Lily a tranquilizer and soon Lily relaxed. At that point, I set her on the quilt and got on the floor with her.

Dr. C explained every single thing he did and though I’d been through this already many times in my life, I was grateful for what he was doing. He got on the floor with Lily and me. He let me help, which I appreciated. We talked about Lily’s life when she was “real” and all the things we’d done together. The Vet Tech had also had many huskies and he agreed they were wonderful. But, he said, “I couldn’t take it no more,” meaning what I was going through.

Lily went peacefully in my arms with kind men and a clean quilt and a quiet room. No one was dry-eyed, but we collected ourselves and Dr. C said, “We’ve been through this too. It’s just so very hard when it’s a dog who’s your friend.” I appreciated that because while I think the “Furbaby” thing is cute, my dogs have not been babies to me. They’ve been partners in crime, my equals, my friends. Furreinds as my friend L says. They both gave me big hugs and I went out and paid.

That was a shock. In San Diego that procedure was usually around $300. I paid $63. That is the difference between living in an economy where animals are a necessary aspect of most people’s lives vs. an environment where animals are life enhancements.

I came home with Lily’s smell and the smell of death on my clothes. Mindy and Dusty were busy smelling me and learning the whole story. They were excited for a while, but they’ve calmed down. Dogs are wise and I will take my cue from them.

Thank you everyone who’s read my posts about my dog and shared your care and concern and good advice. It has meant a lot to me and helped me.

48 thoughts on “Lily RIP

  1. We have been there, more times than I care to remember. Garry can’t talk about it and I prefer not to. You did a good thing, even though it hurt. I hope you feel better soon.

    • Lily definitely let me know she agreed with my decision. She was never the kind of dog to hold on your lap, though she was affectionate. Huskies are kind of “catlike” so I could tell that what was happening was OK with her and I’m sure she knew. Yeah, the whole thing is just so hard. You don’t know if you’re keeping the animal alive for yourself or for their sakes.

  2. {{{hug}}}
    I’m glad you got to be there at the end. I have never been able to do that, not so that I’d be calm and comforting at the end, which is what they need.

    • I have a kind of unusual relationship with death, I think, because of my dad and his illness. I saw when I was very young that death is not so bad for someone who’s really fucked up, so I am always with my dogs at that moment if I can be. The vet said it was hard for some people, but I would find it unbearable not to stay with them. We’re all different with this stuff, I think. Thank you for the hug. ❤

  3. I am so sorry to hear that. I know how much it hurts… What a beautiful vet you have there. He understands. It is good to have people like him in moments like that. I wrote about it in ‘Still Miss You’ under ‘Hooves & Fur’. I’ve never wrote about losing our dog 2 years ago… I still can’t.

  4. I’m so sorry, Martha. I’m gad that she didn’t have to be confused and afraid any more and that she could be with you during the process.

    • Thank you, Beth. I’m glad, too, that she will not spend another night terrified and lost, though I miss her. Our last moments together were as beautiful as most of our other shared experiences and I’m grateful to my vet for that.

  5. Oh, Martha, such pain will mellow in time, but I know you must be hurting. Lily is better off but the left behind are in pain, and your others must be a great comfort. Are they confused to have lost a friend? My cats usually notice for a few days, and are needy but I don’t know about dogs. I am so glad you got to hold her at the end. It is such a sad time. I wish you the best. Lily RIP.

    • Dogs are amazing and wise about death. They were freaked out when I came home smelling of Lily’s death, but once they’d smelled the whole story, I threw my clothes in the wash and they let it go. Thank you for your kind wors, Barb. They mean a lot. ❤

  6. You, Dusty, and Mindy will be in my thoughts. I am glad you were able to be with Lily. It is our last gift to them.

    • I think so, too. I feel honored to share those last moments with them. In the few cases I haven’t been able to, I felt a kind of guilt. I know they’d do it for me. Thanks for your kind thought. ❤

  7. Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: They miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.
    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.

    • Thank you, James. In my imagination (and I dreamed it once) at the end of this bridge is the little stone house where I lived in California. One of my friends, whose soul was saved by a golden retriever named Daisy, lives there and takes care of all the dogs. It’s in a forest. I cannot imagine a more wonderful Heaven than one in which my dog, Molly, (she’d be the first) senses my arrival and runs to me (probably with a bunny butt hanging out of her mouth) and I would get to spend eternity roaming the woods and hills with the 20 some dogs I’ve shared my life with so far. Thank you for posting this for me.

  8. It is hard not to shed tears when reading this, Martha. Thank you for sharing your heart about your beloved friend, Lily. As we age, we seem to send more of our wonderful friends to the “rainbow bridge.” When Oreo died, I wasn’t even in town. A neighbor checked on him and found him near death (long story). I told the vet over the phone to put him down and freeze his body. When we came home, my hubbie dug a deep hole in our backyard under Oreo’s favorite pine tree and buried him there. What amazed me is how Aero reacted. He could smell Oreo and spent several days laying on Oreo’s grave, sniffing and “crying.” Sometimes he would run around the yard also looking for him. I mourn your loss with you 😦

    • Thank you, Terri. Dusty is kind of odd today (he had known Lily all his life and loved her so much that if he ever felt there was a threat to her, he would immediately urinate on her to “claim” her. Disgusting and sweet at the same time). He and Mindy learned everything when I got home yesterday and they smelled me. Mindy (who competed with Lily for the dog bed [Mindy is a sofa dog]) has not taken over Lily’s bed. She seems to be treating it with reverence. Last night she slept beside it. I appreciate your kind words very much.

  9. Have only just read your post Martha, and sitting here crying! You will miss your beloved Lily.
    Love and hugs, Barbara

    • I do miss her very much. I have company now for the weekend and I’m glad and so is Dusty (he loves these friends of mine). Thank you for the love and hugs. ❤

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss! But oh my, what a gentle and loving ending for your dear Lily. You were so fortunate to have a humane vet like your Dr. Crawford to help both of you through this passage.

    With kindest regards,

    • Thank you, Susannah. I agree. Dr. Crawford made it so much better for me, certainly, and his treatment of my dog, and the help of his assistant, if it weren’t what it was, it would have been — well maybe it was — a very beautiful thing. I miss Lily very much but how she went and the love that went into the moment will, I know, down the road, make me feel a kind of happiness. I appreciate your kind words very much.

  11. I too don’t have a dry eye at the moment. I am so sorry for your loss, but you could take the end of the road with her. I am not usually very sentimental, but the loss of a pet is so sad. My niece had a husky she rescued from a hot glass window in a pet shop in greece. She called it okra and it was a beautiful husky with blue eyes reminds me of Lily. she left us last year, but had a good life. I still see my cat Nera in our garden and I am sure you will still be reminded by the favourite places Lily had. Missing her is part of the process, the good memories remain.

    • Thank you Pat, I feel Lily here, still, and Dusty misses her probably more than I do. I should have taken him with me. I want to write about some of my adventures with Lily at some point because we did some great things — well, great for us. 🙂

      • Mr. Swiss read some of my cat blogs this week and said how much he still misses Nera and could hardly read them. I also needed a time, but I find writing about her helps a lot. I think that Tabby missed her half/sister at the beginning but after a week had passed I did not notice that she was searching for her everywhere. I think cats do have a different sort of logic as dogs.

        • I agree. Dusty was a puppy when he came to live with me. Lily was like a mom to him and he adored her. She was with him his whole life and since he was an abused puppy and very shy and scared for a long time in the beginning, Lily was his teacher. She adored him, too. She and my other huskies (I had three) spent all their time playing with him when he was small. They made him feel safe and loved and taught him how to be a husky (which he isn’t). So for Dusty it’s kind of like for us losing a parent we loved, I think. But fortunately for all of us, my good friends are here visiting with their dog and Dusty loves them and it really cheered him up. For me losing Lily was having to say goodbye to a period of my life that really is gone forever. We shared many good (hard) hikes and much joy in the mountains and I cannot do that any more. But we change, I guess, and we can’t hold onto the past and have to move forward, even if it’s with a limp and a cane and a lot more slowly.

  12. Reblogged this on Colorado or Bust! and commented:

    I should have shared this here, on Colorado or Bust, and maybe I meant to. Lily died on March 12, 2015. Six weeks later, or so, I still miss her, but she had a wonderful life and her death fit everything she was and our many adventures together and my love for her.

  13. Again, I will say how truly sorry I am about your loss of Lily. she was a beautiful dog. Only you know how much you grieve and how much you miss her presence. I’m pretty sure that you have many photos of her and those are good to look at even if it makes you cry. It is reassurance of the wonderful life you had together and brings back wonderful memories.

    When my dogs go over the bridge. I keep a lock of hair and the vet will make paw prints for me if I ask. All my pets are disposed of as a communal cremation and their ashes are scattered on the large crematory acreage about 20 miles from where I live. I used to bury my pets on my acre of property but I ran out of places.

    Euthanasia for a cat is $42 and the cremation is $45. Euthanasia for a large dog runs about $80 or more for euthanasia. (my town is about 120,000 population). Small towns definitely have advantages.

    Mark that owns the crematory, God’s Creatures, goes around to all the vet clinics in town 6 days a week. I’m so thankful for Mark. He oozes kindness.

    Take care, Martha. You are in my thoughts. I will try to send you some of the best pet loss poems that I have posted on my blog. I’ll look to see if you have an email address. I really like Kipling’s poem.

    • Thank you — Some sweet things have come from Lily’s “afterlife”. The cutest was my step-granddaughter (age 1). They went to a birthday “Pawty”. The hostess had a big box filled with stuffed dogs for the little ones to adopt — a big sign that said, “Adopt a Dog!” She chose a husky. My stepdaughter-in-law, who knew and loved Lily, was so happy and they named the stuffed dog Lily. “Lily” goes everywhere they go. My step-daughter-in-law and I made an album on Facebook of Lily’s photos and now it includes the stuffed dog and the baby.

      Lily is in a communal grave just outside of town. The vet asked me what I wanted to do with the body and (as we were all crying) I felt sorry for him at that point. I said, “Lily’s gone. I have all the wonderful times we shared in my heart. You can put her with all the others. Huskies don’t like to be alone, anyway.” (True.)

      I have a busy summer ahead of me, and I’m thinking that when it’s over, I will look for an older husky who needs a home. I’m not active enough for a young one. Huskies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and old dogs have a harder time finding homes. But I might get another Aussie, again, over 6 years old. I know when the time is right, the right dog will appear — just as Lily and Jasmine did 12 years ago. ❤

      Thank you for your kindness. It means a lot to me. I'm putting a good face on it, but I miss my dog.

      • Martha, that is such a cute story about the step- granddaughter and the stuffed puppy. I think your thoughts about adopting another older dog is a way to save a dog that other wise would be put down due to age because many people don’t want an older dog. And the dog will be so very grateful for being pulled from a kill shelter if that is the place you choose to save a life.

        I could not find an email address for you but if you Google “dog poem” by Rudyard Kipling you’ll see a lovely poem. There are many lovely poems that might help you find some peace to ease your grief.

        • I’m going to write a post about “Lily” the stuffed dog sometime soon with a photo. The poem made me cry. It’s exactly right. ❤ Thank you.

        • P.S. Losing Lily was especially hard because she was my last link to a life I can’t live anymore. We shared hiking trails and mountains and snow and the joy of all those things. Saying good-bye to Lily felt like the final good-bye to a life a lot more active than I can live now. But…she was a brave soul who came out here with me to a strange new life and, until her last month, she loved every minute of it. Especially the big snowstorm in February.

  14. I’m glad that Lily was able to get out in the snow. It was a nice prelude to a life that was ebbing away.

    I can fully understand that you are actually grieving two losses. It will always be a reminder of what fun and excitement you had as she accompanied you on those marvelous hikes.

    I can’t do what I once did either and it is a real pain. I have a heart condition and chronic fatigue but I just keep plugging away and it’s my pets that keep me interested in living. They are my comforters and that is something that my adult children or my three good friends can no provide.

    • Dogs just give us something that can’t come from any other source and I can’t define it, but it’s probably what’s meant by “companion” animals. I feel that my dogs see ME whereas people in the outside world see a little chubby gray haired lady who walks with limp on good days and is unsteady on her feet on bad days. 🙂

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