An obit to my soon to be dead dog

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IMG_1394I have always believed in death with dignity. I wrote a play about it. I have seen too many people suffer unnecessarily because of the law and the selfishness of those who prolong their compromised quality of life. And now, I’m having to stand behind my convictions. And it sucks. My beloved dog, my first pet and the greatest animal I have ever known has osteosarcoma and is at the point where he can no longer walk. He is an 11 1/2 year old greyhound and I have had the honor of being his mom for the last seven years. And my heart is eviscerated because I know he is starting to suffer and I know that it is up to me, with the help of a qualified vet, to end his suffering. And the qualified vet is on standby, ready to come in the next hour, the next day, the next week to relieve him of his pain. And I know I have to do it. And I know it is absolutely unequivocally the right thing to do. But that does not make it hurt any less. Because, right now, as my brave boy lays in my lap, and looks at me with his gorgeous chocolate eyes, every memory I’ve ever had with him comes rushing back. Every piece of food he has stolen…every smelly fart he’s cleared a room with…every person he has affected: the stolen food, the smelly farts, the lives affected….all too many to count. We adopted Moses Groucho Hamlet Zelda Von Freedman-Troy on June 22, 2008. A sleek black champion racer, he stole our hearts immediately. And the last seven years with him….the first 4 1/2 with my partner, the last 2 1/2 without have been extraordinary. Moses has been my rock through the good, the bad, the truly terrible and the magically exceptional. Throughout it all, he has been an elegant gentleman (yes, despite the farts and the food thievery, he is still a true gentleman). And after spending the first half of his life winning every race he ran and the second part of his life being loved beyond compare, this gentleman is ready to go. With his dignity intact.

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Showing 12 comments
  • Bonnie MacBird

    I feel you, Colette. I had to do the same for dear little Watson, who was by my side every minute for fifteen years. He told me when it was time. You are so right that at a certain point, we must not let them suffer. But it still hurt. Sending you a hug. xoxox Bonnie

  • Rachel Hopple

    Yes…it is the most painful part of being a pet owner….but we can give the biggest gift to our beloved pet when the time is right…hard as it is. And he/she will always always always be in your heart. Always.

  • Nan Stegall

    I’m so sorry for your impending loss. I have been through osteosarcoma 4 times and it never gets any easier. I will keep you in my prayers and know that my heart is with you.

  • Ellen From Az

    I feel you pain, sigh. This past June, my 2nd Grey, same bone cancer as my first….she was a week shy of her 11th birthday. Thank goodness for those home vets. We had an awesome 8 or so years. About 5 weeks ago had to go thru the pain all over again with my rescued Airedale, unfortunately @ an Emergency clinic at 1 a.m, she was about 13. It’s never easy.

  • Dale LaCognata

    Oh, Collette, I have stood in your shoes and now I am sharing your grief. I miss my babies soooo much. It never gets any easier…..

  • JJ

    Damnit, I’m in tears. I put down my Jack Russell Tucker at 16 after a year of watching him decline. The memory is still difficult. I’m certain having the vet come to your home and being there with sweet Moses is the best choice. Love to you.

  • Carol Hulett

    WE are coming up on a year to letting my first greyhound go after a valiant struggle with OS. It was right of course but the hardest thing I have ever done. He was actually my first dog and we chose each other. He was a unique greyhound and I won’t bore you with the details. But i totally understand that doing the right thing truly sucks! Take some comfort in knowing he will be met by a Greyt Pack and will soon be running far and wide on 4 sound legs. So sorry for you pain.

  • Melanie D

    You are of course doing what is right and best for him BECAUSE you Loved him. And I truly believe that he knows you will be there for him. Of all the things they do for us without question, the ONLY thing they ever ask of us…is to be there for THEM when they need us the most. And so you will be. He knows he was loved. Take care and we are all there for you and I am sorry for your loss of Moses ! The Donovan Girls (Rags, Justine & Debby)

  • Claudia Horwitz

    so beautiful love and so poignant. thinking of you and hugging you hard.

  • Alisa Curry

    I know.

  • DonnaAnn Ward

    This morning around 11, I sat on the floor opposite the open door to Blossom’s crate. I had my giant cup of tea and two pieces of toast. I watched him zonked out in Mr. Cratey-crate, covered by his little grey fleece, head on his leg catheter. We were going to the vet to have the leg catheter removed once I was done. As I was finishing the second piece of toast, telling him how proud I was of him, how he was my Blossom Bomb, my baby, my big guy, his mouth hinged open and he began to pant. His body twisted into a comma and his eyes went glassy. I grabbed him out of the crate and ripped open the bag with the liquid Valium the vet had given me, in case he went into seizure. I inserted the syringe and watched his gums turn white, his mustache froth and slick with bubbly saliva as I gave him all 3 ml. I ran and grabbed a towel, stuffed my feet into the same flip flops I’d been wearing back and forth to the vet all week, and took Blossom in my arms. He was already stiffening, head flopping back and forth as I got us out the door and into the car.

    Our vet is five minutes away. Just before we turned into the parking lot, Blossom died. He died on my lap, warmed by the California sun he was born in. He died in the very same car I drove when I first saw him on the streets of nasty, crime riddled Baldwin Park, where gang bangers run over dogs for fun. I was wearing the same coat I turned inside out to wrap around his matted, filthy, flea infested body, to lift him into the car and drive him to the shelter. He sat on the curb and watched me with that way he had: face forward, eyes to the side, crescent moons of white on the edges as he watched you, but kept a lookout for what was going on around him. So trusting, so curious about the world. He died after six sweet years of sleeping under the covers at night, cuddling in my arms in the morning. He was charming and quirky and playful and gentle. He loved everyone and and everything and loved, loved, loved being alive.

    I killed my dog, my dog who never had a toy made in China, never ate commercial dog food, was never walked or taken out of the house by anyone but me. My dog whom I loved in a town where I have virtually no one and nothing that loves me. I left a box of the most deadly poison in the yard. I knew it was there, didn’t want to kill any owls or bats, so I never used it. I never read the label, either. I never researched whether or not dogs eat rat bait. Thousands of hours spent online arguing and sharing and watching movies or tv and I never once researched Tom Katt.

    So, Blossom ate it. He ate is because the box was made of flimsy paper and the harsh California elements destroyed the covering. He ate it because it tastes like candy. He ate it because the person who was supposed to protect him, didn’t. He ate it because it was there.

    So I brought him home. I laid him in his cratey-crate while I went to dig a hole. I buried him under the grape arbor, the place where we hang our hammock each summer, where we would lie together and eat watermelon, watch tv, read books, play online Scrabble, and fall asleep for little afternoon naps. He learned not to be afraid of the pit fires I would build, so our faces would be chilly, but our bodies would be warm under the covers and we would come in smelling like firewood burning in the cold night air. He loved his yardy-yard, climbing the avocado tree to eat the green globes before they were ripe, waiting for me to open the pomegranates so we could all share them and get stained purple, chasing the birds that came to bathe in the fountain he loved to drink out of, standing on the gravel pile to bark his head off at Mr. Squirrel, the place he found poison and ate it like a snack.

    I laid Mr. Furry, the lambskin he liked to sleep on, in the hole. I cleaned his bottom and tucked his tongue, now swollen and black, back into his adorable little mouth. I kissed his little snout one last time, kissed that place between his eyes that is just perfect for a pair of lips to rest in. I smelled the top of his head, which was always like heaven, and hugged his little body. I lowered him in, tucking his legs up, like he did when he was falling asleep. I pointed his head north, to the great bear heart, to the fresh, cold winds, to the warm arms that will wrap him up as he trots off over the rainbow bridge on his journey to a new place. I laid his collar and a small red heart on his side and covered him with lilacs… blossoms for Blossom. I piled soft black earth onto him and packed it down hard. I placed polished black stones on his grave, black like his skin under his white fur, because you see, white Schnauzers are like polar bears: black skin, white fur. They are an anomaly, a defect, not recognized by the AKC, special. And Blossom was a special, special dog.

    There is no replacement for a dog. It’s like a child, you don’t just go get another one. And there is no “other Blossom.” He was so charming and loving, all he wanted to do was be near you and make you laugh. And he was great at it. I was the luckiest dog owner around. And I was stupid, stupid like my mother: the most important thing needing to be done to protect him was not done. My depression over so many things… the lawsuit, the loss of my acting career, the loss of good friends who wised up and left LA long ago, my mother’s stroke, the huge hurt that is my life in LA came together to leave me hollow and bitter and depressed, told me I would do something with the box soon, really soon. Well, now it is too late. Now, I am hollow and bitter and depressed without Blossom.

    He would have forgiven me, I know that, but he shouldn’t have had to. His little brain should have been concerned with eating more food and getting more head cuddles. He should have lived another eight years. He should have come back to Baltimore with me and discovered how much he loves snow. He should have met all of you as we drove cross country, making friends like he did everywhere he went. But instead, he died being poked and prodded and left in cold cages overnight. He died being force fed and urinating on himself. He died in a convulsion caused by his brain cells exploding, giving him massive head pain. He died because another stupid person took her beloved dog for granted. Yes, it’s a common mistake, but no, it does not make it hurt less. It was avoidable. I took away the brightest joy in my life, I took that from me and it cost an innocent little dog his life. My heart will never be the same.

  • Melissa Hamel

    Beautiful. Thank you. This has helped me immeasurably.

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