he's there almost everyday, too. I guess that makes us both regulars. he has a beautiful golden retriever. he always talks with me about our dogs.
not too long ago I was reading on the patio with TheDog at my feet. he came over to ask how old TheDog was. I answered 12. he replied that as soon as she's gone, I would have to run right out and get another, or I'd be lonely.
I was a little taken aback. he's older, he meant well. that I know. but that didn't stop the sadness from creeping into my thoughts.
that (and stories a friend or two have told recently about dogs) reminded me of TheDog's best friend, PB*.
it's been nearly 4 years, but I vividly remember the emergency vet visits in the middle of the night.
the first, in particular. she'd been sick. it was near Christmas time. the x-rays showed she had a growth, on her spleen.
the vet couldn't be sure if it was cancer, or not. without surgery.
this was an extrememly difficult decision for my mom. our black lab growing up had surgery, right after I'd left for college. to fix something wrong with her spleen. she didn't make it through the surgery, at only 8.
with PB, it was even harder, she was 12. but, eventually my parents decided to go ahead with the surgery. the understanding being that if things looked really bad once they opened her up, they'd do the "humane" thing.
the vet removed the mass along with her spleen. it was indeed cancer. but they were fairly sure they'd gotten it all. to be certain, they gave her chemo. it made her sick. but after the treatments they were convinced they'd helped.
she got sick again. by then it was summer. one Friday my mom called to tell me she was worried about PB. I hopped in my car and drove down.
my dad was heading to his high school reunion for the weekend. so she was alone. they were trying to decide if they wanted to try yet another surgery for her. my mom wasn't willing to let her go, so she was leaning towards the surgery, it would be Monday.
Saturday afternoon my dad called to say he was on his way home. he was cutting his trip short. he'd had a feeling that he needed to be home.**
I will never forget that Sunday afternoon, my parents, PB, TheDog and I were all in my their front yard. relaxing with the dogs under the aspen trees.
my dad gave PB a kiss on the head and left to run an errand. soon after he left, PB used every ounce of energy she had and got up from her spot and wandered to the middle of the grass before laying back down.
I moved to be near her. my mom did too. I remember thinking it strange that TheDog didn't move, since before that she had been glued to us all.
I laid belly down with PB's head on my arm, her labored breathing audible above the singing birds. I prayed that whatever happened, whether they went ahead with the surgery or not, that she would no longer be in pain.
moments later, she picked up her head and looked straight into my eyes with a look I will never forget. she wasn't in pain anymore. she was completely at peace. and she took her last breath on this earth.
* this is the only digital picture I could find of PB. it was the Spring before she passed away. I have much better film ones, I'll find one and scan it in soon.
** I have tales to tell about these kind of things. but I'll save them for another day.