Monday, March 28, 2011

Saying Goodbye...

We said goodbye to our beautiful Penelope Friday morning. It was quick and peaceful. We went in and I let her take her time sniffing the bushes out front even though we were late for the appointment...I figured it was her last sniffs, so may as well let her sniff as long as she wanted and they could wait!

We went in and they immediately escorted us to a really nice room with a soft bed and lots of plants. I brought her some ham as a last snack. She had about half the ham, then we saved the rest for when the vet came in. It wasn't the same vet as the day before, I didn't care too much for this guy. He asked if I wanted to stay, and I said of course. It seemed like he was trying to talk me out of staying, saying that most clients preferred to leave once they knew it would be taken care of, or to step out to the lovely garden they had behind the room, and why didn't I just think about it and let him know. Fine, buddy, but I've already made up my mind.

They gave her a sedative and left us for a few minutes. I gave her the rest of the ham while she got the shot, but she didn't want all of it. I sat with her and petted her. The vet came back, asked again if I was sure I wanted to stay, and had one of the nurses (turns out her daughter is one of Alex's classmates and we'd met on a field trip before!) take Carter to see the fish tank so I wouldn't have to worry about him.

They shaved a little bit of her arm so they could make sure to get the vein for the last shot (an overdose of a barbituate that would first shut her brain down, which would in turn make everything else shut down). I saw the life leave her eyes before the shot was even done, and she just went comepletely limp. They left me with her while everything else slowly stopped. I laid down next to her and held her and petted her and cried while she took her last breaths. The vet came in a few minutes later and confirmed that she was gone.

We're having her cremated, and will pick up her ashes in a week or so. We're planning to take her to Folly Beach and scatter her ashes there. When we first moved to SC, we lived in Charleston and Penel and I would go to the beach after work 2-3 times a week. Rainy days were the best, because there wouldn't be anyone else there, so I could let her off the leash so she could run. She loved chasing the birds and splashing in the water, so I think it'll be a nice place to go to remember her.

Everyone seems to be taking it rather well. Alex came home from school, looked around and asked where she was, then said, "Oh, she's dead." and that was it. Phoebe doesn't seem upset either - I was worried about how she'd take it, since they've only ever been apart once, when Phoebe was hospitalized overnight when she was sick. Other than that, they've pretty much always been together, ever since we adopted Phoebe as a puppy 7 years ago. Eric said it bothered him more than he thought it would, that he couldn't be there. And Carter, of course, hasn't noticed anything different :)

It's still a little strange to have only one dog, especially at feeding time. She had gotten to the point that she spent most of her time relaxing off to the side, so it's mostly just at times like when I'm in the bedroom and look to the couch and don't see her there, or when I'm calling Phoebe in, or that kind of thing.

It was a hard choice, but I'm glad it was made at this point. Keeping her alive any longer would have been selfish and I couldn't bring myself to let her suffer any longer - and she was obviously suffering.

She was a wonderful friend, and a faithful and loving companion. There will never be another Moondoggie....

Tucked in with Eric after getting hit by a car about 5.5 years ago, a week before we got married...

Watching Phoebe race around the yard with Alex...

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