Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm ready to grow young again

At 9:00 am today, we said goodbye to Opal. As I mentioned in a previous post, we knew the end was near. We had sort of decided that we would take her to the vet on Sunday night, the sore on her backside was getting worse by the day. Sunday morning came and we didn't really discuss what we'd do. We met with our running group and then Trevor worked the store. He asked me to give Opal a bath and check on the sore.

I got home around 11, Trevor would be home around 4. I waited as long as I could to give her the bath because I didn't want to have to look at the sore and I didn't want to have to make a decision. Around 2:30, after Opal took a long nap where she snored louder than ever before, I gave her a bath. She layed on the deck and seemed to enjoy every minute of it. After I got done rinsing her, I looked at it and immediately started to cry. I knew it was much worse and I hated what that meant. I brought Opal back inside and put her on her special blanket. We had a long talk about heaven. We talked about her life and how I didn't want her to be scared. I told her that when the time came, she should just relax and let go - Wookie, Gus and Joyce would be waiting for her. She started to clean her back legs - she wanted them to be ready when she got to heaven, because she planned to run and jump and play.

Trevor called to see how Opal was. I told him and he didn't really respond. He came home from the store and we decided we would wait until the morning. That way, we would have one more night with her. I think that neither of us really wanted it to be the end and so we were somehow hoping one more night would make her better.

Opal was obviously confused. She was up all night crying and barking. I think she was saying "Where's Wookie? Mom told me that I was going to see Wookie tonight". The morning came and I don't think that either of us really believe this was it. We gave her another bath, looked at her sore and finally came to the conclusion that it was time. I called the vet and let them know we would be there shortly.

Maggie and Buster said their goodbyes and we wrapped Opal in the same blanket in which Wookie made his final trip. Opal has never liked to ride in the car. Today, she layed calmly in the back seat with Trevor. I was so worried that she would be scared at the end. I could not tolerate that. So I was glad to see that she was peaceful and calm.

We got to the vet and took her into the room. Trevor said he was going to have them look at her sore, I think it was his final bit of hope that it didn't have to be time. The nurses came in and shaved Opals paw to put in the catheter. Again, Opal stayed calm. We sat on the floor with her and she put her head on Trevor's leg. At that moment, I believe we both knew. We had known before that, but were still in denial, still holding out for some sort of miracle. But at that moment, Opal was letting us know that she was ready. We have a wonderful vet who assured us that we have given her the best life a dog could have.

If you have been at this moment with an animal you love, you know how it feels, you know the impossibility of the situation and you know the amazing grace that is required to see this through to the end. As I told a friend who was going through this - it is one of the most important things you have to do in your life. It is heartbreaking to watch, but we are the center of her world so how could we not be there to comfort her, to let her know that its okay to go.

Opal was her daddy's little girl. Trevor loved her like I loved Gus - about all else. He would have chosen Opal over me and I have always been okay with that. It took a while for her to love me, but after a couple years, she did. Today, I thanked her for loving me. One of the most important qualities in anyone, for both me and Trevor, is loyalty. Above all else, we value loyalty. Opal was the epitomy of loyalty.

We have so many great memories of Opal. Her incessent barking and ball chasing. Her love for her red ball and green toy. Her furry ears and wirey coat. The way she bossed Wookie around. The way she would look at me when I was talking to her and say "I don't know what you are saying, but I like the way you are saying it", how she would walk slowly with me, while Trevor walked Wookie and Maggie and then Maggie and Buster in front of us. How she would cover up her food with blankets in her kennel and hid food all over the downstairs. She was a good dog, a great dog.

On the way home from the vet, I said to Trevor "All our babies are gone and it makes me feel so old". When Trevor and I met, Opal, Wookie and Gus were all so young - between 2 and 4. Now, they are all gone and I just don't know where the years have gone. 11 years have come and gone in the blink of an eye. I miss them all. I love the babies we have now, but I really miss the ones who are gone. I just don't know how we have moved forward without them. There are two qualities in Trevor that make me love him the most - we can laugh at anything and he loves our animals. Even though this is one of the saddest, most difficult days in our lives, we have been able to laugh. Of course, we have cried alot too, but having that little bit of laughter makes it easier to keep moving forward. And loving our animals, well, that goes without saying. We both share the same ridiculous love for these animals. We love them with every piece of our being. I know I couldn't love someone who didn't share that with me.

We still have 5 sweet babies at home to share our love with. Their lives are better because Gus, Wookie and Opal paved the way. Opal had a little white spot on her head that I would kiss. Maggie has a similar spot, only its brown. I told Opal today that when I kiss that spot on Maggie, I will think of her.

I just know that the minute that Opal left this life, she was immediately running to see Wookie and Gus. And right now, I am sure they are all taking a nap in the sun. Together. At least that is what I hope.

1 comment:

Keith said...

It is a heartbreaking day, and yet a happy one, in some way. It's when we do a last favour for a beloved friend and take the pain away. I'm thinking about the last time I had to do that, many years ago now, and I'm tearing up and getting all sniffly.