I was at the shelter on Friday and it was a pretty quite day - most of the doggies were still at their homes for the holidays. It was a rainy cold day out and we didn't have much traffic. Then, a man came in with a little dog wrapped in his sweatshirt. He said his girlfriend found the dog and they had been taking care of it, but it wouldn't eat, so he was bringing it to us. He took the little dog out of his sweatshirt and I let out a gasp. She was a chihuahua and weighed probably 3 pounds - she was all skin and bones. Her tail was between her legs, her eyes were dialated and she was struggling to breath.
I asked him how long they had her and he said two days. Well, she should have been to a vet two days ago. I took his information and told him I would take care of it. I wrapped the little doggie in a blanket and held her while I called the vet. They could see her right away so I got in the car to take her. I sang a little song to her during the drive and hoped with all my might that she was going to be okay, that this was fixable.
I got to the vet and they asked me her name, she didn't have one, so I called her Lady. I filled out the paperwork and went back to the shelter. A short while later, my phone rang. Lady had parvo and was too far gone to save. They were going to euthanize her. I didn't want her to die alone, I told them I would be right there and to please wait for me.
I jumped in the car and headed back to the vet. Lady was in their isolation room. They took me and gave me a chair to sit in. They placed Lady in my lap, wrapped in her blanket. She opened her eyes and looked up at me, she was ready to go. This world was too much for her and I could tell by the look on her face she knew that. She laid her head down on my arm.
The nurse said it would be about 20 minutes and to settle in. I gently pet Lady and told her what a good dog she was. I told her that she was going to doggie heaven and that my dogs Wookie and Opal and my cat Gus, who are already there would be waiting for her. I knew they would take care of her and show her the way. I told her not to be afraid and that it was okay to let go. I wasn't sure what she had endured, but it was about to be over and that was okay.
The vet said she was about 5 months old and she was very very sick. She was just a baby, never had a chance at life. Who knows where she came from or what her story is. It didn't matter to me, what mattered was that we had this time in this place and I had to give her as much love as I could in the short time she had left.
Of course I was crying. I was crying about this little dog, whom I had met less than two hours earlier, whom I loved as if she was my own. They all deserve to be held at the end - no matter how the reach that point and I was determined to do that for her.
The vet came into the isolation room. I have been through this process before with my own pets and I knew what to expect. As always it was over so quickly. I told her goodbye and felt her silently slip away.
I was heartbroken. And at the same time, I felt so honored to have been there for her at the end. A life was over, this little dog had come into my world just a short time ago and I was able to give her a gift. I was able to be there when she transitioned from this world to the next and that is an amazing thing. She didn't have to be alone and she felt love, if only for a little while.
I am still sad about it. I am sure I always will be. The shelter posted about it on facebook and there were many wonderful comments. One of our most consistent supporters contacted the vet and made arrangements for Lady to be cremated. He had a box with Lady's name and picture on it. She will be an honorary member of his family, right there along with his pets who have passed on. Isn't that amazing. Lady will not be forgotten and I love that.
Rest in Peace Lady, I hope the next world brings you comfort.