Saturday, September 19, 2015

Thank you for your kindness

In my heart Dasa is forever young. In my heart, she is still with me, energetic, beautiful, agile, and sweet. In the physical world, much to my great dismay, age and illness took their toll.

Dasa had masses on her adrenal glands. The progression of illness was steady, yet gradual so each step farther away from health and vigor was small; however, the cumulative effect was devastating. We tracked the masses on her adrenal glands, and they exacted a price as they grew. She was not in pain, for which I’m very grateful, but the illness made her very frail and unsteady. 

Ivan was remarkably good about Dasa’s unsteadiness. If she accidently stumbled and disturbed him while he was lying in the sun, he just grumbled under his breath and moved. I made a point to praise him lavishly for being such a good boy. Dasa frequently wanted to get into Ivan’s cave bed with him. Ivan was never convinced this was a good idea, but as Dasa grew more frail, I would find her sleeping halfway into his cave bed, head on the fleece while Ivan snoozed next to her. 

At the vet, my brave girl would lie quietly for an ultrasound if I was there beside her, praising and reassuring her. It was understood that I had to be there for everything for my Munchkins. Every routine appointment, every blood sample taken, every bordatella dosage, every boo boo tended to, Mommy was there. And Mommy was there at the very end, holding my sweet darling girl until the angels took her away.

I thought a lot about how to do what was best for Dasa, and as she became more and more frail, it became evident that the best we could do, the last best gift, was to return her to the angels. This decision gave way to much thought on how best to make this peaceful for her and Ivan as well. Dasa didn’t like going to the vet hospital. What would Ivan think if we took her away and didn’t bring her back? 

Our wonderful vet agreed to come to our house. Eric had Ivan on a leash so he was able to see and know what happened to Dasa. I held my tiny girl on my lap and Dr. Jennifer gave her a sedative, then when it had taken effect, Dasa received the shot that sent her peacefully on her way, allowing angels to carry her gently home. I took off Dasa’s pink sweater and we wrapped her in a fuzzy blanket with hearts printed on it. Our vet and her nurse carefully carried Dasa to the car. Dr. Jennifer held Dasa on her lap and they drove away.

I tried to be calm and hold on until I didn’t need to be brave for my little girl anymore.  Then I knelt on the floor clutching Dasa’s pink sweater and sobbing. I cried the wrenching sobs of the heartbroken, a nearly universal feeling of utter loss and inconsolable hurt: the realization that she’s gone. 

Memory Stone from the library staff

Everyone has been so kind. We received many sympathy cards, flowers, donations to BRAT and donations for scholarships for university veterinary programs. People sent kind emails and made phone calls, all of which we appreciate very much.  Everyone who took the time to offer comfort knows our dogs are beloved family members, cherished children, some of the purest spirits on the planet who make us better people and make our lives richer and more filled with love and joy. Humans who are fortunate enough to share this kind of love with their non-human family members know the wellspring of happiness brought by their very existence. Just as they know the heartbreak and despair when we lose them.

We are so thankful for the thoughtful condolences extended by people from all parts of our lives. Each of these kindnesses helps to build a ladder out of the pit of grief and despair we all find ourselves in when we lose loved ones.
      We are doing much better. Ivan is eating, and I am eating and sleeping, so we are making progress.

I believe Dasa was sent by angels because she was such a gift to our family.
And the angels came to take her back. They only let us borrow her for a short time.

I believe basenjis are magic on four feet, and it’s difficult to remember we won’t have them with us forever. Somewhere, in the back of our minds, a voice reminds us that all too soon this precious gift will be taken away, but we don’t listen. We are too enchanted by the magic.

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