Thursday, August 14, 2008
“To own a dog is to know that one day, you will cry.” I read that quote once a long time ago and it describes perfectly the day I’ve just had. I don’t remember who said it, so I don’t know whom to give credit for it, but the truth in those few words hit me hard and often all day today.
For the last week or so Shelbe’s energy levels have been dropping and her appetite coming and going. Then on Sunday she stopped eating altogether and I noticed her breathing getting heavier. I took her to the vet on Monday and she spent the remainder of the week there. Her pancreas had basically shut down and her body was starting to get thrown out of whack because of it. The vet called me this morning and told me the situation, and I made The Decision. I scheduled the appointment later in the afternoon, and then went to be with her at the end.
After all she’s been through in the last two years I knew this time was coming, but that didn’t make any of it easier. But once they brought her into the room I knew The Decision was the right one. Her breathing was very labored and wheezing, and she barely had enough energy to hold up her head. I could tell she didn’t really know where she was or what was going on, but there was a glint of recognition in her eyes when she saw me, and I knew that she realized I was there with her. She laid her head in my hands and I scratched that special spot on her ear until she breathed out for the final time.
There have been a number of nicknames I’ve given Shelbe over the last decade (Shelbster, Shelbe-Dog, Baby Doll, Pretty Girl, Shelllbeee [said in a high-pitched droning voice], Shelbe-Lynn, Lil' Miss Shelbe-Dog, just to name a few), but the one I liked and used the most often was “Shelbe-Dog”. It rolled off the tongue easily and it always sent her tail into a wagging frenzy.
Thank you Shelbe-Dog, for the 10 years of life that you gracefully shared with me. Thank you for showing me the true meaning of unconditional love and happiness every day when I walked in the front door. Thank you for listening patiently to my rants, for making me laugh when I needed it, and for catching my tears without judgment when they fell.
Good night Shelbe-Dog. I’m going to miss you.
March 7, 1998 - August 14, 2008