Monday, March 9, 2009

Goodbye my friend

It's Monday night. Not quite 3 days ago, Saturday morning, I took Jasmine to the Vet and stayed with her while she was euthanized. I had been thinking about it for a few days, my mind telling me it was time, I just wasn't ready to say goodbye. I finally accepted that I would never be ready. I looked up euthanasia on the web; "If your pet can no longer experience the things it once enjoyed, cannot respond to you in its usual ways, or appears to be experiencing more pain than pleasure, you may need to consider euthanasia."

When the Vet first came into the examination room, she was talking about her boyfriend, then something about another patients sad situation with cancer and job loss; I admit I wasn't really listening. I was focused on my girl and the decision I was making. I'm watching Jasmine on the floor, sitting up, facing me, she slowly closes her eyes, and she falls asleep sitting straight up, like a tired baby who can't stay awake, but doesn't want to give up the fight. It was as if she was saying to me, "Mom I'm tired, but I don't want to go". It was moments later that she lay down on the cold linoleum and went to sleep. I wanted to pick her up and leave, go home and pretend this was not happening. It was then that the doctor decided it was time to examine her, I put her on the table, as calm and peaceful as ever, Jasmine lay there; her eyes never leaving my face.

The doctor agreed it was time.

The Vet's assistant told me she had to bring her in the back to insert a catheter, she said it was the easiest way to administer the euthanasia drugs, a few minutes later she is back, "we can't find a good vein, her blood pressure is too low". I asked "why"? she looks at me and says quietly "her heart is weak, it isn't pumping enough blood". It was then that I knew, yes, this is the right decision. Jasmine girl's old heart is tired. They had to give her the injection in her leg. For a brief moment when they try to insert the needle, she flinches and snaps in the direction of the discomfort, I caress her head and tell her how much I love her, over and over. Even after they told me there was no heartbeat, my mind had not quite accepted it, I continue to kiss her, she is warm, and appears to be sleeping.

My heart has not stopped aching.

I was fortunate that my sister Megan was with me, I did not have to go home alone for a few hours. It was much later that I drove back over the bridge to my home on the Peninsula; the scent of Jasmine's dog blankets filled the car. I had grown so used to bringing her with me everywhere; she had a dog bed in the back seat. I would park, open the back door and gently lift her out, we would walk slowly towards the front door together and she would normally go drink water first, then go get in her bed in my room. This night, she was not there. The house is dark, quiet, no one to greet me. It was at that point that I knew this wasn't going to be easy.

16 years is a long time. It seemed like a lifetime ago that the neighbor's dog had puppies and my boy's begged me to let them have one. They picked the little one with the funny face; her mother was a Lhasa Apso, her father’s breed unknown. Jasmine was a ball of white fur with a face that was all eyes, she always looked like she needed some serious dental work, she had an under bite, which is common for Lhasa's. They brought her to me to approve before she was weaned from her mother. I can still remember them running in the house with this tiny little puppy; "please Mom, puleeezz!!!" It would be several more weeks before she came home to us for good. They named her Jasmine after the Princess in the movie "Aladdin", certainly not for her scent! Jasmine always had a distinct dog smell; she was indeed a stinky dog, the sweetest stinky dog in the world.

I read the book "Marley and Me" long before it came out in the theatres. It reminded me so much of Jasmine; as a young dog, she wasn't a "good dog". I was partly to blame, I didn't know how to be a good master and train her properly. Some of it was her nature; she was curious and made friends with everyone. The entire neighborhood knew her, Jasmine was known for wiggling her little self out the front door every time it was opened and making a run for it. I have many memories of sending the boys to chase after her, she was fast! Jasmine also liked to dig, she found a way to visit the neighbors, invited or not.

I can pinpoint exactly when it was that I bonded with Jasmine. She was a few months old and I took her to the Vet to be spayed. She had to stay overnight, I brought her home the next day and within 24 hours it was apparent that something was seriously wrong. Her abdomen was swollen and hot to the touch, she didn't want to eat or walk. I took her to the emergency animal hospital, sure enough, she had a hernia. The surgery had a complication. Several hundred dollars later, they patched her up. I remember standing there in the Vet's office thinking, I can't afford this, but this baby girl is too young to die, we all love her, she is family.

While the boys were growing up, every rule I had for Jasmine was often broken. I didn't want her on my sofa or the beds; I would come home from work and find Adam stretched out on the family room couch with Jasmine cuddled up right next to him. At night she would often sleep at the foot of his bed.

The boys grew up and one by one went off to college, Jasmine became my dog. I married Art in 2001, though she loved Art too, I was the one she followed everywhere. It was my side of the bed she wanted to sleep near, I was her human Mom and she was my girl. In the Spring of 2008 I ended my marriage to Art, Jasmine and I moved to the Bay Area to start a new life and be near family. From that point on we were nearly inseparable; she went with me everywhere, my faithful friend.

These last few weeks it became apparent to me that the time when we had to say goodbye was near; I avoided it as long as I could. So here I am, for the first time in my life, I am alone; no husband, children or pet. I admit it is much harder than I expected. I have spent the last two days crying off and on, I miss her in every inch of this house. I can still see her dancing with glee when I walked through the door, I miss my girl, I'm sure I always will.


Scarlett7d said...

I can only hope for you comfort and healing thoughts. My heart goes out to you and I share your pain. Tamera

all.things.fadra said...

I'm so sorry. I'm so thankful that I've been with the same vet for years and years. He has a special room with a couch and rug. He treats our pets like his own and he cried with us as we had to euthanize our lhasa apso. Maybe you'd like to read about him :)