Saturday, December 6, 2014

In memory ....

In Memory of Princess Isabella
March 14, 1999 - December 4, 2014 

I am grateful to the staff of the Casselton Veterinary Clinic for their professionalism and compassion this week.   There is no easy way to let a pet go, but they certainly made it an infinitely better experience than I had with Dee Dee.   I am at peace with the decision, and grateful that I was able to hold Princess throughout the procedure.   She died in my arms, and the veterinarian and tech sat with us for another 20 minutes and we chatted about our dogs and the love they bring into our lives. That meant the world to me. 

This week marks the end of the "Princess, Dee Dee and Elvis era".   The memories of the times we shared with all three dogs are precious.   So much life happens in the span of fifteen years.  Princess was with me through upheaval at work, through the loss of my parents, through other changes in my family and in my own life.  For fifteen years she slept pressed against the small of my back.   I can hardly remember life without her.  

I look at Scarlett and Zak now and try to imagine what they will be like in 12-13 years .... what memories we will make together and what those years will bring.  I'll be in my 70's (yikes!!), retired, quite possibly living in some other place.   Dogs are amazing creatures.   They know more than we realize .... and they love unconditionally.   I have marveled at that over the years.   I shudder to think of how many mornings I was running late and snapped at Princess and Dee Dee or failed to give them the attention they needed.  And yet when I came home at the end of the day, they were at the door to greet me - butts wagging, so happy to see me; and I, them.   

I miss Princess terribly.   She brought more joy into my life than I would have believed possible.   She was my first corgi, and the reason I got the others.   She changed my life, and I will always be grateful.    Rest in peace, sweet girl.   You are forever in my heart. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Princess, at the age of 15-3/4 years, has lived an extraordinarily long and wonderful life.   Our veterinarian gave me the supreme compliment at her wellness check in October when she said  "You've taken such good care of her."   I hope it's true.   Princess was my first corgi, and the one who made me fall in love with the breed.  Just like first time parents, you cut your teeth on your first puppy and learn as you go.   I'm sure I made some mistakes, but it wasn't for lack of love.   I adored my girls, and only hope Scarlett and Zak have lives that are just as good.

Sleeping in the car
The past few weeks have been tough for Princess.    We've had a cold start to the winter, she gets the chills when she goes outside and needs help going up and down the steps.   She drinks so much water and of course that means she has to go outside a lot too.   The puppies are rambunctious and bother her.   This Fall she went to work with me most every day but now that it's gotten cold, she can no longer do that.    She adores my neighbors and loves to go to their house.   But those trips are more difficult with the onset of winter.    Her digestive system has been upset, her back hurts and her legs are no longer stable.   It's time to say goodbye.

Princess with our neighbors, Mike and Gina

On Thursday, my neighbors will accompany us to our veterinary clinic in Casselton where we will help her cross the Rainbow Bridge.   Unlike Dee Dee, who passed in an unfamiliar place with a doctor we'd never met, Princess will have our wonderful Dr. Schmid, and Casselton has a special room, quiet and peaceful, just for this journey.   I anticipate that it will be a bit easier than it was with Dee Dee.    Princess is almost three years older and I have no doubt that it is time.

Princess and Susan
But the ache in my heart is still horrific.   Ever since the decision was made last week, I've had intermittent waves of grief.   Not one to cry in front of others, I've savored the moments we've had together at home.   But Princess is not just my dog.   Dee Dee was very attached to me and didn't even want to leave the house without me.   But Princess has so many, many friends.   And because of that, I've needed to let them say goodbye.   So, since Saturday, we've have a number of different friends stop over.   Princess has enjoyed tummy rubs and special treats, although I've maintained pretty tight control over that because I don't want her to have a tummy upset in her final days.   On Sunday, our friend Susan Lenthe took these wonderful photos of us together.    They will bring comfort in the weeks ahead.  Tonight I will bury my head in her back, memorize her smell and allow my tears to fall on her fur ... I will linger ... I will treasure these last two evenings together.   She will always be my PRINCESS.