I seem to have a steady relationship with Death. We have seen each other way too often in my life. I’ve seen him take my grandparents, parent’s, uncle, cousin and niece – too many loved ones. It’s a relationship one should not have as often as I have but yet he keeps appearing in my life swooping in snatching my loved ones at such a young age.
Four months ago I got a visit from him. He snuck in during the night and took my baby girl Tasha. My beloved, loyal dog of 14.5 years. I was with her the whole night except for two stupid minutes. That’s when he makes his move – when you least expect it and before you know it, it’s done, over. He came to do his job and in the blink of an eye he’s done it.
This weekend was no different. Death came knocking again. I didn’t really expect him so soon but that’s how he likes it. Saturday in the wee morning hours the bastard came into my home again and took my baby girl Pebbles. My beautiful, sweet fur baby. Pebby had severe arthritis and was loosing the use of her hind legs. Most of my days, aside from running around after Buggy, were busy helping Pebbles move about. Because of her weakness in her hind legs she would slip very easily on the hardwood floors so I would have to help her up. I would need to help her up the stairs or down the stairs. Pebby fell a lot and the last few weeks she knew her limitations. I would place rugs in her walking path to help her around the kitchen. I bought stair treads for her to make it easy when she took the stairs. She hung out mostly in the living room where it was easier for her to move around because of the rug. She was smart and would move from one dog bed to another to get to the living room. We had just picked up a wheelchair for her two weeks ago.
Last Monday I heard Pebby breathing differently. I knew something was wrong, she didn’t sound right. A mother knows right? I thought she had seemed weaker but maybe I was imagining it. Denial – it’s beyond powerful. Pebbles didn’t seem to be eating like normal. I would give her another pain pill and she seemed better. I would hand feed her and she would eat. It seemed every other day she was back to her normal self. By the end of the week I was already in tears because I had to accept. Accept that my baby wasn’t doing well. Accept that our time may be cut even shorter. Accept that in a matter of a few days my baby had taken a turn for the worse. I had shed many tears throughout their lives just at the thought of not having my babies with me. These were my kids when I struggled to have a human one. My dogs are my kids and there is nothing that I wouldn’t have done for them. They are completely spoiled. Nothing but the best for them.
Friday morning I called the vets and scheduled an appointment for that afternoon. They vet listened to her heart and lungs and said she sounded fine but she didn’t look good. She hadn’t eaten or gone to the bathroom. They took blood and gave her IV fluids. My baby just seemed weak and I cried and cried while I held her. After her treatment I brought my baby home, made her comfortable and tried to get her to eat. Pebbles got up at 3.30AM to drink some water and I took her out to pee but nothing. She got settled in her bed again and I went upstairs since Buggy got up at 4AM. Daddy slept on the couch to be with Pebbles.
I don’t know why I didn’t check on Pebbles again after I put Buggy down again but I should have. It was sometime after that that the bastard Death came calling. When I got up a few hours later Pebbles was gone. I knew right away just by looking at her. I yelled for my husband and dropped on the floor and held my baby and cried. My husband told me to calm down a bit because I was scaring Buggy. No matter how much you do for your kids, your babies, it never seems enough. The guilt alone consumes you like nothing else. Why didn’t I go back down stairs to check on Pebbles? Why? I was her mother, I should have known. I had just gone through this with Tasha four months ago. I knew the signs. I should have gone down. But also by doing that I could have prolonged her trip to Rainbow Bridge. I could have made her suffer even more. They say that when animals are ready to go they do it on their own time and by themselves. This is how Tasha did it. The two minutes I left her alone to let Allie out she passed. Allie never went out during the night. I would like to think that they did that to protect us, to make it easier for us. I am thankful that both my babies passed when they were home surrounded by their family, that I didn’t have to make that decision to put them down. I did that once and it was torture but I waited for him to tell me he was ready. They say dogs will tell you when they are ready and my Nickademus told me. He looked at me and gave me the look and I knew it was time. Does it make it any easier- no.
That morning I brought my baby girl to the vets to be cremated. I laid down with her for about a half an hour and cried and cried and said my goodbyes. I laid there on the cold floor with my baby telling her how much I already miss her, telling her that she is no longer in pain and free to run and play with her brother, sister and so many new Angel friends at the bridge. Asking her to come and see me when she has a minute to let me know she is ok. Nick did that a few times and it was so comforting. Tasha hasn’t but she has left me pennies when I was feeling my lowest. Telling her that I hoped I made her proud and praying that I never failed her.
So even though I’m home with my daughter and two dogs, my house is empty. I walk around in a daze, no more helping Pebbles up and about. I’m thankful for Buggy and her distractions. I’m thankful that I still have two dogs. I’m scared because Allie is going to be 14 come April, she’s blind and diabetic.Pebbles and Allie shared the same birthday and Pebbles would have turned 11 and I’m nervous because Chantal is going to be 10. It is the price of having older dogs. My heart is heavy and I haven’t stopped crying. I love my daughter but I love my dogs just as much. They have always been there for me.
My babies are now running free at Rainbow Bridge. Pebbles, Tasha and Nick are now together. Sweet dreams my Pebbles, until we meet again at the Bridge and although I will still shed some tears, I will smile at your silliness, laugh at your goofiness and always, always hold you close to my heart. Mami loves you and misses you so much. Give my love to your brother and sister.
April 15, 2001 – February 18, 2012