I knew it was coming. Yet I can't stop bawling as I type this. This morning at around 4:30 a.m., Amanda and I were at our beagle Copper's side as she was put to sleep.
It is so hard to have had her fate in my hands. To be the one to make this decision. I've been putting it off for so long, but the past couple of weeks, she was going downhill fast and I knew I wouldn't be able to wait much longer.
The vet said that our pets will hang on for us. I think she did that. She'd lost all bladder control and was bloated. Her organs were enlarged and she was having breathing problems.
But, as I contemplated whether or not to put her down, something strange happened. The past two days, she didn't have one accident. She slept up against my side of the bed, which was not her usual spot. She followed me around the house. She curled up next to the couch on the floor when I was sitting on the couch.
And tonight, as she became distressed with breathing, panting, shaking and anxiety, she looked up at me with eyes that said to me, "Please help me. I can't do this anymore."
Yet, even though I knew/know I was doing the right thing, I still feel so guilty. It's bittersweet though because at the vet, she lost all bodily control. She vomitted, defecated and urinated. She was shaking and panting uncontrollably. She was just so miserable.
So when they gave her the injection and she peacefully fell into my arms, I felt the strangest of emotions. Relief mixed with extreme grief. How can you feel both at the same time? I was so happy that she was at peace and not suffering, but I wanted her to get up again, wag her tail, and sit by my side.
The vet assured me I was doing the right thing. I do feel, logically, that I did. I feel like she is grateful that I let her go. That I did her a favor, not that I betrayed her.
But another part of me feels the opposite of all those emotions. It's just such a confusing mess of emotions. I can't believe she's gone.
I look at her empty chair, her empty bed, her dog bowls. I hear the clink of her collar as Amanda moves it around in her hands. It's just so.....empty. There's a void that is so deep.
Amanda didn't want to leave her. I told her she was going with us. "Just wait," I said. "We'll get a sign."
When I went out into the reception area, hanging on the wall was one of those tacky dog pictures. The ones where they're dressed up as humans as if they're a person.
It was a beagle. In full regalia. Happy. Head held high. It was my sign.
This poem below is for Copper. Please read it and pray, send good vibes, whatever you feel is appropriate. Anything to make sure she's crossed the rainbow bridge. Thank you.
The Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Goodbye my sweet baby girl. I will love you forever and always.