When Life Kicks You When You’re Down

April 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

Cleo, 1999-2013.
It’s hard to find the words to describe the incredible, overwhelming sense of loss I feel in the absence of my sweet baby girl. This weekend she suddenly took a turn for the worse, losing strength in her back legs such that she could no longer properly stand or walk, and was incapable of standing up on her own or laying down without assistance. By Sunday, I realized she wasn’t going to get over it on her own and made plans to take her to the vet, but by Sunday night I realized she wasn’t going to make it. This was the end.Mark put my mattress on the floor so I could be as close to her as possible through the night, and into the morning as we waited, debating on what do to. Thankfully, we found a vet who would come to the apartment so she could stay comfortable in bed instead of moving her (and hurting her further) by taking her to the vet and ending her long, wonderful life on a cold metal table under fluorescent lights. I held her when the vet put her under, and I hope she knew how much she was loved.

This was the best ending I could ever have asked for her. She died peacefully and painlessly at home, in her own bed, surrounded by her family. Everybody has their different views on pet ownership. Sure, she was just a dog, but outside of family, I knew her longer than I’ve ever known anyone. My oldest friend I’ve only known for 10 years, and Cleo was with me for 14. She slept in my bed every night until she was too old to jump that high, so I got her a cushy dog bed that I put right next to mine. She got me through high school, college, grad school, breakups and heartbreak, birthdays, stressed days, everything. She was always there, ready for a hug or to dry my tears or to let me kiss her furry face a thousand times.

We buried her by my parents house in the country, a peaceful spot close to home by a small grove of trees and a flower garden. My parents, boyfriend, and grandmother dug the grave and decorated it beautifully with stones, natural clay, and pinecones, after we laid her to rest. It was more than I ever could have asked from for anyone, and it was the perfect ending to my sweet girl’s long life.

When we got her from the pound just days after moving to Alabama, we could never have expected she would have grown to be such a primary member of our family, that she would be so central in my life. While my grief is real and painful, I feel incredibly lucky to have loved this beautiful, goofy, sweet dog. It never crossed my mind that I would have to continue life without her, not this soon, when this year never stops throwing curve balls at me. She was there for me through so much. Somehow, we always find a way to carry on.

So much love. She will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, Cleo.

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