Letter to a Dear Pet
Dear Blaze, my spirited and loyal friend. It has been twelve months since you transitioned. Just twelve months, yet it feels like a lifetime ago. Your empty bed still sits on the floor, the coat you would wear when you went for a walk to keep you warm in the cooler months is still draped over the chair. Your medication is still in the kitchen drawer. I am still not ready to put away your belongings; I would have to fully accept you aren’t coming back.
Your life before coming to live with us was that of a working dog, a vibrant and adventurous kelpie. You hurt your leg jumping off the back of a ute, and your days as a working sheep dog were over. Your new chapter in life began with us.
You were like a shadow. I was often tripping over you. You used to boop the back of my leg with your nose when you walked behind me. I miss that so much. Coming home from work to your happy welcome was the best part of my day. I make a conscious effort to remember how silky soft your coat was. I don’t want to forget a single thing about you.
Anticipating the Death
My grief for you didn’t begin on the day you left us. It began eighteen months prior. One weekend I noticed your balance was off and your perception for depth was not normal, as you high stepped rugs on the floor.
By Monday morning you couldn’t stand. Your head was moving side to side and your eyes were flickering back and forth. I was devastated and sure that I was going to lose you. You were diagnosed with vestibular disease which affected your coordination, balance and strength in your legs.
You had no appetite and did crocodile rolls when I moved you. There is no medication or cure for vestibular, just patience, love and time. We dedicated our time to help your healing and recovery with massage and rehab learning to stand and walk again.
After a couple months your strength and personality began to return. You still walked with a head tilt, but you got on with life. We had some great months with you. You were back walking again and barking, both your favourite pastimes.
But slowly your health began to deteriorate again. Now on top of vestibular, signs of dementia started to show. You went from bright and cheeky to a shell of your former self. You slowed down and slept more. We hadn’t heard you bark in months. Your appetite decreased and you started to have accidents inside. You paced at night and at times walked in circles.
In your final week, I knew we had to make a decision. The spark in your eyes was gone. You slept most of the time and didn’t interact with us. You didn’t leave your bed unless I took you outside and food didn’t interest you anymore.
The Final Goodbye
It’s hard to put into words the emotions of your final day. I woke up with a feeling of dread and I wanted to do anything but what we had planned for the day. But that decision was out of my control.
Your final moments were full of love and peace. I took some comfort in the fact that your physical struggles were over. You were free from pain, confusion and no doubt frustration.
I miss you so much. Life isn’t the same without you. You took a piece of my heart with you, and left a piece of your heart with me. I hope that when it is my turn to leave this earth, that you will be waiting for me.