My family always had pets. As a child I loved animals! In 1982, I became a lifelong vegetarian.
I had all kinds of pets continuously for 47 years. Now there were only two. Jaguar, 18, was affectionate and loving. One day I noticed she was losing her balance and quickly lost consciousness. It was heartbreaking! We drummed for her journey to the spirit world.
I had just lost six friends and now my beloved cat.
But I had my dog Angel, my beloved guardian. I can honestly say that I have never felt such unconditional love from any person/pet ever. We were so close, and he understood my thoughts. When I overslept, he would awaken me. He would even bring me his leash.
Now he, too, was failing. His back legs were very weak, and he had difficulty getting up. I said that if he couldn’t get up, that was the end. But I helped him, and he was still enjoying his daily one-mile walks. Then he started limping on his left front leg. I gave him Chinese herbs two times, and he no longer limped. He refused any food containing medication. When I removed the medicine, he ate voraciously.
One day I thought he was passing. I sobbed and begged him to stay. He revived. Several weeks later, he slept for 16 hours. Again, I wouldn’t let him go, and he revived.
He was still walking and eating. I said if he couldn’t walk, that was the end. Then three nights in a row he fell down after walking a block. His limp worsened and he could barely get out to potty. He got extreme diarrhea for two days.
It was doctor time. Even though I have had many pets, I had only put one comatose pet to sleep. I discussed that possibility with Angel twice. I cried from the depth of my being, “I don’t want to do this.” He listened and turned his head away with tears in his right eye.
I asked for a sign! An hour before the dreaded appointment, I pulled some dental floss from the container, and only a short piece remained. I thought, “The end, just like life.” I then turned the bathroom light on, and the bulb burned out. I thought, “The light went out — a metaphor for the end!” I put on my blouse, and on the back was a reddish-purplish imprint of a face with two eyes, a nose, and a smiling mouth. I immediately felt it was Angel’s face saying goodbye.
The time finally arrived. When my friends and I walked in, Angel lost his balance. The doctor said he didn’t appear to have cancer, although he had a “mass” on his spleen. They could do more tests, but they might not be definitive. Even if they were, they might not be able to do anything. He just didn’t have a “quality of life.”
We talked about how painful certain parts of his body were. I remembered he had tried to pass twice. He was staying just for me! The doctor talked of the gift of not having to suffer anymore.
We agreed. Part of me felt stealthy in taking his life. He was trusting and put his life in my hands. But I also had talked to him and knew he agreed with our decision.
We kept stroking him, telling him we loved him, and giving him cookies. He was happily chomping them down and wagging his tail. Then he just suddenly fell asleep. The doctor said, “He’s gone.”
We drummed and released him to the spirit world. Later, during my drumming circle journey, he said he had wanted to go for a year and loved me very much. When I cut the cords between us, he shot straight upward, not wasting a second!
He was finally free. When I turned on the car radio, “Where the Boys Are” was playing. The last line is “Someone waits for me.” I thought of Angel’s doggie family welcoming him home.
Even though it was the hardest thing I have ever done, it was with the unconditional love Angel taught me that I let him go.
RIP Jaguar, 3/26/16
RIP Angel, 6/15/16