One of our doggies, Sari Lee Cupcake, left this world last Thursday. This is her story and her tribute…
I am a speech-language pathologist and while working in the Hell Mouth, I worked in a nursing home providing therapy. One of the other therapists mentioned to me that one of my patients was quite distressed. He had a greatly beloved mini-Schnauzer named Sari Lee Cupcake and he needed to find her a home. This patient, whom I shall call “C”, found out that he was not ever going to be able to return home and his family was not able to take Sari in, and he was beyond worried about what would happen to his sweet girl.
I called Pookie, who said “yes” immediately, and he went with C’s daughter and son in law to pick Sari up.
Sari was, how shall I say this? Umm, not the sweetest tempered dog I’ve ever met. She was greatly overweight, not use to other dogs, and not quite friendly to strange adults. She spent her first year with us quite snappish and unfriendly. I don’t think it was an exaggeration to say that she was waiting for her beloved owner to come home, and she didn’t quite understand why she was burdened with us and our rambunctious furry critters.
Slowly, verrry slowly, she warmed up to me and Pookie and we fell deeply, completely, head over heels in love with her. Due to her weight, at her first vet visit, they estimated she had about six months to live. Well, she showed that vet! She slowly trimmed down and showed us that for an old girl (she was about 14 or so) she still had spunk and personality. We had her in our lives for about three years!
She never really befriended the other dogs, but she tolerated them well enough. Kept her distance, but was willing to live in peace. She would stake out a position under a chair or in the corner, and soon we realized it was because her eyesight was failing and she needed to rest in a place where she felt protected. In lieu of a good chair, Pookie’s back was always a good spot as well!
So gradually, and so slowly, we realized our old girl was failing. She was eating lots and lots, but she was skin and bones. We found her about two weeks ago in our basement. She somehow navigated the stairs and was hidden in a corner, completely soaked in her own urine and feces. Weakly growling at us, she let me pick her up where I gave her a warm shower to clean her and massaged her aching muscles. She so enjoyed it that she fell asleep! After that, it became apparent she must have had a stroke. She lurched rather than walked and I would pick her up to carry her to our backyard, wait for her to relieve herself, and then carry her back in where I would wrap us in a soft blanket and massage her aching joints. Her breathing would get wet and rattling at times. Once, Vitya said he thought he saw her having a seizure, but he wasn’t sure…
Pookie and I kept debating…should she be put down? did she still have any quality of life? what was the right move? These chats always ended with us in tears and deciding we would see what tomorrow would bring.
Last Thursday night, I was holding Sari and feeding her shaved turkey when I noticed her body was curved into a c-shape and her head was cocked upward at an odd angle. Her breathing was wet and uneven. I set her on the floor and she tried walking but it was in a circle…over and over and over again. I picked her back up and she began to struggle against me and my attempts at massage didn’t work this time.
With tears we called the vet and told him we needed to have our dear girl euthanized. So, Pookie bundled her up, we carried her to the car (me carrying a large handful of the shaved turkey) and made the drive.
Sari’s eyes were milky white and we realized how blind she had really become. She daintily accepted the morsels while we sat and waited for the vet to arrive (as it was about 9:00 p.m.)
The vet arrived and offered to do an exam to see if she could be saved. Pookie set Sari on the table, the vet took one look at her and said “oh no, this old girl is finished with this life and is ready for the next.”
Pookie and I scratched her ears and kissed her, fed her bits of turkey, and told her what a good girl she was, and soon she would be with C again. During this time, the vet was placing the tourniquet on her right forearm and slowly inserted the needle and injected the medicine which would stop her heart. Her heart, which ironically, was still beating strong although her body was failing.
We continued to feed her turkey, when suddenly I said “look at her eyes!” They had turned a bright, shiny black and her tail wagged. Then, they slowly returned to a lifeless, milky white and she was gone.
I believe firmly, in my heart, that at that moment when her eyes were shining again, that the pain was gone, her soul was leaving her body, and she was saying her goodbye to us and her hello to C.
I miss her so, so much. She was our sweet Sari girl.