Last week I lost my little girl, Michelle. She was recovering from a 6-week bout of pneumonia. A couple of nights after her latest check-up she was coughing badly and hyperventilating. This time she didn't respond to the oxygen tank, or medicine, or sedatives.
There was really only one option and it was to end her suffering. I won't go into details but she went downhill rapidly. I wrote her eulogy, read it to her, and then I nodded at the vet. Most dogs go to sleep after the first shot, but not my Michelle. I held her and looked deep into her eyes and said "I love you" a million times. She held my gaze until the end. I shut her eyes. She was only 10.
I am devastated. I love that dog so much. She is brilliant, loving, strong, stoic, hilarious, and regal. She was commonly known as the Grande Dame and I her staff. She had some trouble getting up the stairs (but not a bit when I burnt bacon!) and she would go to the two steps to the platform, turn back as if to say"I am ready to be carried now." She would lay on the lawn at Mt Vernon and everyone would say how she just seemed to own the place. She pretty much did. I know she was thinking that I just need to get my finances in order so when George Washington's estate hits the market (or Vanderbilt's, she wouldn't be choosy), it should be bought for her.
And she's right.
This is a dog that loved her people; she had a special yip just for Shelties. She spoke Scots Gaelic and would smooch and snuggle on command. She also had a strange obsession with Highland cows and bagpipes but that's another story. I always told her I would take her to the Shetland Isles because in my mind the main island is a large grassy knoll with free-range Shelties frolicking on the hillside. I'll take her ashes there.
But grief is grief and it takes time. I've been throwing myself into playing my cello every day (which she surprisingly loved even when it sounded like a cat in distress). I am grateful for 10 years of wonderful memories, from her puppy/Tasmanian devil days of shredding everything with razor sharp teeth, to our morning and nightly Sheltie hugs where I would hug her and she would hug me back with her chin, to those wonderful Sheltie snores. I will also miss her barking her hellos to everyone, including the national call-outs and International calls I do for work. Without fail she barked through every single presentation I've done when teleworking.
So now I just work through the loss and the quiet and the absence of her. And I realize that Michelle knows I love her more than anything and I know she loves me more than anything. That alone shows me that love continues to grow within us for our duration. I have so much more love because of Michelle and God bless her for that alone. Now she has crossed over the rainbow bridge and I only hope to live a good enough life that I will one day pass, she will sniff the air and come running to greet me. God bless you, sweet little Michelley.