|This is how I will always remember Savannah.|
Smiling, superior, divine, and splendid.
|Savannah and her constant companion, Ambrose.|
It is with a heavy heart and an ocean full of tears that I bid my dear girl goodbye yesterday.
She has been my shadow, my companion, and my labor of love for 18 years.
|Can't you tell who was always the boss?|
She was always the brains of the operation,
Ambrose was the brawn of the bunch.
She could somehow convince him to do all sorts of naughty things
that I know he would have never dreamed up on his own.
|Her favorite position to sleep in.|
I always knew that she was content and happy when she faced the world belly up.
|Savannah's typical view of the world,|
"I'm in command and nothing can challenge my perception of this."
|Savannah knew that I was her mom, she was at my heels at every step, |
but I was never her favorite person,
Noah always was.
|That smile was omnipresent.|
|The official Savannah and Ambrose family portrait.|
If anyone doubts that pets share similarities with their parents all you had to do was see the two us of together. She was a stubborn, determined, un-waveringly demanding force until the end. Her body tried to continue to do the things that it had always done, but as the last few months stole her abilities she remained a reckoned fighter to get up, move on, and refuse assistance. She was tired, although her body had surrendered to the requirements of freedom to move, and she was pushing on to do things that her tiny frame could not answer to. It was impossible to keep her happy any longer. If she would have allowed me to carry her to eat, drink, and continue to live I would have done so. But her pride and resilience became the burden of her bodies inability to perform even the most basic of tasks. She was unable to walk anywhere except outside. She couldn't lift herself to get to the water, and her frustration manifested into screams of aggravation and exasperation. Even if I was holding her, she demanded her freedom, and I couldn't assuage this.
I have had to address the queries of on-lookers unable to understand that I knew her well enough to know when it was time to let her go. I was often left to defend my decision to others who I hope and believe had her best intentions in mind, but it made the weight of my decision more burdensome and more perplexing.
I knew yesterday when she tried dozens of times to get up and be her normal unencumbered self I knew I had to say goodbye.
She is one of the hardest cases there is. Her heart, lungs, organs, skin, bones, and body were in almost perfect order. She just landed that one last straw on her tired back and lost the ability to move herself around and she was furious about it.
I understood, I empathized, and I had spent the last year trying and exhausting every option for her. But there was nothing left to try. Nothing I could offer her, and no way to dodge the angel calling her any longer. Her body had surrendered, although she fought to accept it, and I had to let her go. There were no options left.
Every day has been a strict regimen of offering at least 4 options to eat every time she woke up or every 4 hours. I walked her through the coldest winter days and nights to try to salvage as much muscle mass as was possible. The terrible painful oxymoron of being a vet is knowing what lies ahead of each possible turn in the road and the binding ineluctable obligation to be the hand of healing, the parent, the paladin, and the hand of death. It wasn't until she was gone that I truly realized how small and fragile she had become. I don't even know how she lasted as long as she did on her bony body.
My husband held my hand as I let her go. It may be inexcruciably difficult to make the decision, but sitting next to her and sending her body away is the hardest task of my life. Joe offered to take her to the clinic, to spare me the pain and agony, but I told him that she would want to be here with us, and surrounded by those who love her the most. He said he was trying to protect the one he loves most, and all I could do is reply "that it's not about me."
He dug her grave, and we had a frigid cold service as he placed dozens of iris bulbs over her. She is at peace and I am left behind feeling grateful to have had 18 years and a lifetime of memories.
The house is ghostly quiet a day later. I have been holed up at home sobbing, replying with "Thank You's" to the dozens of friends posting their sympathies on Facebook, and doing the loads of laundry that removing her area of the hallway took up. I have four bags of towels, sheets, blankets, harnesses, jumpers, baby monitors, booties, baby food, cheap dog and cat food, pee pads, and throw rugs to donate.
I took down the tie out in the front yard.
Threw the repeatedly heavily cleaned after being heavily soiled rugs into the burn pile.
And spent the next day at home re-arranging every room of the main floor that had been "Savannah proofed."
I hear her whimper in the far corners of this now silent house, and feel compelled to follow my routine of spending every sleeping and waking second wondering if she needs me. There is the gnawing guilt, the sharp pain of grief, and the appreciable conditioning of a person who deals with loss everyday.
And I look around at Charlie, Jekyll, Jitterbug, Wren, Magpie, Oriole, and Strawberry who are all quietly sleeping and realize that they need me. I have had all of them on my back burner for a year while I took care of Savannah. I have some making up to do...
|Jekyll and Charlie|
|Jitterbug, Wren, Oriole|
and the puppies in their beds at the end of our bed.
Savannah left a big impression on many people. I am grateful for the friends who are so supportive and generous with their kind words and strong shoulders.
|Pets with Santa and VMRCVM 2003|
If you are struggling with the loss of a pet, there are many wonderful people who can help.
Association For Pet Loss and Bereavement
"Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.." Tennyson
Update; Valentine's Day 2016. I miss my girl everyday. Those little velvet ears.. the patter of feet behind me, and the insistent demanding love and companionship. I was so fortunate to have shared so long with her. But I miss you always.. Love mom.
* End note; This post has spelling and grammar errors that I cannot fix.. I cannot stop crying long enough to convert the raw script into a polished edited post. I apologize.. This would require an unbiased third party.