My beloved Poetry is dying.
She is literally starving to death before my eyes. Yet, her gracious personality shines through. She’s not needy or sad, she’s just not hungry. She has no lack of interest in life; she just is no longer interested in food.
She’s not hungry because of cancer and this cancer is going to kill her.
She surprised me with her resilience when she was lost for three and a half weeks at six year old. How could this gentle soul survive being lost 1200 miles from home and pregnant? Yet, she did. She returned home, and in the remaining four weeks of gestation, regained her own weight and had puppies that were vigorous and vital from day one. That resilience now shows in how she lives through her condition.
My pain is daily as I watch her struggle. She has lived a long and wonderful life. She has been one of our most successful dogs, but it is her intelligence, kindness and gentleness that make you love her. She had three litters, producing puppies that have gone on to be successful on their own and introduced me to people who have become important in my life. All of that is wonderful, but it doesn’t change the anguish of watching her die.
I am approaching our busy local dog show weekend that has a supported entry with trophies I need to organize and includes two days of lure coursing. I am field trial secretary. How do I balance this busy weekend and my responsibilities with the needs of this gentle, cherished dog? Thankfully, I have friends, people who have become my friends because of Poetry. Their gift of kindness to me brings me to tears when I think of the care given to this lovely creature by others. Given freely, because of who she is. I watch a dear friend sitting in the doorway of my van, Poetry held close in her arms to coax her to take a little liquid as I fly around the field trial, taking care of my duties.
She loves puppies – her own and any others she is allowed to clean, nurture and cuddle. Glimmer has three week old puppies and is a rather laid back mother. She welcomes Poetry nosing among the ten of them, flipping them and cleaning them as if they were her own. As Po lies among them, her gaunt, starved body is surrounded by warm, furry little babies.
During these days, waves of sorrow overwhelm me in unguarded moments and I find quiet tears leaking out of my eyes as I work, or drive, or cook, or try to go to sleep. I function, that’s all.
We are doing chemo therapy. I don’t believe in heroics for dogs, yet I just don’t know how not to give it a try. Dogs don’t understand the nausea of chemo, but Po is already nauseated and hopefully these drugs will help her eat. Each visit creates such high hopes, only to be dashed by 24 hours of marginal improvement and the downward spiral continues.
I can’t let her starve to death. It is my responsibility to choose for her, yet the choice is impossible when she is still interested in life and little puppies. How will I know when?
It’s just too hard to continue – her eyes are finally saying she’s worn out. She’s willing to continue, but she is just so tired. So very, very tired. Mark and I go together to the final appointment.
We let her go.
Poetry is no longer in motion. I grieve for her. Oh, how I grieve.
Select Am/Can Ch Northwind’s Poetry In Motion, FCH, CD, CAV, ROM, CGC
11-26-1996 — 7-28-2009