Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pensive Tonight

It's been four months since my Xena went away. I still feel the loss so much.

I still can't look at a German Shepherd. There are days when I'm filled with crushing regret over having put her to sleep. Should I have waited longer? Did I rush into putting her to sleep? Maybe she would have gotten better. What would she be doing now? I know I shouldn't second guess my decision, but I can't lie - I do.

I try to look on the bright side. The hole left by Xena was later filled by Chloe. I would never ever have considered getting a cat while Xena was alive - she loved cats but she couldn't resist chasing them. So while I feel sometimes that I let Xena down, I saved another life.

To salve my pain, I built a new garden in the backyard and I call it Xena's Garden. It was rototilled just about two weeks after she died. When I got her ashes back from the veterinarian, I sprinkled some of them on the newly tilled ground and then worked it into the soil. That might creep some people out, and I don't know if it made a difference, but I do know this is the fasting growing garden I've ever had. This is only after 3 months.

And now we have a cat in the garden. (Yes, she's on a leash.)Chloe likes to sit in the garden and just check things out.

And that's where we're going right now. It's a beautiful evening.


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7 comments:

Joanne Walpole said...

I know how you feel. Six years later I still feel guilty about having my dog Brandy put to sleep after she had a stroke, especially since the vet wanted to drag it out longer. But from the day I had her as a 6 week old puppy I always said that when her quality of life was compromised I would end it for her because I never wanted her to suffer (she was a very feisty and lively dog so not being 100% would have tortured her, and me). It was a sad thing to do and even though I have guilt trips about it, I know it was the right thing to do. I'm sure you do too. :-/

Deka Black said...

I know too. i still miss my dog :( but ona brighter side, yours is a incredible gardemn. Only 3 months! And Chloe looks healthy ^^

Barry Traylor said...

I wish I could say the sadness totally goes away. It never has for me. But the sharpness of it fades and I am left with all the good memories I have of time spent with friends that just happened to have four legs and fur.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm sorry, of course. I know you did what you felt best and that is the only thing you can do for those you love.

Melissa Marsh said...

I think it's a lovely idea to have spread her ashes on the ground.

I still tear up over my dog that I lost a few years ago. It was so sudden that I had no time to prepare.

Hugs...

Ed Hulse said...

Laurie, I realize it's human nature to second-guess the decision to put a beloved pet to sleep, but don't beat yourself up about it. Even if you made the decision a week or a month too early, you spared Xena suffering. None of us can know whether she would have bounced back -- or, if she had, how long it would have lasted.

When we put our dog Patty to sleep, she was 14; I was 24 and just about to move out on my own. Our girl was clearly suffering: she was incontinent and spent most of the day in under our living-room couch, curled up against the wall. She would always rally a little when we took her outside, but I knew she was fading when she stopped greeting me at the front door when I came home from work every day.

Still, I rejected my parents' claim that we needed to put her down. I said I'd take her to my new apartment, I'd clean up the mess, I'd look after her. In retrospect, I was being selfish because I didn't want to let her go.

My dad realized I couldn't be talked out of taking Patty with me when I moved, so he took her to the vet one weekend when I was out of town. When I got home and found out, I went berserk -- not only because I felt betrayed, but because I hadn't had a chance to say goodbye to my best friend. Dad, being much wiser and having gone through the same thing when he was a young man, knew I would never have agreed to let Patty go, and he was willing to endure my rage because he knew that putting her to rest was the right thing to do. And when I finally got over my grief -- which took weeks -- I realized it too. Keeping my girl around would have made me feel better, but it certainly wasn't fair to her.

Patty always hated going to the vet, which she associated with pain. But once I'd calmed down, my dad told me that she'd gone into the office serenely, and without the carrying-on that normally accompanied her visits. She knew it was time. I suspect Xena did too.

The garden is a great way to cherish her memory.

Laurie Powers said...

Thanks for sharing all your stories and for understanding. It is comforting to know that you all go through the same thing. I think the worst part of the whole thing is, when you make the decision, not really knowing if it's the right decision or not. Thanks for your support. Jo, it sounds like you had the same experience as me. Thanks. Deka, Chloe is more than healthy - she's turned into a little thug. :)
Thanks Barry and Charles, and Melissa, and Ed for taking the time to tell your story. I think this has to be one of the hardest things a human has to go through.