Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Losing Natalie

Immediately after my last post Natalie, the dark larger dog in this photo was diagnosed with a very large abdominal tumor... and my world blew up. I am not sure why I thought she would always be here... except it seemed she always had been . Since that day 12 years ago when she leaped into my van and we drove away like bandits in the night (I quite literally stole her from bad people) Natalie had been my right hand, my protector, my common sense... I breathed better because she was here. And when she was sick I was helpless to return the favor, to save her, to protect her... to make it all better for her.

There was no way to know how much time we had... the tumor caused her labored breathing, it interfered with her intestines. I may have moved heaven and Earth to have the tumor removed if the vet felt it were operable... but we didn't get very good news. "Take her home, love her, make her comfortable..." At 12, in addition to the tumor, she had an enlarged heart, gall stones and something about the thyroid...

And so I did... till the morning very recently when she woke up unable to walk... her back legs were weak, her balance was off... and you just know...

They let me stay with her the whole time... in the back of my mind I knew that up till the very last minute I could change my mind, scoop her up, run away... but I didn't... we laid on the floor till the very end...till her labored breathing stopped... and she was gone.

At home she was lain in her grave, wrapped in a blanket. I brought out Talia, the younger dog, who sniffed her face all over, Natalie's nose, her eyes, her ears. Talia looked at me, sniffed her again and backed away. The recognition of death enveloped her, took her to places she'd never been to before...

In our home, the dynamics have shifted. Talia doesn't know when to pee, I'm not certain we are safe from the things that go bump in the night... so we got a new dog from a rescue group. A sweet bundle of silly nonsense who was scheduled to be done away with too soon. It is not the same as with Natalie... but Talia has perked up and the shroud of death has lifted. We are distracted and she is fitting in. Natalie might have even liked her -- the way she mostly liked everyone... Especially Natalie would have liked that I am back to putting one foot in front of the other and am once again getting things done.

So I am back, ready to work, ready to share, to help clean up our homes so we can all make the most of our lives.


  1. So sad to lose a beloved pet.. I'm sorry for the loss of Natalie. You gave her the best life and furry pals to share it with.

  2. Your pets are lucky and they love you.