Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Not the usual Thanksgiving post...

Under normal circumstances, I might write about which wines we chose to take to Thanksgiving, how dysfunctional our combined family's Thanksgiving dinner is, & our yearly escape to Nashville the day after. Under normal circumstances, it'd probably be a damn funny read.

But these aren't normal circumstances.

The month of November hasn't been a good one. It's been heavy with stress, disappointment, frustration, sickness, & sadness. I'm not going to go into all of that on this blog, but there is one particular thing that I will talk about - some of the sadness.

Charles, who we'd been treating for hip dysplasia for months, took a terrible, horrifying turn for the worse late Saturday night. Charles had pulled through so many hard times in the past that we weren't quite willing to count him out just yet. We had hope late Sunday night when he was up walking around, but by morning, that hope was gone.

All day long, I held back tears. I had to be at work - they tend to frown on emergencies for dogs, regardless of how one feels about them. I need my job, so I spent the day riddled with sorrow & guilt. I wanted to be with Charles, & to take him out of his pain, but there was nothing I could do until the evening.

Charles needed us to do one last thing for him, so Doug & I were on the floor at Charles' side, petting him, when he died at Dr. Gwen's office at about 5:20 Monday evening. How I wish he could have heard us, I had things to say...but I believe he knew what I wanted to tell him anyway. He passed quickly & calmly. He has new hips & is running around somewhere with Lexie, he can hear & he's no longer in any pain. While we have peace knowing that we did the right thing for him, our hearts are broken.

I'd love to write a beautiful post about Charles & how much we loved him, but I'm afraid I'm just not up to it right now. I can only say that he was the most beautiful & sweet dog, & a very treasured member of our family. Not "like" a member of the family - Doug & the dogs are my family. Charles had the softest fur & loved being petted more than anything. He was a very happy boy & seemed to be constantly smiling. He was, before he lost his hearing, our staunchest defender -which was always very surprising because of his gentleness. He never hesitated to let that leaf blowing across our yard know that it should move on to the neighbor's house. Charles taught me a lot about patience....having a deaf dog can be tough, especially when the dog isn't the smartest. These things Charles couldn't help, but it was impossible to be angry at him for any reason. I wish I could do him more justice in this post, but I just can't.

Our house is far too quiet now. Charles made more noise than any of the others, he always had a very heavy, plodding step & liked to walk around at night. Mattie misses her best friend - while she seems to know what happened, she still looks for him every morning to play. Piper is very confused, & Bella keeps looking for him. They are all sticking very close to us - they know we are sad.

We're doing the best that we can, although that's not saying much. As for me, my emotional state keeps changing - I'm fine, then I'm crying. I'm numb, & then I'm too sad to even cry, but the tears end up coming anyway. (Luckily, I'm usually at home or in the car when this happens, I hate to cry.) Other times, they sneak up on me - not having to step over the spot where he was always sleeping, not having to stomp on the floor to get his attention, or catching myself using his signals... Those are just a few things. It's just going to take time for all of us to get better, & that sucks. But we WILL get better. We have to. In the meantime, we're always going to miss our boy.

Charles

chaz

Elf Charles

matcharles

20 comments:

Amy said...

I am so sorry to hear that, it must be hard to let go of him but at the same time knowing it was what he needed. Hopefully you will find some comfort in that!

Lily and Piper are like my kiddos so my heart goes out to you!

Tony said...

Claire, I'm so sorry to hear...he was my favorite.

Hugs to you and Doug.

mxq said...

oh claire! he looks so sweet and i am incredibly sorry for your loss. you're all in my thoughts and prayers.

Beckie said...

Claire I am so sorry, I don't know what I would do without my girls. My heart is going out to you.

Em said...

Claire, it takes a very special person to be a pet parent because you know going in that you'll lose them someday.....yet the love and happiness that they bring to your life is more than enough to make up for the pain at the end.
I hope it helps to know that you gave Charles an amazing life....and hope that soon you will be able to remember him with smiles rather than tears.

Kristal said...

I'm so sorry Claire. :( I'll be thinking of you this Thanksgiving.

Amanda said...

So sorry for your loss.

Angie said...

It is always horrible losing a pet. They are like members of the family. I'm so sorry that he is gone.

Margot Is Your Hero said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your dog, I know that pain all to well when my own passed away over a year ago, and it hurt so bad, and I couldn't be there to be with him when he died. He was so lucky to have parents like you and no animal ever forgets the kindness given to it. It's hard to let them go even when you know it's so painful for them to be here on earth. You have my deepest condolences.

Margot

Thom said...

Regardless of how an employer views it, a pet is family... so kudos for holding it together long enough to spend what must have been an excrutiating day at work.

Give thanks for a doggie life well lived, a good companion, guardian, and friend...

Blue Ice Dave said...

Ugh! I'm feeling this loss in the pit of my stomach. Peace be with you today and the hard days to follow.

Mary said...

RIP, sweet and beautiful Charles. You will see him again at the Rainbow Bridge and he will be healthy and happy again, like you said.

You are a wonderful person for giving a special needs dog a loving home all these years and you gave him the greatest gift of all in the end-allowing him to die with dignity and feeling loved. My heart goes out to you and all of your family.

Sheryl said...

Claire

You know how sorry I am about Charles. He was my favorite dog of the pack. Such a sweetie with his beautiful eyes and he did have the softest fur.

My heart goes out to you and Doug. I wish I could bring Lexie and Charles back for you.

LucyinStLou said...

Claire,
We so loved Charles. He was such a good boy. We and the girls send are best to you all!

sarah said...

I will say, 2008 has been a pretty sucky year. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is to lose such a beloved part of the family and I can only imagine the pain you are experiencing now. Just know I am here if you need anything. I'll be thinking about you. xo

Explosive Bombchelle said...

My deepest condolences on the loss of your fur-child. It is never an easy decision, but one that comes with being a good parent. May your vivid memories of Charles bring you smiles through the tears as you heal.

Joe Joe said...

Sorry for your loss Claire. I cried a little while reading, it reminded me of when Callie passed this past summer.

Missed you too! Take care hon! (and the service was a bit of a mess)

sarah said...

To give you something to keep your mind off things, and to pass the time until next Friday, and because I love you in general, I passed on a little award to you, thereby binding you to post something with lists. :) Check out my blog.

Mo said...

Claire, I am SO SORRY to hear about Charles. My thoughts are with you. I have tears welling up in my eyes now, as I know all to well how it hurts to lose a lovable fur-babe.
Chase has been terribly ill the past 3 days, and it is heart-wrenching to not be able to make our fur kids better.
Please take care!

Geminai said...

I just stumbled upon your blog today and have been reading through, enjoying much of it. You are an excellent writer. This one hit me, though. Like you, my boyfriend and I have chosen to not have children with 2 legs .. only 4. Before Jeremy came along, it was just me and my great dane, Lucaya. I don't think for me there will ever be quite the connection there was with Luc. My best friend and confidant. My partner. It's been 5.5 years (he was diagnosed with bone cancer in late 2003) and I still can't talk about him at length without crying. I'm so, so sorry for your losing Charles in the here and now.

Out of a sense of "kindred spirit", http://geminaigraphics.multiply.com/photos/album/26/Lucaya