Monday, May 16, 2011

The Time Has Surely Come

Tomorrow, late morning, a vet and his assistant are coming out to let Pearl go.
Yes. Truly.
Mr. Moon and I just dug a grave in my little office yard, found roots and bits of glass and pottery and also what is probably part of the septic tank drain field. Pearl came out and checked the situation, then wandered back into the house.
"She's signing off on the permit," said Mr. Moon.
We tried to pat her but she doesn't really like being touched now, even though she does like being around us. I know she hurts, despite the aspirin. I'll give her another one tonight- what can it hurt?

I'm cooking venison because that's her favorite food. And with it, I'm cooking the first potatoes from the garden. I dug them up with my hands (it's turning out to be a dirt-filled day) and scrubbed them, put the knife to them to cut them in half and they snapped like nothing else snaps but a potato, just from the garden. I'll make a salad. I might even make biscuits.

Ah-lah. This old Pearl Girl has been around for a long, long time. It'll be so different with her gone. I wonder, after fifteen and a half years of having her follow me around, standing right in the dust and dirt I'm sweeping, getting under my feet in the kitchen, how long it will be before I quit looking for her, expecting to hear her tap-tap-tapping toenails on the floor.
Quite some time, I would imagine.

Well. I told May that it felt like we were playing god but she pointed out that having pets IS playing god and isn't that just the damn truth? We breed 'em for size and character and fur and ability and there's nothing natural about that. To think that Zeke is descended from the wolves is absurd, despite that fact that it's true. And so tomorrow we shall continue to play god and the vet will do the compassionate thing, the thing that must now truly be done.

And here's something else- I believe that my white chicken, Daffodil, was taken by a hawk today. I found some of her feathers and there is no sign of her. I need to keep the chickens shut up and ignore their pleadings to be let out, my desire to see them scratching in the yard. The hawks have been numerous this spring and I have seen so many in this yard. I feel stupid for letting them out the way I do, but there you go- it's done and I have and I probably will again.

Death. Part of life. For old dogs, for chickens, for us too.

Here's the crazy thing: I'm a every-six-monther when it comes to getting my teeth cleaned and yet, I haven't been to the dentist since I started taking care of Owen. I finally made that appointment to get it done and it's tomorrow morning mighty close to when the vet is supposed to come. Now what do I do? Cancel that at the last minute? I guess so. I really need to be here, as much for Mr. Moon as for Pearl. She has always loved him best and I know that and it's going to be harder for him than for me.

Hank and May and Lily are probably going to come out tomorrow evening for a little service. I'll make what is comfort food for us- a pot of pinto beans, a pot of greens. Some cornbread. We need that, I think. To have a little funeral, to lay our old friend to rest.
I wish Jessie could be here but she's always been so good to Pearl, always been there for Pearl when she needed her. That's what's important.

And in this situation, we all have to remember what is important which, when you get right down to it, is the fact that our old dog, despite the fact that she is still in control of her bowels and bladder, still able to eat and walk around and get under my feet, is not living a life of dignity and she is surely, surely in pain and it's our job, as her god-people, to let her go.

All right. Just wanted to let you know. You've all been so supportive, so good about this. Please don't worry. We'll be fine. We're cognizant of the fact that it's for the best and that we have to let her go. We will grieve but that, too, is part of being a god-human.

I think I'll go make biscuits. And then we shall eat, feed Pearl from the table because again, what can that hurt now?


  1. It's a sad thing when you have to put a dog down. We had to put down our good dog not long after Isabella was born. The poor dog was just too sick with arthritis and was a 60 pound dog and it just made my heart ache when her legs would fall out from under her and she'd go crashing down the stairs. Sounds like Pearl was a great dog. Put a piece of each of her favorite foods in her grave in remembrance of good times.

  2. I'm going to hug up the cat now, and I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.

    Then again, I usually do.

    WV: contst

  3. I'm sorry about Pearl, and Daffodil too. I'll be thinking about you in the morning.

  4. Oh Mary...this life thing is the best and the worst. Yeah, I bet Pearl is ready but it is weird to think that we can have a hand in it. My beagle and I did the same thing...No one could go with me so I took her after everyone said goodbye...sad but right. You know that. Love you so much and to Pearl...may she have all the table food she wants where ever she ends up!!!

  5. Beautifully written and felt.
    Lucky Pearl. You're such a good mama. Will be thinking of you all.
    So sorry about Daffodil.
    And May is wise.

  6. Mary I will be thinking of you all and Pearl will be in a better place...truly. I don't think I have ever gotten over the missing of my dog family. Each one has a special place in my heart forever. We had those good times and I always felt it wrong that dogs live such a short time in this world.

    Peace be with Pearl..and I like the gathering of the family for you all tomorrow. You can cry and laugh and remember Pearl from her puppy years and on. A memorial of comfort food and fellowship.

    We lost a hen over the last weekend. One our real good layers too. I think when she was out she got picked off by a coyote. I found her feathers in a pile down the yes we too are keeping the hens in and they do not like that one bit.

  7. Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Tomorrow you can add her name to the Rainbow Bridge.

  8. Been through it with a dog who was a good friend of mine and went with me everywhere, and a pony who was an angel, Rosie, such a dear, dear little angel. Cried buckets. Even the old man who came to haul Rosie away sobbed when he saw her body covered with rose petals, her head in my lap. And then told me about the pony he'd loved as a child. It was gentle with both. Done out of love and compassion for both.

  9. My thoughts will be with you and Pearl tomorrow. It is never easy to say goodbye. Sorry too about your Daffodil. So many changes for you this week. Stay strong, keep writing it out, and get all the hugs you can.

  10. Goodbye, Pearl, you sweet and blessed creature. Happy journey.

    I love you Mary, and hope you can ease the hurt soon.You ARE doing the right and loving thing.

    Bless all our hearts.

  11. It is a surreal experience, for sure. As my a dear friend once told me, "they [our animals] appreciate it when we help them leave their physical is easier."

  12. I am so sorry that you have to thru this. I had to put my cat down a year ago March and I still miss her terribly!
    big hugs to you and yours!

  13. You know what? Tonight I went to an old bookstore to hear my good friend and writing mentor, Barbara Abercrombie read, along with several others, essays from a book that she edited called "Cherished: 21 Writers on Animals They Have Loved and Lost." I thought about PEARL the entire time I listened to those reading. One of the readers was Bob the Vet (a wonderful man) and he answered questions afterward. One of them was about euthanasia and he brought up the same point that May did: "Before they were domesticated, dogs lived at most two to three years. Their present-day long lives are completely unnatural, really, and they often stay alive for their owners, waiting to die when their owners are ready for them to do so." I thought that was poignant and remarkable, too.

    Bless Pearl and her sweet heart. Bless all of you --

  14. It's sad but it's right. May is so right about this! Even keeping her alive this long is kind of not natural, in terms of wild-life.

    Hugs to everyone x

  15. She knew she was loved. That's all anybody can ask.

    Thinking of you as always.

  16. I posted a little something while thinking of you and Pearl last night. Good luck to Pearl. I think it would be quite nice to stay at home until the end and then become part of all that nature once again.

  17. You and Mr. Moon are wonderful parents to your human children and animal children.
    So many wise words in your comments. My son has a hamster and I have told him a couple times to be prepared that they only live about 2 years. He says it is OK because he knows he is loved and will have had a happy hamster life.
    We have shared what you are doing-- about 6 years ago we made the decision and called a mobile vet to our home. I was not able to be there--and my husband had a shirt of mine that I'd slept in.
    Thanking of all of you.

  18. I am so sorry. I cannot seem to let them go until they absolutely are beyond hope. Timmi has rallied here. We are cooking for him and doing fluids and pills. He is wagging and enjoying his hedgehog toy. All this can change in an instant. Bless Pearl for hanging with life so long. Bless you are loving her. I am thinking of her today.

  19. I love you, Mary. Please hug Mr. Moon for me. I'm so sorry.


  20. I'll be thinking of your family and Pearl today.

  21. I'll see you tonight, if I can get hold of my seesters.

  22. As hard as this is, you truly are doing it out of love and compassion, as "A" said.

    My heart is with you and your family and Pearl.

  23. Mary Moon, you are doing the right and compassionate thing. I speak as one who has been the god-person in that same position for my most beloved old kitty/soul mate Seka and two much-loved old lady dogs in the last few years. It is so difficult to have to make that decision, but as you say, that is one of the responsibilities of being the god-people for a pet of any kind. The grief process is just as profound and ongoing and real as that for a human family member/friend/loved one.

    I love you. Bless you for your compassion and care for precious Pearl.


  24. I dreamed of her all night long. She has been my friend for as long as I can remember, and I have loved her so with my little girl heart until now. It makes me happy that the family will be getting together tonight to talk about her and to eat together.

    Thank you and Daddy for bringing her into our family.

  25. I was good until I read HoneyLuna...damn, damn, damn, now the tears.

    You are doing right by Miss Pearl. Thinking of you this morning.

  26. Ahhh, Mary I'm so sorry. Dear Pearl.

    I wasn't going to cry because I knew what was coming but you got me on the "tap-tapping of her toenails on the floor" Bless you and Mr Moon and bless Pearl xx


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