This page is dedicated to the memory of animals who have left us. These eulogies show how important animals are in our lives, often teaching us profound lessons. We would love for you to share your experiences with us.
Joshua came here eighteen years ago,his eyes not yet open,the only one in his litter to have survived being thrown into a trash dumpster. Despite having me as his surrogate "mom", he soon began to thrive, enjoying each moment in his new life.
Joshua was always the first to greet me from the kitchen counter -- his favorite spot. Up until minutes before his death, he was in his usual place as I came through the front door. And if I was gone too long in his opinion, his gravelly voice would always let me know of his displeasure. But this strong, beneveolent head of the pride never held it against me. Magnificent in stature, a large cat, his gold American Shorthair swirls were breathtaking against his jet black fur.
Quite a while ago, Joshua suffered a major stroke. There wasn't anything the vet could do. My instructions were to simply keep him comfortable for the days, maybe weeks he was expected to live until another stroke would take his life. Joshua's will to survive kept him happily going for well over a year and a half.
Just as he had done as a kitten, Joshua fought to live. He adjusted to his ailment and up until the day before he died, he was a happy guy -- jumping off the counter, walking through the house screaming for food, or jumping into the sink to lap water from the faucet rather than drinking from the bowl not one foot away. He loved his big, bay window, baking in the sun or watching over the valley below.
It was difficult to watch him age, but I was happy to give him whatever he needed. It was the least I could do for eighteen years of joy, companionship and happiness he had given me. Even with his failing body, he was there to greet me when I came home today. Within five minutes after he enjoyed what I did not know would be his final ear and face rub, Joshua died, naturally, just inches away from the same spot where he had greeted me for so many years. Joshua will be terribly missed -- his post welcoming me home now painfully empty.
I think about all the animals with their horrible stories who have come through these doors to begin life anew, none were as"broken" as Captain Jack. He made such tremendous progress and that's what I'll remember about him. I would be mad and laughing at the same time when he would stretch his legs and paw at the canisters of dog food until he was able to pull them off the counter and work the lids open. No other dog had ever acheived that degree of "theivery". Watching him bounce with tail wagging, excited that dinner time was near. Watching him change from wincing when being petted to coming over and asking for attention. Watching him lope behind the other dogs running in his huge yard, finally having the freedom to run. Learning how to take a treat, his tongue darting in and out as far and fast as he could to see if he could steal food off my plate. Crawling into anyone''s lap at night, not for attention, but because he had every intention of pushing you out of the chair he chose to use as his bed.
With me at his side, Captain Jack left this world of his own accord. If only I had known him before he was so badly abused. Perfect confirmation, high extended trot, regal stand, he could have become a grand champion. I wish I could have had more time with him, but it wasn't to be. Less than a year before, he needed a home and I needed a project. I honestly can't tell you who helped who more.
Although healing in nature, eulogies are always difficult to write. When one so special as Sally leaves so suddenly, it makes the task that much harder. But, with my permission, Sally left on her new journey just thirty two days shy of her thirteenth birthday.
Sally's exuberance would nearly cost her her life. In her first home, she was uncontrollable, finally escaping to be hit by a car, her hip and ribs fractured. She found her way to me before being sent to the shelter for her bad behavior, problems that were easily solved. But stealing a bottle of advil off the back of the counter almost sent her to heaven, but three days in the hospital returned her to good health.
The behavioral problems I encountered with Sally were attributed as much to her intelligence as to her exuberance. Being a mixed breed labrador/pointer, I liked to say that she got the best attributes of each breed. As wild as she could be, she had a soft, quiet side. When content, she was just as happy to lay at my feet, or spend the whole night laying quietly on the bed.
Sally was a very special dog. She loved people, appreciated even the slightest bit of attention and loved to go for rides and new adventures. But her life would suddenly end. Sally was her same exuberant self only hours before she crashed. We were still at the hospital waiting for an untra-sound if we could find anything that would explain her sudden bouts of illness before returning back to normal health. It wasn't to be. Re-testing her blood showed a 25% decrease in blood volume since we had arrived indicating we were looking at hemangiosarcoma. An ultra-sound would give us a better picture. At this point, Sally seemed relaxed and comfortable. Only minutes later I noticed another change. She seemed too relaxed. I called her name and she didn't respond. Her pupils were fixed and dialated. I picked up her head and looked beyond her glassy stare. The spark, the essence of life had already left her body. And with me lying at her side, we gave her the medication to send her on her final journey.
Sally's death mirrored her life. She left this world with speed and determination, but with grace and gentility. Even still, she will be very, very much missed. May your new adventure, Sally, bring you as much joy as you gave me.
Why is it that the good die young? Just three weeks earlier, Coti was a happy and apparantly healthy cat. But things would drastically change and the vet couldn't figure out what was wrong. An ultra-sound finally supplied the answer. Coti had aggressive lymphosarcoma with her lymph nodes, intenstines and liver all involved. There was no hope, no treatment that could save her.
I remember the first time I saw her as a kitten, her hair went in every direction giving her a frumpy look. No one assumed that Coti would turn into an incredibly beautiful cat with lush, soft, silky fur, always in perfect place. Shortly after we started our lives together, I got a call from the shelter telling me that her littermate had died of FIV and to get her tested. They wanted me to return her, but I knew that it meant her euthanasia. We had a few minor bouts of illness from the FIV, but she survived each one and eventually shed the virus from her body.
From my perspective, Coti was the perfect cat. Friendly and expressive, you could always tell what she was up to. You just had to call out her name and she'd return your greeting, something she performed to her very last day.
The disease consumed Coti very quickly who had stopped eating and getting weaker each day. For her final two days, she lived in my arms, purring contently from the attention I gave her and making it clear that she didn't want me to stop. FInally, I looked into her eyes and knew she was ready. Coti would give me one final gift. Only hours before her scheduled euthanasia, she died naturally removing all the dread I felt knowing I was taking what little time she had left away from her.
Coti has gone home now. The world is a sadder place without her friendly "meows".
I never knew whether Benson had good luck or bad. He came here in 2002 as a young adult for recuperation after being hit by a car. Once out of shock, he recuperated well from fractures of the hips and ribs. Three years ago, left neglected by a vet where he should have been treated for bloat, he suffered a gastric torsion, endured an 80 mile drive to the next nearest facility and against all odds, survived that ordeal as well. We were elated just two months ago when either the tumor in his spleen or pieces of a dog toy he had eaten could have ruptured at any time. We had also started alternative cancer therapy in the hope that it could extend his life that much more. During his recuperation, he had a lot of good times, but had a cyclical pattern. Up until the day before he died, he has started to improve so much that I had made an appointment with a neurologist to see if we could get to the bottom of his esophageal issues. But, it wasn't to be. After eating most of his dinner and snapping at the other dogs who were simply walking by, he stood up, walked unsteadily for about 10 feet before collapsing. I had seen this before-- end stage hemangiosarcoma. The following afternoon we took our final ride together, an activity he always enjoyed. Any doubt I had about my decision to help Benson leave his body were quickly removed when he left before the euthanol had been completely injected.
Part St. Bernard/Golden/Chow, he was surprisingly gentle in nature with people. He did rule the pack with an iron paw. Everyone who met him (except the vet who wanted him dead) could see his gentle nature and gravitated toward him which made him a superb pet-assisted therapy dog.
He did have his quirks, petrified of thunderstorms and hearing a cellphone beep that the battery was low would set him into a panic. He loved to howl, the best "howler" I've ever had and just wanted to be around. He'd follow me everywhere, just to be near, loving any attention he got, but never asking for it. He loved his stuffed toys and had this head waving gesture that always made me laugh. His favorite time was bedtime where he would lay at the side of the bed as if to protect me in my sleep. We sometimes had our problems since he was the same color as the carpet!
As devastating as his loss has been, I can't help but think how blessed I was to have such a special soul in my life for so many years. Benson will be terribly missed.