Kelly's Dog Blog — And Then There Were Four

Losing Olive

January 19, 2019
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We have four dogs that still need our love and care. I keep repeating this mantra, but the wound is still too fresh for it to really sink in. Up until 10:30 a.m. last Wednesday, we had five. 

Early that morning as I was watching CNN before work, Olive, who was up with me with her usual hacking and wheezing, paused for a moment and looked at me with pleading eyes as if to say, “Mom, please get me out of this.” I leaned forward and said, “Dr. Sondra is coming later this morning, sweet girl. I know you’re ready. Just hang in there.”

Hours later we let Olive transition out of our lives with the same dignity as Wrigley had a few months before. Dr. Sondra from Compassionate Heart came to the house to administer the shots that would put her forever out of her pain and discomfort. As with Wrigley, I stayed with Olive while Chuck remained upstairs with our other dogs. 

As I cuddled Olive on the chaise lounge in our living room as she took her last breaths, I took solace in knowing that it was my touch, my scent, my face and my voice that were her last connections before peacefully passing away. Fighting tears, I kept smiling, and I kept my voice cheery and loving. When alive and well, our dogs are sad when we are sad, and I didn’t want that to be her last image of me. 

As with Wrigley, our other dogs and Chuck came downstairs afterwards and said their goodbyes in their own way. Closure — or so I thought, but over the past few days, Griffin and Maggie, who knew Olive the longest, have been particularly needy and guarded. 

I have had mixed emotions since Olive died: 

Sadness, mostly, as she was only ten and would have had plenty of years left if it hadn’t been for her heart condition (her Boston sister Trudy, who was much bigger, lived to be 15). Sadness, because she was such a prominent character in our house, with her quirky habit of sitting on our other dogs, and her piss and vinegar sass. (Out of the ten dogs we've had, she is the only one to have been sprayed by a skunk — and she recovered like a boss.) Sadness that after 17 years, there are no more Bostons in the house. 

Pride, since she was diagnosed over a year ago and only expected to live another 6-12 months, we did all we could do, no matter the cost, to keep her comfortable and thriving. Pride that we let her go out with the dignity she deserved in the comfort of her own home. 

Relief, now that she is out of her pain and we don’t have to see her suffer anymore. Relief that we can also get back to our own lives without multiple trips to the vet and to Costco for the seven different meds she was on. 

The support I have received since posting the news on Facebook has been phenomenal. “You are the best dog parents ever,” “Olive had the best life…,” and many other words of encouragement have helped me slowly heal. 

We will receive Olive’s ashes sometime next week. We will tuck the cedar box away with her collar and keepsake paw print along with the other cedar boxes of past dogs. 

Meanwhile, we have four dogs that still need our love and care. After all, we are “the best dog parents ever.”