Sadly, I have to report that Shelby, the pro-zombie cocker spaniel passed peacefully a few minutes ago at the Avon Pet Hospital. I was honoured to be with him when he slipped peacefully from this life and into the next.
This is being written from behind a veil of tears and in a state of an odd mixture of profound grief, and, at the same time, joy for a friend who has found peace.
When you are born, you cry and the world rejoices. When you die, you rejoice, and the world cries. -Buddhist Proverb
Those of you who need to know what happened already know and I’m not going to get into that here except to say from the time I made the decision last evening, to the vacillating back and forth wondering if it was the right decision. I didn’t get much sleep and there were many, many tears.
This morning I went out to clean off the car before taking Shel to the vet, I stopped before going back inside to collect myself. When I was medic I always tried to treat the whole patient, not just the symptoms. When I remembered this a peace came over me and I knew then that I had made the right decision.
Dr. Mall and Vanessa were fantastic. The good doctor has seen Shelby several times and knows that I love him and how hard the decision was. We talked, she explained to me what was going to happen.
Her compassion is amazing and Shelby and I were truly lucky to have her at this extremely difficult time.
While we waited for the sedative to take effect Shelby lay peacefully under my hand. Tail wagging a bit.
The last sound he made was probably the best for me. Peaceful snoring.
I remember when I first met Shelby back in 1997 in Cold Lake Alberta. V had talked about getting a dog, and as I was about to leave for a month didn’t want to be alone (as cats are not as good company as dogs to dog people).
We stopped by the pound and they had one dog. A sad little cocker spaniel someone had found wandering the roads near the base. He had cherry eye which was, admittedly hard to look at, but that was fixable. We took him for a stroll around the yard and we bonded almost immediately. When we got home I took him for a walk to spend some time with him as I was leaving the next day. He trotted along this old dirt road, he kept looking back to make sure I was still there.
He was an enthusiastic, exuberant part of our family. Always wanting to be in the middle of things, when we went to bed we’d have to throw a ball down the stairs for him to fetch so we could get under the covers. He loved running in the woods behind our house. I’d get home from work and take him out back. He was a smart dog and knew that if I didn’t clip his rope on that we were going, but he’d still jump off the steps and tense, look back at me, and when I pointed he’d be off like a bullet (often stealing the neighbour’s dog’s ball in the process)
He’s been a constant companion to me, and the tears I shed, and the grief I feel are not for him, but for me. There is hole in my heart and the silence in the apartment is devastating. But that will pass.
There have been dark times in my past, and Shelby has been my rock through all that. Unconditional love, and someone who relied on me.
It is because of him that I am still here.
It hurts now, and will for a day or two, but I will be fine. Eventually when I look at Shelby’s pictures I will smile, and sometimes, yes I will shed a tear.
And really when you think of it, its really so little grief in exchange for so much joy. This is one of my favorite South Park clip:
I am going to spend the day cleaning up Shelby’s stuff, and what remains of the accidents he had last night that I didn’t catch.
I miss him…and I feel very alone right now….but that’s okay, I’ll survive. I’ve asked that his ashes be returned, and they will have a place of honour on my mantle. I have a week to paint it.
Fairwinds and a following seal old friend. You’ve been a great, good-natured dog. I do not worry for your after-life. I love you, and I miss you.
Last night he didn’t want to leave the office for the bedroom, so I stayed here with him and went hunting through my computer for pictures. I thought I’d share: