We said goodbye to Devo last week. She was blessedly clear that she was ready. Her eye was getting worse, and her docs felt that there was a mass growing behind her eye. They offered a CT scan and even eye removal by surgery. We were pondering this crossroad when Devo made the decision for herself – she started hiding in the basement. Then she stopped eating, felt nauseous. She thumped her tail when we visited her, but she wanted to be alone, low, in a small space. When she was visibly jaundiced, we knew.
Her last two nights she had a hard time getting comfortable. I slept on the couch and listened to her hop back and forth around the room. We had a cold snap, and all she wanted was to drink icy cold water from the birdbath outside.
On her last morning, she woke up before the dawn and hopped outside to drink. She was so tired, she lay down on the deck and didn’t want to go back in. We watched the sky grow lighter together, her covered up in my puffer jacket.
To our surprise, it felt best to take Devo to her holistic vet for the euthanasia, rather than have him come to our home (which bless his heart he would have gladly done). It was a 30 minute drive and I sang to her the whole way there. At one point, she popped up and gave me a gentle and loving look in the rear view mirror, resting her chin on the seat back like she has done on probably every drive we’ve ever taken together. I will treasure that sweet gaze forever.
Her actual passing, I will keep between us. It was gentle and lovingly done. After she died, the weather turned warm and the sun came out. I feel her with us, strongly.
Devo loved being alive. She was a joyful and liberated presence. She loved using her dog body to play and roam the wild. She was so capable and competent, independent (sometimes to my annoyance). We were more free and wild because of her. I regret the times I felt frustrated with her, or tried to control. I think those lessons are a part of her final gift to me.
Here is a poem I like to share when someone loses an animal love. For the first time, that person is me. I like to change the hims to her when I read it these days.
Bazougey by Mary Oliver
Where goes he now, that dark little dog
who used to come down the road barking and shining?
He’s gone now, from the world of particulars,
the singular, the visible.
So, that deepest sting: sorrow. Still,
is he gone from us entirely, or is he
a part of that other world, everywhere?
Come with me into the woods where spring is
advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one
of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.
See how the violets are opening, and the leaves
unfolding, the streams gleaming and the birds
singing. What does it make you think of?
His shining curls, his honest eyes, his
Safe travels, Devo <3