Sunday, January 22, 2012
The veterinarian and the vet tech knocked on our door in the early evening. They had been delayed due to an emergency case that came in just before the vet office closed. They were subdued and gentle with our fragile hearts.
We led them into the family room where Sheila lay curled on the new hot pink shag carpet. She looked confused and tentatively wagged her tail at the visitors. Archie (our three legged beagle) was outside on the deck, pushing his paws into the windows and baroo-ing to be let in.
The doctor explained to us what would happen as the vet tech rubbed Sheila's ears. I left the room to get handfuls of tissues. The vet tech told us they would probably cry too and we all laughed at our impending sorrow. The doctor got out her syringe and began to unwind the neon green bandages that secured the IV catheter to Sheila's leg.
It happened just like the doctor told us it would. The first shot made her sleepy. I held her head and whispered to her what a good dog she was. What a beautiful girl, what a gentle girl, good girl, sweet baby...
She looked at us and YAWNED mightily, then put her head down. The second shot worked quickly; we stroked her fur as her heart slowed, then stopped altogether. The doctor and the vet tech left us alone with her for a few minutes after it was over. As soon as the door to the family room closed we sobbed and sobbed over her tiny body, still warm to touch.
The vet tech let Archie inside and he came to sniff his friend. He figured out pretty quickly what happened and moved on to getting elaborate pets from everyone in the room. We told a few stories from Sheila's life, thanked the doctor and the vet tech profusely and ushered them out the door. They took Sheila with them and promised to call us when her ashes were ready to be picked up.
We left to get the kids from my parents' house a few minutes later. They were giggly and happy. Miss A asked "How is Sheila?" and we told her Sheila had died.
We let the kids stay up late watching "Project Runway All Stars" hopeful that Mondo and Austin Scarlett might ease their sadness. It didn't work; Miss A cried for hours past her bedtime until she was too drained to stay awake any longer.
The next day we moved slowly through our routine. Sweet Bubs told Miss A that he thinks that when a dog gets to heaven God looks at it really closely and then makes a cloud that looks exactly like that dog.
The kids searched the skies all weekend long, trying to find the Sheila cloud.