Monthly Archives: August 2014

Sweet Memories

Sweet Memories of Emily

Sweet Memories of Emily

Like myself, Glenn as profound grief, too. He carried and lifted her constantly. Now, his memories are in the gardens. Glenn said that he sees her everywhere as he walks around. Sweet memories will sustain us, Glenn…

Like other Service Dogs, Emily concentrated on me even when she wasn’t ‘officially’ working. I depended my life on her and she loved that. We had all these ‘conversations’ that would make Glenn laugh. Of course, Emily went right along with it all.

“What do you think, Emily, about this flower bed?”
“Get busy, Mom” , she’d say…

Wherever we were, we talked. Emily loved it. The thing that always got me, sometimes ever startling me, was looking at her as I worked inside and out. Emily was staring at me and watching my every move. Her concentration on and dedication to me was unwavering. I mentioned this to Glenn many times. He saw it, too.

Sometimes I’d sing to her, especially when traveling. Once in a while it seemed she was singing Bobby Vinton’s 1960’s song, “I love how you love me.”
I Love How You Love Me
Bobby Vinton

I love how your eyes close
Whenever you kiss me.
And when I’m away from you
I love how you miss me.
I love the way you always
treat me tenderly.
But darlin’ most of all,
I love how you love me

I love how your heart beats
whenever I hold you.
I love how you think of me
without being told to.
I love the way your touch
is always heavenly.
But darlin’ most of all
I love how you love me.

I love the way your touch
is always heavenly.
But darlin’ most of all
I love how you love me.

I love how you hug me
I love how you squeeze me,
tease me, please me
love how you love me

I love how you love me (fade)

I felt that way about her, too. Such was the bond and happiness that we shared.

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A River of Tears-Part 3

Note: This is our experience but parts may be very emotionally upsetting to some.
You can see in the last photo on Aug. 20 in Part 2 that Emily looked very aged. She was weakening more and more. She started not wanting her canned prescription food in the days that followed. It was challenging for us to vary it, heat it, and get her to eat some at least. Emily also needed to have closer and more dishes of her Tramadol, too.
A few times she could not walk in her cart but after a couple of doses and food she was better. I could tell she was near to leaving soon. I spent my time with her and near her as much as I could. Emily slept much more now.
The last night we took our naps about 9 pm. She wanted my hand on her head for a massage and kept nudging it. I put my other arm around her, too, and she napped on my elbow. I awoke at 12 m to Emily curled up with her head under her blanket to block out the light. I didn’t want to wake her and got up for my medicine.
When I came back about 4 am, I put my arm on her and Emily’s heart was beating somewhat fast and hard. It felt uncomfortable so I moved away. When I awoke again, it was 7am or so, and I returned to bed shortly. Then I put my hand on her paw as usual and it was stiff.
My beloved girl had gone to heaven. I got up and went to see all of her and I felt relief and peace. It was over. August 27, 2014
Glenn checked on her, too. After breakfast, we brought her in the garden room and put her on her pad. The other 3 dogs came to say goodbye. Corky and Ginny just lost their mother. They now knew what happened which will help them with their grief.

Later, we took Emily to the vet for private cremation. When the pet cemetery returns the cremains, they will have her paw print, too. The vet said that we did the right things. Having her take increased medicine, doses, and her passing away at home is better. (This is a very personal decision for dog owners and each dog and family is different.)

Many vets do this now-increase medicine and number of doses to have a good quality of life to near the end. It was only about the last 3 days that eating and walking were more difficult for Emily. But she still was able to move about on the pad.

Were we “lucky” to be spared the “decision”? No, because we made it our choice not to take her life but to let God take it back to Him. He made her and gave her life. He gave Emily as a precious gift to us for 12 of 15 years.

A river of tears still flows but I’ll see her again in heaven. She’ll be young again and we will be, too.
Run free, my beloved Emily. Auf wiedersehen!

Emily in 2008. This is one of my favorite pictures. She is beautiful and her sable-colored head shines in the light. It was colored sable to the roots unlike Corky's red. His and Ginny's changes to black near the roots.

Emily in 2008. This is one of my favorite pictures. She is beautiful and her sable-colored head shines in the light. It was colored sable to the roots unlike Corky’s red. His and Ginny’s changes to black near the roots.

Grief Began a Year Ago-Part 2

Cont. from Part 1

The cart and experiences I posted here previously. Things were on a plateau once we developed a system. Emily did what she had to but seemed to enjoy the change of pace in getting outside in the cart. She did fairly well until June of this year. At that time, in mid-June, Emily seemed to deteriorate.
I started becoming more and more distraught and cried long hours and days, mostly away from her. I didn’t want to upset her but I think she knew. We took evening naps together and I massaged her head and back. She loved it.

I would take the back of my hand and caress her muzzle from her nose and backwards. She would immediately fall asleep. Emily seemed to tire more and more and wanted to go back to bed earlier. She loved my bed, with the deep mattress and pillow-top, the best. Glenn would put her there at 12m.
By mid-July I was extremely distraught. We talked about the “putting down”. I said that I couldn’t or wouldn’t take her life. Glenn agreed as he wanted her to stay. Since our fax was down, we took Emily with us to talk to our vet but the vet was out. That following Mon. or Tues. was our appt. to discuss Emily’s condition and for me to talk the vet about what I believed.

I told the vet that I wouldn’t and couldn’t take Emily’s life because God gave her that life. It was God who had to take it to Him. It was our job to take care of and do our best for Emily. The vet gave her stronger Rimadayl and found pop-up sores on her abdomen. These were from Emily wanting to be in one position. The antibiotic cleared that up by the beginning of August, and I had to bath or clean her daily, and be sure she kept dry.

This was very difficult as Emily would roll off the pad in the garden room a lot if not comfortable. (We cut a couple of pads from a memory foam, mattress pad that I no longer used. It was covered and then a cut-up rubber sheet, with fleece, used for cribs, was on top.)

It was challenging to keep her position moved all day when not using the cart for potty. Still, I kept reading vet’s articles on the End of Life, etc. online and thinking of the quality-of-life-dilemma. The decisions were not easy. I prayed with Emily each night.

Should I intervene now? I won’t and can’t. God made her and surely He knows if she is suffering. He has everything under control, I thought. So, by mid-August, after my prayers, the answer came as,” Wait patiently for God to act.” Of course, what was I doing trying to hurry this along! We continued Emily’s care and waited.

Cont. in Part 3

Cory and Emily Aug 20,2014. It was Corky's 13th birthday.

Cory and Emily Aug 20,2014. It was Corky’s 13th birthday.

IMG_0433

Grief Began a Year Ago-Part 1

Emily was my Service Dog, Hearing Ear Dog, for many years. It’s a job she loved and dedicated her life to. A former show dog, with a perfect temperament, she was also the Alpha of the pack here. But her job was Service to me.

Many people don’t know that Service Dogs are not pets. The bond is different and deeper; it’s more profound. I had to initially learn to trust her judgment on every sound. She had to be and come with me nearly everywhere. She and I were “In Training” (had a patch on her vest with that) for 2 years.

I knew we were ready after she saved my life in a parking lot, when a car came unseen from my left from around a curve. I looked and stepped out but Emily held back. If I didn’t follow that, I would have been hit from a fast-moving car. I never went ahead after that without looking at her.

Emily woke me up by pawing me or pushing me. Sometimes I’d try to ignore her and roll over but she was relentless. We traveled everywhere together and she loved to ride. Our song, at which she’d bark and bark to get in the car or truck:
“Emily go for ridey, ridey, ridey
I’m a traveling girl,
I’m traveling with you.
Emily go for ridey, ridey, ridey…”

She liked the truck better. Vacations with her were the most enjoyable for both of us. She would alert me to hotel doors for food service or the bellman coming. I never again had to leave my door open and sit by it. Restaurants were wonderful as Emily would lie down immovable at my feet despite the overwhelming food smell. Staffers were amazed.

In doctors’ offices, she perfected her own behavior and remained in position, lying down until the exam was over. Church services she loved. On Easter in 2010, I noted at church that she started limping in the rear. A subsequent vet exam, etc. revealed disk disease and arthritis.

At another church service later, I got up and went to the altar rail for communion, leaving her at my front pew. I thought she would be okay to rest her back. Emily got up and started searching for me as she was upset that I was missing. I was only about 15-feet away but that was not the point. I never again committed this error to second-guess her job.

So, you can get an idea of the deep bond we had over years. In August 2013 is when Emily could no longer walk and perform her job. It depressed us both. She still had to be by my side every second but couldn’t walk with me. I have a walker and she had to be in a dog stroller until we got her a cart about Oct. 2013. We could no longer travel and she was somewhat depressed about it. But Emily never complained though she’d get anxious and search for me out of my presence.

Cont. In Part 2

Ginny and Emily in 2013

Ginny and Emily in 2013