countdown

We found out about the brain tumour on a Friday. Over the weekend I called the people who needed to know (the dog lady; my ex) and mentioned it to the neighbours. By Monday I had made up my mind, so I called the vet to book the final appointment. Pepe was not in immediate distress, so I just asked for the first sunny day… which turned out to be Tuesday, the next day. I called Mark to tell him, but he just wasn’t ready. I asked if he wanted to wait, and he said yes. So I cancelled the appointment.

 
 
Over the next few days Pepe had ups and downs. Sometimes he would eat; other days he would just sleep. I asked Mark if I could make another appointment, and he agreed so I did. This appointment was again on a Tuesday, a week after the first one.

 
 
On the weekend we took Pepe on a nice long walk along the river.

 
 
When we got back we dug a nice big hole under the patio stones in the back yard.

Pepe tried out the hole and approved it.

 
 
Today I came home from work at mid day and we took the dogs out for a sunny walk in the park. Pepe peed on things.

 
 
I took off his harness and he stolidly pressed on and followed me. This was poignant because Pepe runs away and is not bright enough to come when called. Today he was slow and tired enough that for the first time ever I could let him off leash and he could walk around on his own.

 
 
When Pepe got tuckered out we dropped our other dog off at home, picked up a towel and continued to the vet.

 
 
The vet handled everything beautifully and quickly. She reassured us that we were not being premature.

We held and petted Pepe for a few minutes after his heart stopped until we were sure he could not be conscious any more, wrapped him in the towel and carried him home. Mark wanted to bury him right away, but I felt as though he were just sleeping so I insisted we wait until he got cold so that he would feel dead.

 
 
After about an hour I acknowledged that he was cold enough. We put him in the hole.

 
 
I didn’t want dirt to get in his eyes so I put a paper towel over his head. Mark filled the hole halfway with dirt, I used the hose to fill it with water, then Mark filled it in with the rest of the dirt. I put the patio stones back to cover the spot. When the soil settles Mark will reset the patio stones so they are level.

We went into the house to put away his things – collar, winter sweaters, the baby carrier I used to carry him when we went for long walks, his basket. Then we went out to a Mexican restaurant in his honour and came back to no trace of him left in the house.

(No need for sympathies in comments or emails; he had a good life and we’re fine.)

9 Responses to “countdown”

  1. Leanne Says:

    OK, well, no sympathies? I cried. Yes I did.
    And chuckled at the “trying the hole on for size” with the spade behind him. You have a macabre sense of humour and practicality. :D
    And admired the dandelion in his collar on his walkies with out the harness.
    And gazed at him on his blanket looking like he is sleeping, waiting to seem dead instead of drowsy.
    And then scrolled down, and totally burst out in guffaws with tears rolling down my cheeks at the pic of him dead in the hole. Now if he doesn’t look really good and dead there and ready to be buried, I don’t know when he will.

    I appreciate your sharing, and the very detailed countdown. He was a dog who was truly loved and appreciated it and it shows.

    I hope the Mexican food, for Pepe’s sake and yours, was astoundingly excellent and hit the spot.

    Thanks for Sunday. hugs from Leanne and Taotao and Wretched Gretchen, aka Audrey

  2. Susan W. Says:

    He was obviously loved and a happy dog.

    And you did very well for him on his last day. He looked so happy on his walk!

  3. alison Says:

    Leanne,

    Oh, you can cry! I don’t think we ever quite get used to mortality.

    And yes, the Mexican food was astoundingly excellent. We went to Maria Bonita for the first time, and it is now on our list of places to take people who are visiting from out of town.

    Thanks, Susan.

    Yes, Pepe was loved and happy. Now he is no more, but if you come back to Montreal we can go to Maria Bonita together!

  4. Susan W. Says:

    I will come back to Montreal some day! Maria Bonita sounds wonderful. Right now, I have a wonderful old 12 year old dog, a rescue who we took in a year and a half ago. He’s had a rough life. He’s very happy now but has a lot of fear of being abandoned or dumped. Long car rides upset him for the same reason. I’m very loyal to him and don’t want to leave his side. But I miss Montreal! And my local fabric store shut down here in my small town. I haven’t been to a fabric store in OVER A YEAR! OVER A YEAR, I tell you! Not because of the dog; just because I can’t get to one without taking a day trip somewhere. And it just hasn’t been possible.

    Thanks for the invite. You’ll hear from me someday.

  5. Roz Cummins Says:

    Ditto to everything Leanne said. You did right by him in death as well as in life.

  6. vieux bandit Says:

    Y’know, as a rule, I don’t like small dogs. Pepe and Poupoune were the first ones I grew to love through you both. (I can love individual small dogs! Especially those with such personality.) I’m glad you’re okay, and glad to know you find the only comfort there is in such times, to know he had a good life, was loved, and that the love, well… it sure didn’t pass away yesterday. Yesterday, the first time a Tweet made me shed tears. You don’t want sympathies? I feel them anyway. I’m sorry your family needs to adapt to life without him. Oh, I know, all will be fine, but fine without Pepe is just not as fine as fine with Pepe. *sigh* Thank you for sharing: I too find comfort in knowing my pets are buried close to me, and I was there for their final moments. They deserve nothing less, and neither do we.

  7. Vila H. Says:

    In death as in life, you did right by him. Thinking of you both.

  8. char Says:

    What a great tribute.

    Isn’t it great that we as humans can give our pets “a good death”? My last two dogs were rescue dogs and one of them was a great friend…. I feel really good that I gave them good lives and easy peaceful deaths.

  9. Christelle Says:

    You’re strong! I can’t imagine doing that with Happy just yet. Hope all is well with the new dog family! ;)

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