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Corey's last moments

Corey’s last moments were her choice–her day, her time, her people, including Dr Kim who was the first vet to exam her 14 years prior when she weighed 14 pounds.

Lessons learned from the death of my dog.

I wanted it to be a beautiful, sunny day.  It was a stormy, overcast morning.

I wanted my vet to be there.  He was out of the country on vacation.

I wanted it to happen when life was a bit calmer.  It happened unexpectedly in the middle of a crazy week.

I wanted her to die in her sleep.  We had to make the decision for her.

I wanted it to be in two years.  It was today.

Yes, today my beloved 14-year old golden retriever, Corey left this earth and I learned more about death and dying.  This time the lesson was about me.  Actually, what I learned was that this was not about me.  My wants, my desires were irrelevant in this play.  It was about Corey and her needs.

It’s hard to remember who really matters as we say goodbye to our friends because our pain turns us inward.  However this is a time to let go and not allow our expectations to interfere with the inevitable process.  Getting upset that Corey’s death wasn’t meeting my needs increased my stress and hers.  It was making it harder to share her final day with my family, who also loved her.  It brought tension and frustration into an already difficult process.

So yesterday I gave in to her needs.  She had stopped fighting, so I could as well.  She was at peace, so I could be, too.  As a result, our last night wasn’t my image of what it should be but it was all that Corey wanted.  She sat in the pool for an hour so I couldn’t groom her; she would be beautiful for her last act regardless. She ate four hamburgers, refused to take her medication and chewed a pig’s ear, even though it all might have killed her.  She slept on the bed but didn’t want to cuddle, even though I did.  I wasn’t the director of her last act but everything was as it should be.

Saying goodbye is so very hard but it’s less so if we get out of the way.  Corey picked the day, the location, the actors and the script.  I played my role as best supporting actress, allowing her to own the stage.

Goodbye, Sweet Friend.  I know you are at the Big Dog Show already, dashing between the obedience and agility rings, stealing all the other dogs’ toys in between runs.  I can feel your joy and it brings me great peace.  It was a gift to share your life and love with you.  Thank you.

P.S. Here is Corey’s Veteran’s obedience run 5 weeks ago when we celebrated being in the ring together one more time.  Funny, that too was a stormy, overcast day.  Guess they were Corey’s favorites!