Star came into mine and Hailey's lives as a puppy in 2004 and she brought so much love and entertainment. Because Star symbolized mine and my daughter's new beginning after her dad and I divorced, I decided I would complicate everything and make my daughter Star's mom and I would be grandma. Except my daughter was 6 and people generally refer to the adult as the mom and that really complicated things. Plus, I ended up remarrying so my daughter and Star had the same last name and when I took Star to the vet her last name was different than mine. This complication lasted all the way until we freed her from pain this week. |
Star began having health issues from an early age - starting with surgery after eating something that cut her tummy on the inside. She then had three bladder stone surgeries, two ACL surgeries, a splenectomy, tumor removed from her leg and mouth and yet she lived a life full of princess sass. When she wanted to eat, she stomped her feet, when she wanted to go to bed she moved the blinds so it would make noise and cause me to think she needed to go to the bathroom, but she really wanted to go to bed. She would yell at my husband with just her mouth (like she's mimicking me nagging, telling him to leave or just telling him off), no noise just mouth moving.
When Star was a puppy she liked to play hide and seek with Hailey. Hailey would put a bunch of dog food down on the ground and then hide and have Star seek her out. She actually loved the snow but did not like the rain. I have so many pictures of her enjoying the snow. Before she started having a lot of surgeries, Star would roll on her back and toss her raw hide around and roll on that. When I rested on my side in a fetal position, Star would curl up behind my knees in her fetal position. When she was younger, she would crawl under the covers and pop up in the morning when she thought it was time to get up.
We finally moved to a nice area in 2013 and we took Star for all sorts of adventures - walks to the school where she was with us when we flew a kite, she would go off leash and just run free. We would take her on hikes and often had to put her in a stroller because of her arthritis.
Before Hailey went to college in 2016, Hailey, Star and I would have girls nights where we would watch TV and Star would lay at the foot of the foot rest on Hailey's side and just press her body against Hailey's leg. Star didn't like it when we put the foot rest up or down so we tried to do it when she wasn't around. She didn't like me taking the ironing board out or putting it back (what a good girl trying to keep me from working). She also didn't like the sound of us coughing and sneezing, she would look back with a very annoyed look on her face. She must get her noise sensitivity from me (can a fur baby receive traits from us?)
Today as I'm cutting up fruit for my nutribullet and infused water, I'm reminded of how she would hang out in the kitchen just waiting for me to toss her some apple slices or a strawberry. Because of her bladder stones there cake a time when the doc said not to do it but about three days before we put her to rest, I gave her a couple of apple slices and she did eat them, but not all of them. I remember her getting what we called her "attitude", which I adored in her where she would pretty much demand her slice by stomping her feet and giving a playful growl like she knew that would cut to my heart and I would give her whatever she wanted. She knew how to influence me, no question about it!
Memorial Weekend this year, before Star turned 15, she got out of our gated back yard when it was left opened for a short period of time. Star didn't try to get out of our yard for years, but we knew she was developing dementia and I believe that's what caused her to go on her walkabout. We don't know how long she was gone but we frantically looked all over the house, yard and neighborhood for an hour before a neighbor asked me if I was looking for a white dog because a lady was taking her to a shelter. We were able to track down the shelter she was brought to and we got her safely home, but the fear that I could lose her just struck and it took a week to get over that fear even though we had her back in our arms.
I don't want to overlook the love grandpa (Steve) gave to Star. He nicknamed her fur ball and he never once balked at the idea that she would run our house and that I would recently start to buy her a bed a year just to make sure she had a comfortable bed. She would take up most of the space in our bed at night and she would be a huge priority in my life. It was grandpa who discovered that eating my sugar free gum might be a reason for a trip to the vet and I had no idea that the sugar free ingredient could kill her.
She also has wonderful great grandparents (my parents and step parents) who know her and love her and I am grateful for the love and concern they have shown during this time is grief. My mom is even getting me a stuffed animal made in Star's likeness.
Fast forward to the end of September this year, Star stopped eating and she wouldn't eat her favorite morsels so we tried giving her different food which worked one day and not the next. We watched to make sure she was urinating since she had bladder issues. Turns out, she had a bladder infection, for who knows how long (she had so many of them, I'm not sure we could see the signs since she was urinating and she wasn't licking herself that much). We still don't know if this was the cause of her decline but it got to the point where she wouldn't take her pain pills and she was on so many of them due to her arthritic pain that covered nearly her entire body, the lack of pain meds was causing her to get stiff and she couldn't even stretch. While her blood work didn't show her in the final stages of renal failure, she was in renal failure. Her lack of eating, lack of desire to do anything and no real enjoyment in anything caused me to take her to her doctor for the third time in a week to do a Quality of Life Check Up and her doctor (who would have done anything to keep her alive) said she's in a lot of physical pain and her cognitive issues were making it hard for her too.
October 1 was when we made the appointment - 6 pm. Hailey came down from Ft Collins and Steve was here too. We got pictures and gave her ham, the only thing she would eat on occasion. We got our last picture of her eating ham at 6:19pm and then I carried her to our bedroom where she enjoyed being and I held her as she received the sedative that caused her to relax and she was breathing heavy but already seemed like she was in less pain then she had been the last week. She was in our home and she was peaceful when she took her final breath and we were able to hold her pain free body one last time as we cried in disbelief that it was done and now her body would be carried out in a warm blanket and she looked so peaceful.
The decision to make my fur baby pain free wasn't the hard part. The hard part is knowing I would never be able to hold her after this moment, at least not on this side of heaven. The painful part was knowing I would spend the rest of my life missing her.
God gave me an image, a day dream so to speak that brought me a great deal of comfort, even though it hasn't taken away the hole in my heart. The image was my sweet dog who was full of life, did a back flip as she was running toward Jesus and then she leaped into his arms and they posed for a picture with me and then she walked to get a drink from a fresh, clear and beautiful waterfall and then went off with a brown dog (other animals were ahead of her) in a meadow full of flowers. The odd thing that happened is I saw a FB post last night (this day dream or image happened Wednesday morning on my way to work) where a FB friend's boyfriend posted and tagged her in that post saying how he will miss his best friend Radar, who they put to sleep on October 1st. The picture of Radar looked very similar to the dog I imagined with Star.
I believe that image was a gift from God. Showing me that He has all of His creatures in the palm of His hands, but those creatures He breathed life into who can't make the decision to choose Jesus, get a place in heaven and that's where we will see our beloved furry babies.
Star, your grandma (Candie), your mom (Hailey), grandpa (Steve) and aunt Lauren will see you again one day so please keep Jesus company with all of your other friends and now that you are pain free, Jesus and all the other heaven bound people can rub your belly and scratch your ears without you being in pain.
10/5/2019 Memories keep pouring into my mind and heart. We went camping and she actually did a great job even though she had arthritis. Our family doesn't do camping very well but that time we had a cabin and I'm so glad we brought her.
There was a time when we couldn't find her on a snowy day and of course we panicked believing she was outside. I was in my PJs screaming her name in the snow outside only to discover she had slipped into the master bathroom that had a partially shut door and when she went on she somehow shut the door and we didn't look there at first but eventually she started to cry and that's how we knew. It only took about 15 minutes but what a grueling quarter of an hour. Once again we loved her up and were so happy to see her.
Today my dad sent a slide show tribute to Star and it warmed my heart. He went through FB and found pics plus pulled pics from when we went camping together with Star in Cuchara.
Also, Emery and Kenedie surprised me today, came to my house with a care package of thoughtfulness and they brightened up my night. I'm one blessed person for sure!
I remember that Star wasn't content on our bed until both grandpa and I were in bed and I was under the covers. She would finally relax and go to sleep after the hall light was off and I was under the covers. Star is so smart and she had such a routine. She knew when it was 5pm, dinner time and up until recently when her bladder was a problem, she didn't go potty in the house. She also showed remorse when she snapped at us when she was in pain. She was such a good girl and I miss her terribly!
10/6 I just walked past my dolphin pillow pet reminding me that your last week when you struggled to sleep in our bed, I woke up from you crying for me to be on the floor with you and I saw you sitting on the dolphin pillow just looking at me for help. My heart sank seeing you wanting help but not sure how to get comfortable. I'm so glad you are free from pain but I miss you so much. My heart longs to hear your playful growl! My heart longs to scratch your adorable ears and kiss your nose and cheek and head and just love you up!
Just getting into the pantry makes me think of you. You were losing your hearing but somehow you could hear the pantry door open and you knew you could look at me with those big, brown eyes and I would give you a morsel. The last month you didn't really run to the kitchen when the pantry door opened. I just thought your hearing was bad but I think you were losing interest at that time. I love you Star! I love everything about you!!
10/7/2019 baby girl, it's been a week since we made the choice to free you from your pain and tomorrow, it will be a week when you were in my arms, taking your last breath. Today I got your ashes and your paw print and I thought my heart was going to break in half. I will never get over you even if I learn to adjust. Our home is missing the sassy girl who lit up our house and my heart skips a beat when my brain forgets you're gone and expects you to be peering up when I come home. When I get up in the morning, I don't give you you're five medications and breakfast with your morsels. I don't get to carry you up and downstairs, climbing over two gates. I don't get to be cramped in bed as you take up most of the space. I don't get to put the trash can up on the toilet and these are all things I long to do now that you're gone. I was remembering how you used to climb up behind my neck like a neck pillow when you rode to work with me and when you wanted me to get up in the morning you used to get on my pillow and lay above my head.
I am now wondering how long were you ready to go be with Jesus. You didn't show your pain until the last week but when I think back, I wonder. I remember a vet saying that when you lost interest in chasing after a bunny and when there were more tough days than good, that it would be time. I sure hope you know how much I love you and miss you. Oh gosh the pain is so bad and I just love you so much baby girl!! 🐾🌟💖
10/8/2019 it's been 1 week since you were carried away. Star, I've prayed that God is keeping you entertained until I meet you in heaven. Coming home is the hardest part of my day, with the exception of getting up in the morning and you're not here. Walking into our bedroom expecting you to be in your bed waiting for me to lift you up on our bed only to find that your bed isn't there and neither are you. You brought so much life in our home and with you gone, this flicker of light that once was a star light among us is now in another dimension. I wonder if you can see me from the dimension of heaven. I wonder if you can see my tears as I break apart when I see your picture on the wall which remind me that you are still part of my heart. I'm a bit lost without you and when I'm home I can barely think. Watching videos of you or compiling pictures help me cope. You truly are one of a kind and God is enjoying His creation when He brought you to Him. I love you sweet Star, shine your Star light and be the rock star that you are. I know you are pain free!! 💖🌟🌻
10/10/2019 Star, we got your shadow box with your stamped paw print and hair and the Rainbow Bridge Story and my heart sank. When I locked our garage door, I was reminded of how locking the door alerted you to the fact that I would be carrying you to bed. I don't get to carry you to bed anymore. I loved when I carried you, you sometimes laid your chin on my upper arm or shoulder. You have always been an independent girl and when you were done with getting pet or held, you let me know and I could always tell when someone was annoying you because they didn't understand you like I understand you. I just know, I mean I just knew. I observed you and knew what your body language was telling us and I interpreted it so people would leave you alone when you were done. I'm like that and so is your mama Hailey. I just feel like God crested you specifically for Hailey and I because you really are so similar to us. How can a furry baby be like a human? I don't think you thought your were a dog. I'm pretty sure you thought you were one of us and you were one of us, you were family and you're always on our hearts and I look forward to the day that you can jump in my arms again and tell me all that you've been doing. ❤️🌻💜🌈💖
10/11/2019 just crawling into bed makes me think of you Star. You just weren't content until I was actually under the covers. I believe you thought, if I wasn't under the covers, I might really not be going to bed. The hall light had to be off too and then once my legs were under the covers you would relax and lay on your side. I miss you looking for me and and wanting me to be by your side. I'm missing your sniffing, I'm missing our walks, I'm missing you so much Star! 🌟 💫 ⭐️ It snowed yesterday and even tho you loved the snow, I know it caused you a lot of pain because of your arthritis. I'm so glad you're not in pain. ❤️
10/13/2019 Tonight as I walk up the stairs and don't have gates to hurdle over, I wonder if you ever thought you were a burden because you weren't a burden at all. When you peed on the carpet you felt bad because you were so sweet and didn't want to so the wrong thing. You are just like your mama, Hailey. Star, I would wake up 5 times in the middle of the night all over again and if I knew you were happy and healthy, I would have done everything possible to save you. What if you had a UTI for so long because we didn't know and that's what caused your pain? I had no idea you were suffering and my heart is breaking. What if you could have lived another two years, healthy and happy? Oh my baby girl I miss you!! I miss you so much!!
10/15/2019 tonight at 6:30 it will be two weeks that you will have left our home to live in your forever home with Jesus! I miss you so much and now that it's been two weeks my grief has gone from disbelief to guilt that maybe I didn't spend enough time with you, taking you for granted. I love you so much and my heart aches! 🐾⭐️😢🌈🌻
10/30/2019 Star, the weather here has been so cold and while you loved the snow when you weren't in pain, going outside to the 7 degree weather would have been so hard on your arthritis. Star, I miss you so much! I still can't believe you're gone and my heart still aches. I have surrounded myself with pictures of you, pictures of you on blankets and pillow cases and in frames. I just wish I could hold you! I just want to pet your ears and give you all kinds of kisses. Halloween is coming and even though you wouldn't wear the silly costumes I bought, you loved it when the kids would come to the door. I know you thought every visitor who came to the house, was here to see you, the star of our family! I just can't believe that Friday, it will be one month since I got to hold you in my arms one last time. I love you sweet Star!! Forever!! ❤️🐾😢
12/2/2019 Yesterday it was two months that you've been gone and it's still so surreal. While I'm learning to adjust some and not expecting you to be around the corner, I do miss your company and personality. I've gone from crying several times a day every day to crying a couple of times every other day or so. I think I'm finding some distractions to cope with not having you here but Christmas is going to be tough. We won't have our Star in our family Christmas photo and I'm not sure how I will handle that day we take the picture. On an upbeat note: I sleep with the stuffed animal that was made to look like you. I know it's not you, I haven't gone crazy lol but it does bring me some comfort. I love you sassy girl!! ❤️ 🐾 ❤️
1/16/2020 I can't believe it's been over three months. It's winter and so cold but it hasn't snowed as much as it usually does. I was worried if it wood have been too cold for you but it wouldn't have been. Yet it doesn't matter because you're not here, you're waiting for me to meet you again but I know you're pain free and I know you're making friends! I miss you so much!! ❤️💕
6/5/2020 Star, I've been missing you a lot lately and wishing you were still with us. I miss your love for me and your need for me. We had a need for each other didn't we sweet girl? We've been talking about getting another fur baby, to pour our love onto another sweet baby. This little one will never replace you, but will be added to our family. You are always part of our family and our hearts. I love you so much and wish you could live forever but you are in my heart forever and I know God will reunite is again one day. ❤️💕