by Helen Kathleen Ragsdale Wimmer
February 21, 2021. At 12 years old and after two years of chronic collapsing trachea and congestive heart failure, the night spent together with panting and no sleep became morning. I picked Febe up and carried her to the pee pad and was startled and alarmed when she didnt stand but rolled over on to her side. A stabbing pain filled my heart and mind, that dreadful thought that never was far away, “is this going to be IT, is this going to be THAT time”. She didnt show signs of pain but in the next hour she lost control of bladder and bowel control. I will never know why i did this but i bathed her so gently, telling her how very much i loved her, over and over telling her “good good girl”, in my mind knowing this WAS that time, yet maintaining a calmness i didnt recognize or ever possess, knowing how embarrassed she would be to be seen with poop or pee on her, she just loved looking beautiful after bathing, her stunning long white hair. In the next hour she began crying in obvious pain, i dont know from where it came but i called the vet and told them i was bringing her in and it was a time when you were told to call from the parking lot and they would call you back when the vet could see you. I held her, talked and sang to her, played her favorite meowing kittens videos on utube, and she continued to cry in pain, a part cry, whimper, groan, growl that caused the people in nearby parked cars also waiting to see the vet to stare and become silent, i am sure recognizing her cries were not going to be fixed by the vet and feeling probably grateful they werent coming from their pet. We are inside now, she is taken from me and then brought back, teling me they gave her pain medication, i am shown a binder with urns, handed an invoice to pay, she is in my arms, draped across my middle, her head and face are staring down at the floor. I have the required mask on my face and she is injected with the first of two shots, the first is sedating. She asks if i am ready and a voice i dont recognize nor can believe answered, yes, please hurry and end her pain. She gives her the shot and Febe suddenly not only turns her body upwards to face me but picks UP her head towards my face as if she wanted to whisper something to me that causes me to instinctively pull down the mask on my face as if to ask “what do you want to say?” And she kisses me on the mouth then her head falls back down facing the floor. Kisses on the mouth were not something we did, her usual kisses were her tongue somehow up my nose, everybody always laughed as they avoided her kisses too, referring to her tongue up the nose as brain raping. In the most loving way, returning her nose kiss attempts with loving kisses on top of her head or cheeks, my lack of her good dental care produced an awful bad breath that i will feel guilty about forever. She then got the second and final shot. For some reason i watched above her wondering if i would see her spirit rising above her but saw nothing. In that moment i suddenly felt a very very hotness that began with my feet and traveled up my body stopping at my chest. As this heat traveled up my body i was surrounded and enveloped in a cloud that permeated every pore of me with peacefulness and calmness, a knowledge that everything was good, everything was fine, and the words “i am with you, i am with you, hey, i am here with you” were in my head, speaking to me over and over until i somehow paid full attention and acknowledged and accepted that i received and believed the words were real and true because my first reaction was to of course totally question my mental status at such an emotional time and knowing my need to escape the pain was huge, i possibly was imagining everything presently transpiring, possibly having a breakdown of some kind, those things i had read about, the things that the mind has the power to do when faced with the inability to cope or accept reality. So, with these thoughts of reasoning i am trying to allow to take over and put in charge, the words “hey, listen to ME MOM, I AM HERE WITH YOU, PAY ATTENTION TO ME”, would not stop until i accepted and believed them to be true. If tou dont have a nMaltese you cant know how they can be so Stubborn and refuse to be ignored. When Febe wanted me to hold her, which was all the time, and i was busy and told her “in a minute” she would stand at my feet and fake sneeze over and over until i picked her up. How i would give anything and everything to hold her again. She was with me thru many times of crisis of all kinds, i am a widow now but she was witness to, alot, holding her and burying my face in her hair, the smell of her, produced calmness in me, gave me sanity, just the smell of her, no medication, no doctor, no counseling, no prayers, no person or support ever in my life and that includes childhood had that effect on me, it wasnt something i asked for, it wasnt something i needed or searched for, it wasnt an emptiness i felt, it was just the very Smell of her, the look in her eyes every time she looked at me, the wiggle and hop in her when she saw me even if i was out of her sight for a few minutes, it was the gift of her final kiss, i have not been the same person without her, the loss is so deep that i would gladly have given my arms or legs with no struggles, no disrespect to anybody who has lost limbs or the struggles they have, no disrespect to anybody dying from an incurable disease, no disrespect to a parent who has lost a child, my loss is nothing in comparison, i should be able to cope with this, i should be grateful for my experience as she died, and i truly am grateful for the gift, there are others not as fortunate as me, others who loved their pet just as much, affected just as deeply, lives that were changed forever too, i dont selfishly feel sorry for just me, i just wonder how in the world do i stop missing her so much. How do i walk into a room and not wish she was sitting there waiting for me to say “hi baby girl!” I have her sister, a Yorkie, and i love her. Maybe the answer is yes, you will always miss her. Yes, the loss will always be deep. Yes, it is a struggle some days. I so long for the day when the memory of a happy time, a funny thing she did that made me laugh, remembering even how stinky her farts could be, how much she loved beef jerky, how much she loved visitors, remembering how i had to go outside and ring the doorbell to get her to bark because when i couldnt find her she never come when i called her name, how much she loved hanging her head out the car window feeling the air in her face, how she got so excited in the drivethru at Walgreens because they gave her a dog treat, how she loved me, always always loved me. Of course, yes, who would not miss this. I love you Febe, forever. Thank you baby girl for the sweetest kiss i have ever known, i do believe you are here in me. I have to tell a funny story since i have babbled on and on. I will make it short. My adult granddaughter smokes marijuana. I am not happy about it and she secretly crunched up half a cookie with marijuana in it and mixed it into a cup of icecream, presented it to me for which i thanked her. When i finished eating it i had to be assisted to bed which she found funny and i was not happy. As i laid in bed i assume experiencing the “high”, the image of Febe appeared, not really appeared, actually she was in front of me and we were in this field of green grass and she says “Hi Mom!! I cant stay long, see my friends over there? They are waiting for me! But Mom, i had to show you…look at me junp! Look at me run! I can breathe Mom! I can do anything i want! What i want the most though is for you to stop crying. I want you to stop being sad. We are going to be together again. I have to go now Mom. I love you!! Bye, love you, miss you!”. Gone, just as fast as she appeared, gone. It was so real. If anybody told me this story i would not believe that story, i would tell you to find a psych, i would think you have lost touch with reality possibly, i would maybe tell your adult child the story in case they questioned your mental status, i dont know…..seem to function normal in other areas of my life……i suppose the fact that life does go on is the important thing to hang on to, for those of us lucky enough to have a choice in the quality of that life, because many dont have a choice, i should be practicing an attitude of gratitude, focus on what could be instead of so stuck on what was. In closing i have to jokingly say marijuana is a mystery to me! Please dont use my experience as a reason for anybody to try it, i dont ever plan on it happening again to me and have made that very clear to that granddaughter! I wsh i knew how to have the type place apostrophes where needed, apologize! Capital i would be appreciated too, aologize!