Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Goodbye sweet old girl.

I said goodbye to a beloved friend today. For thirteen years she has given love, comfort, companionship, and play. We have hiked up mountains together, and shared a tent in the snow and in the sand many times. She has been a pillow for my tears and happy playmate in good times. A protector of her household of humans, cats, and her buddy Henry. Part lab, part German Shepherd, she was so gentle with little kittens and puppies, but took her job as our family protector seriously. She was not so keen on most other adult dogs, unless they were males with all their dangly bits intact. She was a bit of a slut that way.

She was a mutt named Tika. I got her as a refugee from the Vancouver city pound when she was about 9 months old. She was big, untrained and rambunctious; throwing herself  against me and licking my face when I went to the pound to walk her as a volunteer at the pound. I bought her a condo. Really. When I met her my 11 year old son and I were living in a rental house that did not allow pets. I loved that old house. But I loved Tika more. So I borrowed a down payment from my sister, and bought a pet friendly condo so I could adopt the dog who had stolen my heart. I had never had a dog before. Or more correctly, a dog had never had me before. And she had me. Oh, she had me.

She loved to hike. On future hikes I will always feel her spirit jogging ahead of me down the path,  waiting for me to catch up when I lag. She loved to sing and play with our cat Oliver, and if any of the cats tried to eat from her bowl she would step aside for them. She accepted our new puppy Henry five years ago, a little reluctantly at first. But they became great friends, wrestling, playing, and chasing chipmunks together. Henry will miss her as much as I will.

Cancer finally took her spirit. In the last few weeks her body was here, but her eyes held no life. She was often miserable, could barely walk, and on pills for pain. My heart ached for her. On the weekend we made the decision that it was TIME. We made the fateful vet appointment for today at 4:00. At the vet's, we were shown into a special quiet room. Everyone was so kind. The vet tech put a catheter in Tika's leg vien, then the vet came in and gently explained exactly what would happen, and said we could take as much time as we needed. Finally, I nodded and sobbed "O.K. it's time."  A few seconds later, as I held her, Tikas's head slumped in my arms and it was over.

Goodbye my beloved Tika. A big chunk of my heart went with you today. It will heal, in time. But you will have a place in it forever.