This morning, the compassionate Kelley Ann Cole Stanko, DVM, with Underhill Animal Hospital, Orlando, helped another of my pets cross the Rainbow Bridge.
Little Girl was a stray dog
that came to my home a year ago. She was so very skinny, with a collar but no tag, and very elderly. I hoped she was microchipped so charges could be brought against her owner for negligence, but she wasn't.
For the first few days she slept on a soft folded blanket alongside my bed but then probably saw how much time I spend at my computer on the dining room table and decided to begin sleeping on a blanket next to me.
She responded quickly to the love and attention lavished on her
and had a jaunty pep to her walk when I called her in from the back yard, as if she looked forward to seeing me as much as I did her.
But over the past few months and particularly the last week the arthritis she had in her rear hips became progressively too much for her to handle.
She needed me to lift up her back hips and walk with her until she got her legs going. She never barked or whined in pain but did whimper when she messed herself and the floor because her legs had given out on her, as if she was embarrassed. I would clean her and the floor and hug and talk with her.
I drew strength from supportive advice from friends and realized Little Girl must be hurting. It turns out she had a cancerous tumor in her stomach that was making her dehydrated, even though she drank lots of water and ate well, and was sapping her energy.
Last night when she was able to slowly lower herself to the floor Little Girl laid her head on one of my feet as if telling me her time was nearing an end. I gave her a warm bath and talked softly to her.
This morning as she lay on the examination table she seemed tired. She lifted her head and looked at me then put her head back onto the table. I petted her and talked to her telling her how much I loved her and how much I enjoyed having her in my life. I kissed her on her nose
and Doctor Stanko, almost crying herself, made the final injections and my precious Little Girl drifted off to sleep, headed across the Rainbow Bridge to meet other pets and play, without pain and, I hope, with the same fond memories I have of our short time together.