Chasing Inspiration

Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye, Dear Friend

Denali, our dog of almost 14 years, has been quite sick for the last few months with cancer and advancing arthritis in his spine. Today we said a tearful and painful goodbye to our baby. It was time to take him to the vet to have him put to sleep. He hadn't been eating in almost a week, could barely walk due to the arthritis in his spine and yesterday he vomited blood.

Our vet told us that we would know when it was time. He would tell us either by not eating anymore or by stopping his interaction with us. Well, right to the end he continued to interact with us. He kept trying to follow one of us around the house, wanted to be pet or brushed and, if he was sleeping when we happened to leave a room, would seek us out. My little shadow, that was Denali.

So, because nothing we did would entice him to eat and because of the blood incident yesterday, we called the vet today and we let him go. The husband cried. I cried. Denali perked up and decided he wanted treats. I was having second thoughts because he wasn't acting like he wanted to leave us. But it was time. His quality of life had declined and the cancer was starting to do strange things to his body. His fur was falling out in clumps and we couldn't get rid of the dander no matter how we washed him.

I'm at home now, still sad and trying to not cry. My MIL is visiting and I really don't want to break down in front of her. All I think about is my baby, lying on the floor on a blanket at the vet's office, not breathing. He looked so peaceful, reminding me that he's not in pain any more. That he's somewhere playing and running and barking and smiling his sweet puppy smile. And he's happy.

But oh how the house feels empty without him. We got home from the vet and I had to stop myself from expecting to see his sweet doggie face smiling up at me from his pillow by the sliding doors, welcoming me home. I'm going to have many moments like that I'm afraid. I love him so much.

I'm going to miss you deeply and dearly, Denali. You were my first dog, and you were my best friend. And I never told you that enough but somehow you always knew you were loved and you loved us back eagerly and without judgment. Thank you for being mine for the last 14 years. You blessed me in too many ways for me to count. Goodbye, my dear dear friend.

I'll probably post some Denali stories and memories over the coming weeks. When someone, or something, touches your life you grieve when they are gone. Part of the grieving is sharing their stories. Denali's stories just may need to be told so I apologize ahead of time if it becomes boring or monotonous to you, dear reader and friend.

Hug your loved ones today, and include your pets in those hugs if you have any that are near and dear to you. Sometimes life is too damn short.


  1. Naomim that was beautiful. Denali will stay with you in your memories, but not having him with you physically is so hard, I know. Time is what you need, but the best I can do right now if offer an open ear and a big hug.


  2. Thanks, sweetie. You know I'll take you up both on the ear and on the hug. Losing someone you love is hard. Having people around who understand is priceless.

  3. Naomi,

    I am so sorry about your beautiful dog, Denali. I'd love to hear more stories about him. It is heartbreaking to lose a pet.

    Take care,
    Lizzie (from the SEP BB)

  4. Thanks Lizzie. I'll be posting some stories soon. Today is harder than yesterday. Funny how that happens, isn't it?

  5. Oh Naomi, this breaks my heart. He was a beautiful dog; thank you for sharing the photos of him on this post. *hug*

    I am sorry that you are grieving the loss, and know that when you feel well enough to share more photos and stories of Denali's time in the world, I'll meet you at the coffeeshop.

    Denali's spirit shines in these photos...I'm so happy that you two could spend 14 wonderful years together.

  6. Cathy, thank you so much. We'll set a coffee date soon. I've been home all week with a stupid sinus infection/cold. Sucks, I tell you.

  7. Oh I'm so sorry, I lost my childhood cat to cancer and it's so painful especially seeing them sick. Sorry you had to go through this.