The other day I saw a raven. It visited my backyard three times one day, hopping around eating my lettuce and peas. He was very out of place...and it got me thinking. I told Brie, and she said it was a sign. For what? I did some checking of a few online omen dictionaries. One told me that the meaning was dependent of the number of ravens you see. One raven, meant death.
Feeling a little sad and a lot confused, I turned off the computer and went back to watching the big black, ominous bird. The last time it came, it was around for a good 20 minutes. It was windy and the sky was black. The light hit the birds wings in such a way they looked purple. Jack and Sadie caught on and instead of just watching, they barked. The raven left and hasn't been back.
A few weeks ago, we noticed that Sadie wasn't acting herself. She stopped asking for food and wouldn't eat when I gave her some, but was drinking a lot. We also noticed that her belly was swollen. We changed food, thinking that she was just being grumpy and didn't want to eat what she was used to. Nothing worked. She stopped eating all together...and gave up on water. She only moved to go outside, and even then I had to help her up and down the steps.
Last Wednesday, I was extra worried... I spent some time with B and told him that I didn't feel that Sadie was going to be around for long. He decided to come over to say good-bye. My heart leaped, though, because when he opened the back door, she was waiting for him, wagging and happy. Maybe she just wasn't feeling well? Maybe it was too warm for her? Maybe...she's just old...
We did some reading and started rubbing honey into her gums to help her absorb some sugar...and maybe get some strength back. She wouldn't-or couldn't-keep it in. I kept finding puddles of spit and honey on my floor.
Dad was a mess. He was scared and nervous...but somehow found the strength to go and buy some cement, so we could make a cast of sweet Sadie's paws. We mixed the cement up last Friday night. It was hot and humid outside and all Sadie could do was lay and breath. HARD. Her breaths were shallow and forced. We knew that we didn't have much time. She cooperated the best she could having her feet stuck in fresh mud and didn't fight as I washed her toes.
We woke up Saturday morning to find Sadie on my bathroom floor. Still breathing, but in bad shape. Her tongue and gums were yellow and dry, her nose chapped, her eyes clenched shut and she was cold. We called our Vet...but decided that we needed to go to Cottonwood Animal Hospital. She rode in the back with dad. When I picked her up, her head flopped back and her tongue fell out. It was the saddest thing I've ever seen. "Oh, darlin...", was all I could say.
We drove silently, listening to her pant, knowing what was going to happen when we got there.
I took Sadie in, wrapped in a blanket and the sweet nurses ushered us past the crowd (and past the lady in curlers who said, "That looks critical"...) into the back. For a few minutes I was alone with the doctor and got to answer the tough questions the best I could, while trying to hold back tears and keeping my voice steady. "She hasn't been eating....her belly is swollen...he tongue is yellow...she's 15 years old..." Then my dad came in. Crying. The doctor did some checking and tests, "She has tumors in her liver and I believe her spleen has ruptured. She's anemic." I was shaking. "We COULD operate, but I don't believe that will help...and even if it does, she'll have to endure a complete blood transfusion. I don't recommend that we do that...I think..." We all knew why we were there. I think even Sadie knew. They prepped her for an IV and the doctor said, "GET THESE PEOPLE A ROOM!" We couldn't hold our tears back any more.
In our private room, we watched our sweet Sadie on the bench, tongue hanging out, shallow and shallower breaths, limp... We whispered, "thanks for being ours". She, rolled over, reached out (in the same way she chose dad so many years ago at the Human Society) with her front right paw, looked up, smiled and stopped breathing.
She ceased. I ran to get the doctor. She listened to her heart, gave her an injection and said, "She's gone."
Our sweet Sadie died at the Cottonwood Animal Hospital shortly after 11:00 on the morning of Saturday, July 17th. She chose when to leave us...rather than having us make that terrribly hard decision. Her papers said that she was 15 years, 7 months and 16 days old. A long, happy, life.
She's now out back, by the Studio, where she can hear the music that she loved. We have made her a happy space, with rocks and stepping stones and birds.
Poor Jack is lost and so confused. He knew she was in the box we brought home-and was very, VERY unhappy. He doesn't like to be alone, and often goes over to her space, dropping balls on top, or taking one that he left earlier. He is having a hard time sleeping and is barking a lot more. It absolutely breaks my heart.
It's still very sad and has been a very difficult week for the three of us and Jack, but we know that our Sadie is in a much better place right now.
Sade, we'll miss you. Thank you for being ours.