May peace be with you, my dog of love.

One of my great pleasures in life is reading the paper with breakfast. This was particularly so when I was teaching. It is a way to relax and prepare for the day.

Not so today. While getting a report on my hospitalized husband, I was preparing the Wonder Husky for home euthanasia. She ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with sedation added. As a cancer patient, that was pretty much all she enjoyed at that point. I added some chocolate, as she wouldn’t become poisoned from it on her way to the Rainbow Bridge.

While she rested, I read the obituaries. Given the ethnicity of my ancestors, this is what I do first. I dread seeing names I know. Today, there was a former student of mine listed. Jenny was an animal lover and a figure skater. She would come to my cat clinic and observe. A tragic reality check.

Over the last two weeks, Tipper went downhill quickly. Many people are too hasty to send their pets on. I waited until she told us it was time by her glassy eyes and lack of appetite and enjoyment of her daily walk. There is an honor and dignity to hand feeding a beloved, aged pet that is very private and intimate.

It is never easy planning to put down your own pet because you are a veterinarian. I slept with Tipper downstairs last night with a DVD on. It really was quite peaceful. We had a walk in the rain this morning. She enjoyed sniffing the wet grass. We gave the horses good-bye treats before our friend came to release her from this life.

Tipper was only the second dog of our 27-year marriage. Our first Husky lived fourteen years. We got Tipper six months before Keli died. Keli was rejuvenated having a frisky puppy around until her death a week before the Great Flood of 1997.

Tip was a popular dog on our daily run/walks. It is nice to have a beautiful dog because you meet people you ordinarily would not speak to. Dog names are exchanged, but rarely do people give their own names. She also served as protection. Huskies look vicious, but in reality would help a burglar hold his flashlight. Our cats and horses are the guardians of the home.

Tipper would sneak up on the couch to nap when we weren’t home. I’d come home and feel warm upholstery. One time, I decided to see for myself. I crept through the bushes to the window. There she was, sprawled on the couch asleep with the cats. I tapped on the window to get her attention. Busted! By the time I got into the house, not only was she in her crate, she was faking sleep.

Making the final decision is the toughest thing to do. Then comes peace. We honor Tipper’s life, and thank her for being a delightful, loving member of our family. It was totally appropriate that her doctor took her little dog body away in a Porsche 911.  Pax tecum, Tipper. Good-bye, my love.

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