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Farewell My Princess

December 30, 2011 | 21 Comments

Today is the saddest, most depressing day of my life for as long as I can remember.  We released Jewels’ spirit this morning.  I’ve been crying almost constantly since.  The heartbreak is much more intense than I imagined.  My beautiful girl is no longer around and my heart hurts so badly.

The last two days for Jewels were very difficult.  Standing up was becoming almost impossible for her.  She could never really rest or be comfortable because the side affects of the steroids were causing her to pant so excessively and her heart to beat so fast.  It was like she was running all day without going anywhere.  It seemed worse at night because I would wake up to go to her and lay down with her to try to comfort her and calm her down so she could sleep.  But I don’t think she really slept much in the last few weeks.  She was eating and drinking very well, but I believe that was just another side affect of the steroids.  Before she got sick she was never a big eater, then all of a sudden while on steroids she had a voracious appetite.  It just wasn’t like her; so I didn’t think eating and drinking was truly a good measure of quality of life for Jewels.  The steroids did effectively decrease the inflammation in her lungs because she did not cough too much.  However, the steroids did not decrease the swelling in her paws and legs enough to take away the discomfort.  Apparently her lymphatic system couldn’t “keep up” with draining out the fluids in her limbs and combined with the lack of activity, the swelling was just getting worse and there was nothing more we could do for her.  My baby was suffering and I couldn’t stand it any longer.

We could’ve kept her around longer, for another week or two perhaps.  Heaven knows that was what I wanted.  But I knew in my heart that it was time to let her spirit go.  This was not the life she was meant to live and I could not in good conscience ask her to suffer a little longer for my sake.

When the vet arrived at our home Jewels greeted him with a wagging tail and her ears pulled back.  Her last gift to me.  I smiled at that moment impressed by her sweetness.  Maybe she knew he was there to release her from her broken body.  The procedure was simple and peaceful.  It was only a few minutes when her breathing finally calmed down after the first injection.  That was the first time in weeks that I had felt her breathing so calmly.  Then the second injection it was only moments when her heart stopped as I held her in my arms.  And finally she was at peace.  My baby was no longer in pain and discomfort.

But now it was my turn to feel the pain.  And I cried like I never cried before.  Never would I imagine how much it would hurt to see her leave us.

My husband rarely ever cries, but today he cried with me too.  My twin boys, seeing my husband and me upset kept asking us “What’s wrong?”  “Mommy and Daddy sad?”  We told them we are very sad because Jewels went “bye-bye” to Doggy Heaven and we would miss her.  They were very concerned and worried for us.  They were upstairs watching a video with Aspen chewing on a large bone while I was downstairs with my husband spending the last few moments with Jewels.  They had no idea about what had really happened, but noticed that Jewels’ pillow was empty after we let them downstairs again when the vet left with Jewels.  They were wondering where she went.  A little later as my husband and I were visibly upset they asked again, “Mommy and Daddy sad?”   We answered again that Jewels went “bye-bye” to Doggy Heaven. One of my boys then said, “Don’t be sad okay?   Jewels will come back with a new leg and make mama and dada happy, okay?”   At that, of course my husband and I started crying a little more.

Aspen also notices that Jewels is gone.  She is acting a little more mellow than usual and smells the air every now and then trying to find Jewels’ scent.  She’s had Jewels as a companion all her life and now that has changed I hope she will be okay.

I never realized how the absence of Jewels would have such a major impact on my daily life.  I feel pain and emptiness every time I notice a strand of her fur laying on the floor, or how I prepare a meal for one dog instead of two, how I don’t have to be concerned about whether Jewels is getting her pills on time like she should or how I come downstairs and she is no longer there laying on her pillow to greet me.  I cared for her medical needs intensely for last six months and then all of a sudden I no longer have that responsibility.  Her pillow next to our bed is empty.  I cannot bring myself to put it away just yet.  Her fur is still on it and it smells like her.  I lay on it crying very hard.

My parents arrived for a visit later in the evening.  It is a welcome distraction.  But whenever I am alone I find myself thinking of her and the sorrow resurfaces.

Throughout the day I’ve found myself wondering if we let her go too soon.  Was it really the right time?  My husband reassures me that it was the right thing to do.  She was suffering too much.

I am trying very hard to think of all the positives.  Like how we were so very blessed to have her in our lives for as long as we did–over eleven years!  I know others have lost their beloved pets much sooner than that.  How she is no longer suffering and she is now running fast and free, with all four legs after the rabbits and squirrels.  How we got a few months more with her after amputation.  Memories of how much joy she brought to our lives.  It is hard to do this past all the pain and sorrow, but I must, at least for my princess Jewels.

One of the last photos I took of my baby

21 Comments so far

  1.    AbbysMom on December 31, 2011 9:51 pm      Reply

    Oh sweet Jewels.

    I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better. When we free them of their pain, that is when our pain really begins. Have peace knowing that you did everything you could for her and knowing that you did that last unselfish thing in letting her go to be free of her pain.

    I’m sure she knew nothing but love during her life with you. She will always be with you in your heart.

    We’re all here if you want to write more about her. It might help – when you are ready.

    Hang in there. Eventually you will remember her with more smiles than tears. But it takes time to get there.
    Sending hugs,
    Jackie, Abby’s mom

  2.    anjl on January 1, 2012 9:16 am      Reply

    It is oh so hard to let them go!
    I think questioning ourselves is another part of our grief process!
    Your kiddos are so very smart…you will find her again and she does have her leg back!
    Heart healing wishes for all of you until you meet again!
    So sorry for your loss!

  3.    Dakota Dawg on January 1, 2012 3:19 pm      Reply

    Geraldine, it’s moving weekend at my house so I didn’t see this till now but I had my suspicions. I will email you once we’re settled in, but for now know this:

    1. Better a bit too soon (if you’re still worried about that) than a bit too late. Pain shouldn’t wait.
    2. Many dogs seem to perk up when they know their time is done; I do think they are thankful.
    3. Your boys can learn a lot from this, depending on the lead of you and Dad. You’ve already given them a wonderful example of love.
    4. This is a safe, welcoming, accepting place. Come here and vent or cry or reflect or whatever. But don’t go away. You are family now. Others yet to come will need you.

    You are all loved here, Geraldine. You will miss sweet Jewels because she moved from your life to your heart and opening the heart can hurt. But she lives there now. The emptiness will get better. Focus on Aspen and the boys, but talk a lot about Jewels. It helps!

    Love, Shari

  4.    Shanna Alspaugh on January 1, 2012 3:38 pm      Reply

    I am so sorry. Nothing prepared me for the emptiness when Trouble was gone, so I know exactly what you mean.

    Nothing anyone says will make it easier, but knowing you fought the battle with Jewels every step of the way says so much about you as a person.

    May you find peace and heal. But, be prepared for the healing to be a long process. All the beautiful memories you shared with Jewels will bring a smile days in the future. My heart is with you.

    RIP sweet Jewels, Run free at Rainbow Bridge.

  5.    Kenneth Blackburn on January 1, 2012 3:40 pm      Reply

    I am so very sorry to hear that you had to let Jewels go.. trying to find the right words always feels so futile… I know what you have gone through, reading your blog is like looking into a mirror of Coopers last time with us, but how does that help you now? If there is any way that we can help here at Coops pack, let us know, we are certainly hear to talk or listen. We are sending positive thoughts and prayers your way for healing.


  6.    chilidawg on January 1, 2012 4:22 pm      Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. That last gift is the toughest gift to give. Hang in there, I know how much you are hurting right now. It is hard, but know that you gave Jewels all the love and care she could ever want! As for Aspen, when we lost Chili Dawg, Finchy moped around for a good month or more. It was a week before he greeted us at the door, as Chili had been his companion for 8 years. Give Aspen time, she needs to mourn just like you do. We are all here for you.

    Jenna & Spirit Chili Dawg

  7.    4hope on January 1, 2012 4:57 pm      Reply

    We are so very sorry to hear of Jewel’s passing. My heart aches for you because I can feel your pain and loss. It was a hard decision to let Jewels go, but it was the right one for her. Try to take comfort in knowing that she is no longer in any pain.

    You tried so hard to do everything right to keep her here, so please don’t second guess any decision you made. You did the best you could to make her life happy and healthy for as long as you could…sometimes things are just out of our hands.

    Jewels is with the other tripawds in Heaven now, running and playing with her new friends. She would not want you to grieve for her, but to rejoice in the life she shared with you.

    Barb and Spirit Hope

  8.    krun15 on January 1, 2012 4:59 pm      Reply

    I’m sorry you had to say good-bye to Jewels. It is never easy, and I think it is normal to have a little doubt on the timing. But just based on what you wrote here you did the right thing at the right time.
    Don’t worry about putting her stuff away either. When Maggie passed I put away the bad stuff- the meds and special feeding stuff, but I left everything else out until it was right to put it away. And little sis Tani was quite lost without Maggie. I was happy I still had her to focus on- and gave her some extra attention to help both us through.

  9.    etgayle on January 1, 2012 5:10 pm      Reply

    we are so sorry to hear of jewels’ passing. what a wonderful life and wonderful family she enjoyed for almost 11 years. it’s never enough, we know. i’d gladly give up 10 years to have an extra year with my sisters…but it doesn’t work that way. you gave jewels that final, selfless gift – she is now free from her broken body. her spirit remains strong, she is pain free and off on a new adventure. hopefully time will help dry some of the tears – we too are still in the heaviness of loss, hoping for just a little more happiness with each passing day. jewels was brave, like gayle was brave…we can be brave too. love never ends.

    charon & spirit gayle

  10.    riosmom on January 1, 2012 6:00 pm      Reply

    I am so sad to read of Jewel’s passing. We never get enough time with our pups even under the best of circumstances, but you did the best you could for her and I’m certain she knew how lucky she was to have a life with you.

    We’ll be thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

    Micki and Rio

  11.    Charley's Mom on January 1, 2012 6:01 pm      Reply

    I am so sorry that it was Jewels’ time to journey to Rainbow Bridge. You gave her the most loving gift….you set her free and gave her wings. In time, may memories of your sweet girl bring smiles and happiness instead of only tears and sadness.

    Godspeed sweet Jewels. Run free with all of the heroes that have gone before you. Send your mommy and daddy pennies when you can.

    Hugs and chocolate labby kisses,
    Ellen & Charley

  12.    Lylee Girl on January 1, 2012 6:55 pm      Reply

    Dear Jewels Mom & Dad
    We’re so, so sorry to read about your sweet girls passing. You loved her so much and did everything possible for her.
    Please know that we are with you through this painful time and send much love and biggest huggs
    Joanne & Lylee

  13.    samsamsmom on January 1, 2012 6:57 pm      Reply

    My heart is breaking for you now – I’m so sorry. You truly gave Jewels the best gift ever – to be set free. When we set our Sam free 5 weeks ago, we decided that true warriors were meant to live, not simply exist so when he turned that corner, we let him go. It’s the right decision for our pups that have been our heroes and fout so hard! Aspen will come around in time. We’re just starting to see glimmers of our old Macklin….Aspen will grieve with you too. All our thoughts are with you! Xoxo sue

  14.    cometdog on January 1, 2012 6:58 pm      Reply

    Tears fall as I read your farewell post to beautiful Jewels. I am so very sorry.

    We have set up a condolence page for her on the blogs also:

  15.    cometdog on January 1, 2012 6:58 pm      Reply
  16.    cometdog on January 1, 2012 7:00 pm      Reply

    Tears fall as I read your farewell to beautful Jewels. I am so very sorry.
    We have set up a condolence page on the forums for her.

    I hope this post takes but the last didn’t which is why I have two posts.

  17.    tatespeeps on January 1, 2012 11:50 pm      Reply

    My heart is breaking for you. The pain is so unbearable but it does get easier.

    Shortly before Tate left us, a good friend told me that her promise to her sweet pup was that she’d let her go one day too early rather than 5 minutes too late. I think it is normal to question ourselves but I think you did everything exactly right.

    Take care of yourself, these are difficult days.

  18.    maggie on January 2, 2012 1:03 am      Reply

    My heart is also breaking for you…These dogs leave such an impact on us…Jewels was a beautiful girl inside and out…
    R.I.P. Jewels..

    Tracy & Maggie

  19.    jerry on January 2, 2012 2:49 am      Reply

    Oh pretty Jewels, our heart aches for your pawrents. It doesn’t matter how much time we have together, it’s never ever long enough is it?

    I have to tell you that reading your post reminded my Momma of my days before I earned my wings. Back when I was on the pred during my last days of coping with lung mints, it did the same thing to me too. My pawrents had to make the same sad decision for me, after they saw that the pred really did turn me into a different dawg. It was no longer the real me, but just the drugs that were keeping me alive. As hard as it was for us to say goodbye, we all knew the truth, my time had come.

    And it hurt like hell, and my pawrents cried for many, many weeks. They too questioned whether or not they decided too soon. But when it came down to it, they knew that the cancer mints were just going to get worse. They had to ask themselves…how did they want to remember my last few days on earth? Knowing that they wanted to remember me while I still had my dignity, this made the decision easier.

    I’m so sorry Jewels, I know how much you will all miss each other. Please send your folks a sign and let them know you are free and running and having a ball with all of the Tripawd angels OK?

    Listen closely Mom and Dad, she is with you always.

    Our deepest condolences go out to you all.

  20.    maximutt on January 2, 2012 4:29 am      Reply

    I am so very sorry to hear Jewels has gone on. Letting our babies go is never an easy thing. Please know that you did the right thing for her. I hope in time your grief will lessen, and your memories of her will bring more smiles than tears.

  21.    rumblesmom on January 7, 2012 5:00 am      Reply

    We are so, so sorry to hear of Jewels’ passing. Your post was beautiful. So touching and emotional…I cried all the way through it. You are a wonderful dog mom…giving Jewels that ultimate comfort while taking on the pass of loss yourself. I hope that you will get through this time of sadness and be able to remember back on eleven years worth of happy memories.

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