Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rest well, Paxil

Written through a veil of shock and tears, for less than 36 hours ago Paxil seemed healthy and happy. She was an older dog, but showed no signs that she was ready to move on.

Last night I came home to find Paxil stuck in her favorite dog house, unable to figure out how to turn around or move backwards to get out. She was clearly not feeling well so I carried her into the house and settled her on her bed, right inside the door beside the woodstove; a spot she claimed when she first arrived here and rarely ventured from if she was in the house. She wouldn't eat but she drank some water.

This morning she could not stand on her own. She had not made a sound all night or given a single kiss. This was a dog who talked all the time about everything and anything. There was no point wearing make-up around Paxil, she would just lick it off. My kissy girl.

We loaded her into the van for a trip to the vet, knowing that it was unlikely she was coming home again. She spent the day at the clinic. Our vet believes she had a mass in her stomach, perhaps an aggressive reoccurance of the mast cell cancer she had previously beaten. That mass started to bleed and sent a clot either to her spinal cord or her brain. The vet, sweet Dr. Candace, offered to do some tests and x-rays to determine where the clot was, but that knowledge would not have changed the outcome. Paxil was slipping away, her body slowly shutting down. Whatever made her my special girl was already gone. I sat with her until it seemed she starting to struggle to breath. Then I asked Candace to help her cross. Paxil offered no resistance and left her failing body gently.

Paxil changed my life. The very first time I ever stood on the runners of a dog sled and asked a team to "gee", she was my lead dog.

She was perfect then and I was hooked. A couple years later, the opportunity to bring Paxil here presented itself and I was delighted to offer her a semi-retirement home. She loved being a house dog who still pulled. She was the lead dog musher's dream about...responsive, consistent, she never missed a command, she always knew the way home, she was smarter than her musher, a trait that saved us from a couple long, cold nights in the bush! When she retired at the start of this season, I seriously considered it myself. There will never be another like her in my team or my heart. There are a whole bunch of recycled sled dogs here who owe her their home, for without her I would have no need for sled dogs of any kind!

I will miss her bossing me around; how she always pushed me out of the way to get in the door first, like I was going to steal her favorite spot if I got there before her; how she always waited until I was comfortable before deciding that she needed fresh water; how she followed me around the yard prancing and wooing her tales; that silly spotted tongue and her soft brown eyes.

I hate that empty blanket by the door. I hate that she didn't trip me today and that there is only one bowl of old house dog food being served tonight. I hate that she never told me she was so ill. And I am grateful she never told me, that she didn't suffer or linger for months; that she made it very clear when she needed to go.

Rest well, my girl. You earned it. Thank you..............


Carol said...

So sorry, my daughter but you knew that taking in these old fellas would mean lots of tears. I will miss having to step over Paxil at the front door, like she was saying"Go around me". The shock is of course her sudden departure but how wonderful she spent her retirement in the love and care of your home. No doubt there was lots of wooing as she was met at the bridge. Love ya, Mom

Flurry and Aja said...

What a beautiful tribute you have written to Paxil here. I am crying as if she was one of my own children.

It's through your stories that I get to share in the love you have for these puppies. You give them more than anyone could and you share their love and hearts with all of us.

God has truly blessed you TamaraLyn because He has given you one of the most special jobs in life, caring for his angels and your broken heart is only temporary, until the day when God sees fit to call you up there and be licked to death by all the precious pups you have loved and saved.

The other Carol. :)

Jack & Moo said...

God speed, dear sweet Paxil. Dance in your silver harness as you run North of the Rainbow Bridge to join your packmates.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful girl with us through your stories, I'm typing thru tears, and will miss her too. You were her angel as much as she was yours.

hugs to you & Stuart,
Pat & JoJoe
Star & Jack

Kapp pack said...

RIP dear Paxil, say hi to Kelsey Ann for us!

Sad woos, Sky, Canyon, Meadow, Brook and the Kapp pack bipeds too...

Khady Lynn said...

Tears rolling at you loss. Paxil was your heart dog, and she knew it. She will watch over you and the rest of your pack, and be waiting for you. She knew how much you loved her. I know there are many who will welcome her at the Bridge.

Many tight hugs to you.

Holly, Khady, and their mom, Jan

dogsled_stacie said...

Aw, man I hate this part of owning these loving, furry awesome beasts!!!!! So sorry you're going through this loss right now. :(

I love your tribute to her, and the descriptions of how she pretty much owned you. :) Boy she reminds me of my ol' Kate, in SO many ways. I can relate to how they totally change your life and make it a million times better... RIP Paxil!

ThePainterPack said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I had known Paxil, but your loving tribute tells it all. She was one of a kind and I know you will miss her. God bless you for what you have done for these wonderful furry kids.

Painter Pack

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

My mom is leaking again so I'll paw this fur her:

Woo gave her many gifts of love with the biggest one being letting her go.

Khyra (the khanine that changed my mom's life) and Phyll

D.K. Wall said...

What an absolutely special post to an obviously special friend. The pain of losing any of our friends is enormous, but losing the ones that wrap themselves so much around our hearts is agony. Paxil thanks you for the special retirement, and the love and compassion you have shown.

Queen of Poop said...

So sorry for the loss of Miss Paxil. She was truly a special girl.

Yas said...

Very beautiful tribute for a beautiful friend! Though i do not know Paxil, my prayers and thoughts to her and your family. Rest In Peace dear Paxil!

The Army of Four said...

Sweet, sweet Paxil! So loved and so missed.
Tail wags,

Phred said...

Hey Paxil ~
Say 'Hi' to my lil Husky wanna-be -
'Bowser' - the Fluffie One with the super-short
legs and the *waving* tail.
He'll be a happie dawg to run in
your Team, North of The Bridge.

Dear TamaraLyn ~
When you create Paxil's Memorial Stone,
please add a few of my Tears to the mix.

My Sympathies and {{{Hugss}}} to
You and Stuart.

/s/ Phred

Unknown said...

We are so sorry. She was a beautiful girl - H-Mom thinks she looks like a wolf! What a lovely tribute you have written. Hugs and face licks from Madison ...

Kathleen said...

Oh my goodness...I am so sorry that you lost a beloved companion. What a wonderful wonderful dog. I lost my sweet Aussie mix much the same way. She wasn't a sled dog, but she was a herding dog -- and she herded cats! She also stuck right by my side when my mother died and I begged her not to leave me just yet. She waited 2 years, then very suddenly declined like your Paxil. I thought my heart had been ripped to shreds, and never had my home felt so empty. All I can say is thank god for puppies during times like these. My heart goes out to you. Such a beautiful eulogy you wrote to her. Maybe she's in the northern lights now, a soul waiting to be born.