Monday, November 10, 2008

Dealing with Death

Here is the rest of the story.

Morgan has know for a long time that Cheyenne has been sick. It's been pretty obvious and we have been talking openly about it - Cheyenne is getting real old, she might not be with us much longer. For the last couple of weeks, we have been having her say goodbye to Cheyenne before we leave the house. She would give her a hug, a kiss and say goodbye. We have encouraged her to pet Cheyenne more the usual. We knew the hardest part was going to be the nights since Cheyenne has slept with her her whole life. But Cheyenne herself, started to ween Morgan from that. The last week or so, she has been barking to get out of Morgan's room before Morgan has fallen asleep. Strangely, Morgan accepted this fact without much fuss. She decided that her shrimp (one of those self-contained eco-system jars) would now keep watch over her at night.

When it was time, we called a service called Peaceful Passage . They come to your home so your pet does not have the added stress of being at a clinic. If you have a service like this near you, I strongly, strongly recommend it. The day before the appointment, I took lots of pictures of Morgan with Cheyenne. We set her up on a playdate with the neighbors. We were not going to tell her what was happening until after.

On the day of the appointment, Dr. Christine from Peaceful Passage came out to our backyard. She had one of those super fuzzy blankets and fed Cheyenne lots and lots of treats. She waited until Cheyenne got really comfortable with her. Then, while I was feeding Chey snacks, Dr. Christine gave her a small shot with super strong pain meds. We all pet and talked to Chey as the medicine kicked in. After that shot and once Chey was good and relaxed, Dr. Christine gave her a shot of anesthesia to put her out like they do for surgeries. She waited until Chey was completely out before giving her the shot to stop her heart. Afterwards, she left us alone so we could grieve in private. At this point, I found out from Mark that Chey had passed before the last shot. She was so tired and old that the anesthesia was enough to set her free.

When Dr. Christine came back, she took an imprint of Chey's paw and engraved her name on a keepsake for us. She carefully cut a tuff of her hair and wrapped it in ribbon. Then she gently and carefully wrapped Chey's body in the blanket, keeping her head out. We walked Dr. Christine to her van, but once she noticed the neighborhood kids outside, she asked Mark to cover Chey's head so as not to scare the kids. At her van, she placed Chey in the backseat which was covered in pillows. Her body was safely cradled. She pulled down the blanket so that her head was once again showing. She took a nice homemade quilt and covered Chey with that as well. We got to say goodbye one more time with absolute confidence that Chey was going to be treated well on the end of her journey. She was brought to a crematorium where her ashes will be scattered on some land in Parker. I can not say enough how compassionate and caring this Dr. Christine was. She treated Chey with the upmost respect. She made an extremely difficult situation a little more bearable.

When Morgan got home we immediately let her know that Cheyenne had died. We did not give her details, just that Cheyenne died and her body wasn't here anymore. She did not ask any questions. If she does ask us how, we will merely say that she died in her sleep. Morgan talks about how quiet the house is without her. Together we talk about our sadness. Morgan has been collecting Chey's hair. Unbeknownst to us, she had a huge stash secretly hidden. She showed it to us and asked us to put it in a baggie for her along with the ribbon-tied locket.

This morning I told her I was sad that Chey wasn't around to let outside. She had me look at the bright-side, she said, at least that means she isn't eating her poop anymore. I couldn't help but laugh. It will be sad, but at least there is happy and funny memories to share.


Simply AnonyMom said...

What a beatutiful service! I am glad she passed in peace and full of love.

Shey said...

I'm crying, having read your recent entries... I'm sorry for your loss, but glad that you were able to say goodbye and wrap Cheyenne with love as you sent her on her next journey.

Haasiegirl said...

That made me cry. I am so so sorry for your loss

Mommyof2boys said...

That made me cry...but what I can tell she was loved so much by you all !
I had a black lab named Lucy that was just the sweetest dog ever and she was getting so bad off,going my parents took her to be put to sleep...she is buried in my parents yard and it made me think of her.
I'm very sorry for your loss ((HUGS))