Saturday, July 08, 2006

Goodbye, Cleo

Have you ever read A Prayer for Owen Meany? At the end, John is giving an elegy at a funeral for his great friend whom he dearly loved. During his elegy, in the midst of his grief, he calls to god, "Give him back."

That has always struck me as the truest response to the death of a loved one, and it is more true now than ever. On Thursday, at about 1:30 pm, my dog Cleo died. That's Cleo in the picture being walked by my husband in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

She had been battling hepatitis for a few weeks, and was severely underweight. Her spirit never wavered, and we had hopes she would have some time left; but during the night, she began having pain in her leg and couldn't stand. We took her to the emergency vet, and it turned out she had developed a blood clot in her leg. She had already lost circulation in that leg by the time we brought her there. It was evident after a few hours that only the most painful and invasive treatment might bring her relief, and it was quite likely she wouldn't survive it given her already critically ill state.

We decided, agreeing with the vet, that her time had come. She was in a lot of pain despite a great deal of pain meds. We were present as she passed, and it was very quick. The experience was much, much more difficult than I anticipated, despite knowing it would be tough. I found it almost impossible to grasp her death, even though her body was right in front of me.

In my still raw state, I find it tremedously unfair that she had to die when she so clearly wanted to live; but her body had taken as much as it could take.

I love Cleo and I miss her so much. I want her back.


kopi said...

Stumbled upon your site through BE. I'm sorry about Cleo's passing; I have a dog friend of my own, and I can't imagine the pain and loss that one has to endure when the time of his/her pet friend has come. Rest in the fact that Cleo's no longer suffering, though. Best regards.

Shayna said...

I am truly sorry about your loss. I too know of the pain of losing a pet...someone who is such a part of your family. We lost our Cat Cocoa after having her with us for 19 years. We were with her as she took her last breath. Though you will never stop missing Cleo, I hope that in time your memories of Cleo will provide more smiles than tears.

leslee said...

Oh Amy, I'm so sorry. It seems so unfair. Many people don't understand how losing a pet can be like losing a child or other family member. You have to grieve. My deepest sympathies.

pseudonym said...

It doesn't repalce anything but when what I have lost troubles me I read this. His name is Cruiser and he is the best dog that has shared time with me.

Danny Sillada said...

Oh dear Amy, I hope words could suffice to console your grieving heart. I'm so sorry about Cleo; your loss is also mine as I had also underwent similar ordeal in the past several times.

Here, a brief poem on letting go:

as i

my pet

in the dark



in my


My deepest sympathies to you and your husband,


GEL said...

Yes, I read A Prayer for Owen Meany. I've always been so close to my pets, too. I understand and send condolences. (I still dream about each of the dogs I've lost. They're a part of you...)
My heart aches for you and your husband. Hugs to you both sweet Amy.

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Johnny said...

I cried for 2 days when I lost my dog "babloo", I was studying in 8'th grade

MB said...

Oh, Amy. I've been out of town and just saw this. I'm so sorry. Death — like life — is never fair, and we all get to reckon with it nonetheless at some point. It sounds like you did right by Cleo, the best you could to honor her incredible spirit while minimizing pain. My heart goes out to you and your husband.

Michael said...

My thoughts are with you....
I've been down that road before. Our pets become such a part of our lives. Their friendship always seems to be unwavering and unconditional. It is a beautiful love. I am sorry for your loss.

Marc said...

My sincere condolences for the loss of your good companion.

This post is a beautiful ode to the love Cleo brought to your life.