When Fate matches you up with a new pet, you never know what you’re in for. In Flower’s case, she was found wandering along a highway many winters ago. The nice people who spotted her already had several pets, and since Flower was going to end up spending her days chained outside, they tried to find her a better fit.
Shar and I had recently lost Mandy, a longtime family member and very special Golden Retriever. We were plugging along with just one pet at that time, and Phyllis the Black Lab wasn’t doing a great job of adjusting to the role of only dog. Almost all of our dogs had been adopted through the formal Humane Society process, so the concept of having Phyllis and Flower interview each other to see how they might get along was new for us. Things clicked, and they began the long process of figuring out who was Alpha Dog. I’m not sure that had been settled by the time Phyllis died in 2007.
It’s going to be quiet around here. Flower may not have barked more than once a year on the average, but she kept things lively, and the critters who shared her big backyard could never relax. At her peak we were always tickled when the neighborhood kids would come to the door asking, “Can Flower come out and play?” In the last two or three years, she slowed down a lot and learned to compromise with the rabbits, squirrels, and birds. She couldn’t see or hear them very well, so if they kept their distance, she would just watch peacefully. She was seeing more and more of her friends at Companion Animal Clinic… to the point where she knew them as more than professionals. Hard as it is to believe, she actually seemed to love going there and greeting old friends. Right to the very end.
Shar and I need to thank the friends and neighbors who so willingly and repeatedly came over to let her out and stayed to play with her on days when we had to be away, and her bladder couldn’t wait for us to get home. Jessica, Kevin, Shana, Maron, and Ted did special duty far more often than I can remember.
We never knew for sure how old Flower was. Dr Melick estimated that she might have been about three years old when she moved in with us, and since she stayed for twelve years, it was becoming clear that we didn’t have forever. The last few years brought on several age related problems and medications to keep her comfortable and active. In the past, Shar and I have agonized over a fear that maybe we waited too long and put our pets through suffering that might have been avoided. In this case, we feel comfortable that Flower had no pain, but she just came to have less and less joy. Thursday afternoon she became very unsteady on her feet, fell way too often, and couldn’t negotiate even two steps to get in or out of the house. Friday morning was worse. We knew we couldn’t put it off any longer. The only kind thing to do was take over and let her go.
Most of her friends from Companion Animal Clinic were able to be with her at the end. This thing we did for her is always hard, but with Flower it was almost more than I could bear. Lying among her friends, Flower was the only one without tears. She was just really, really tired. Sweet dreams, our Princess.
Bill and Sharlene Morgan