When a Friend Is Gone Forever: Facing the Death of a PetEliana Tardio
Mochy arrived in our lives about four years ago. When we adopted her, she wasn’t a puppy anymore. Recently a doctor estimated her age at ten years old, which would have made her six at the time.
She was always the sweetest and most caring doggie. In her process of adaptation to our family, she not only learned to respond to Spanish, but she could understand my kids, Emir and Ayelen, who have obvious language challenges because of their diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Mochy was never just a pet. She was much more than that, she was a family member, she was a friend, and she was a pal.
We always knew that Mochy was not a typical doggie. She always had a lot of coughing, and mild convulsions. There were great times, but some others she seemed to be tired and quiet. Last year the vet expressed concern that Mochy had a bigger problem, cancer, in addition to her heart condition.
However, Mochy came back home as wonderful as ever. The last six months of her life, Mochy was full of life, happy, playful and greatly curious. She learned how to play and in those wonderful days when she was alert and joyful, she used to hide the kids’ socks and their favorite toys. She used to stay still by the door, waiting for them to come back from school, as she was anxious to see their reactions while looking for their little toys.
Mochy used to be my best critic; I would read every article to her first. Many times I also told her my most intimate fears. And while people outside might think that I can stay strong and secure all the time; Mochy knew better than anyone how many times I simply comfort myself and cry. She was always there for me. We spent so special times together, at the park, at the beach, or when we’d go for a walk, relax, or meditate. No one will miss her more than I do.
A couple of months ago she started feeling bad, in the last month her condition worsened from bad to critical. She stopped eating, and was even unable to walk outside to pee. She lost total interest in her favorite food and her toys. During the last week I fed her liquid nutrition using a syringe.
Last night she woke me up with a couple of barks. I looked at her and she seemed to be asking me to let her go. I held her to my chest while she fell asleep. I knew the time had come to say goodbye to her.
The vet confirmed her irreversible condition. She offered a couple of treatments to keep her alive for another couple of months, but she was also honest about how expensive it would be for us, and how painful it would for her. She said, sometimes we love them so much, we think of them as humans and we want to keep them alive. But for them, there’s no future, only a present, and if the present is so miserable, it’s time to honor their love and get ready to say goodbye. After hearing those words, I agreed to let her go.
Mochy, my dear Mochy was gone forever this morning. I felt sad and guilty for not spending my last cent to save her, for not finding the cure to keep her with us. But I know this is part of the grieving stage of letting go of a loved one.
Yesterday a wonderful friend left us forever. I’m still in the process of adapting to her departure. My daughter, who was very close to her, is still asking questions. Why is she gone? Why does she not love me anymore? She doesn’t understand yet that death is part of life. I’m explaining to her slowly that sometimes our loved ones are gone forever, and part of loving them is to accept that their time here has come to an end.
This afternoon we will honor her departure by planting a bed of flowers for her. Every flower will forever remind us of the best friend we ever had, our doggie, Mochy.