BEYOND THE TREES
by Barb Chandler
"Its blood," I told my partner, Pat, as I knelt to inspect the spot where Holly had been laying. I picked her up, and carried her in my arms as I walked toward Pat.
"I believe Holly is telling us it's time. What do you think?"
"I agree," Pat said as we walked back to the house.
Once inside, Pat laid some newspapers on the floor and set a towel on top of them. I placed Holly on the towel, and then went to phone the vet.
"Emergency Animal Hospital."
"This is Barb Chandler, my dog Holly has Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia and has started hemorrhaging. My partner and I have decided she's had enough suffering, and would like you to put her to sleep."
"I'm terribly sorry but I'm just going into emergency surgery and probably won't be out for a couple hours. You can bring her over then," the vet said.
"We don't want to make her wait any longer she's suffered, enough. "Are there any other options?"
"There's an Emergency Hospital across town."
"We're going to take her there. Thanks."
Pat, having overheard our conversation, had Holly in her arms and already had started toward the door. I grabbed the keys, a fresh towel, and followed her to the car.
I got in the rear seat and spread the towel next to me. Pat put Holly on it then got in the driver's side.
I stroked Holly's head to try to get her to relax, but she wanted off the towel. Each time Holly attempted to get off the towel, I placed a firm hand gently on her back. "Ssshhhh Holly. Good girl, just lay still...."
"Dear God please look with mercy upon Holly …" I prayed, hoping God would give her relief from her pain.
Holly tried to resist my hand, pushing a paw against me as she tried to move. I stroked her head, trying to comfort her. Just as we pulled into the hospital's parking lot, her paw relaxed. I felt for a heartbeat, then placed my hand on her chest.
"Holly's dead," I said choking back tears. "She's free
"I'm glad she died in the car rather than the vet's office, Pat said."
"I think we should take her back to her vet's office to be cremated. Since she had a disease the doctors don't know much about maybe they'll want to do an autopsy, and I'd much rather see her vet do it than someone who didn't know her."
"I think that's a good idea."
As we drove across town to Holly's vet's office, we shared the memories we had of her.
"Remember when we first got her?" Pat said.
"She definitely was meant to be ours. When I heard that eight people wanted to adopt her, I never thought she'd be going home with us.
"I agree. We were very lucky to have won the lottery.
"We were very lucky. Holly was a great dog."
When we got home, and I was in bed. I couldn't get to sleep. Kept feeling Holly's paw resisting my effort to keep her on the towel. As I struggled with these memories, my eyes were drawn to a painting hanging on the wall. There are two oak trees standing on either side of a dirt road. The light in the foreground is not as bright as it is beyond the trees. I couldn't take my eyes off the picture. I visualized Holly beyond the trees, free of her illness, romping and playing in the bright light.
A tremendous sense of peace washed over me, and I drifted off to sleep.
Barb Chandler lives with her life-partner, Pat, and their animal companions in Sacramento CA. Contact Barb.