Yesterday I posted A Golden Star Rises about our final days with our rescue greyhound Ruby. It was written from the perspective of our rescue whippet Eivor, recalling his precious final moments with her.
Today, I am writing about our farewell from a human perspective.
At a spiritual level, saying farewell to Ruby was about letting her know that she was free to go when she felt ready.
At a mental and emotional level it was about letting her know that she could spend her time in ways that made her feel happy.
At a physical level, our vet had made it clear there was going to be a gradual shutdown of her organs and her energy levels would deplete more rapidly when she was physically active. If we reduced her exercise, she might live a few extra days.
Ruby wanted to go out and walk. She wanted to run with a ball. We did not want to disappoint her. For us, her final days were about her and what she wanted to do.
We supported her choices spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Her final days were the most energetic days she enjoyed in a long time.
She looked out over the bay, soaking in the smells, the sights and the sounds as if she wanted to take them all with her on her final journey.
On the day of her passing she insisted on coming on a walk with the rest of the pack. She took in the smells, sights and sounds of the river, the birds and the familiar faces we saw.
She fell asleep with a large smile on her face. The kind of smile that someone has looking back at their life and enjoying it again the second time around.
I first met Ruby at a shelter where I was volunteering at the time. One of our other rescue dogs, Fergal, had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Ruby jumped up at me licking my face, leaning into me and she would not let me out of her kennel.
When I came home that day I heard myself say to my husband: “How would you feel about adopting a third rescue dog?” It was an easy conversation and an hour later we were back at the shelter with our other dogs in tow.
Seamus, Fergal and Ruby greeted each other like long lost friends. The boys stood either side of her as if to say: “We are not leaving here without her.” When we drove home it was as if she had always been part of the pack.
She walked beside me off the lead on our first walk together as if she had always been walking by my side. I wrote a poem for her after that first walk:
Ruby the Greyhound
Your elegant eyes
light up and
your merlin fur
when you proudly
walk beside me,
what I never asked
© Xenia Tran
(First published in Lapidus Quarterly, Winter 2007, Vol 2 Issue 3)
I had no idea back then that the same poem would be just as apt in a faraway future, after our final walk together.
With love to you all,
Photograph by Xenia Tran, unedited.
Camera: Lumix Panasonic FZ38, setting: iA.
Daily Prompt: Faraway
dVerse Poets Open Link Night #183