I had her since I was 12, and I’m 30 now. She was our first family dog.
Through being away from home for high school, college, jobs abroad, and now grad school, she was the family member I would miss the most when I was away. She was a pomeranian with a “cat personality” who valued her independence but loved more than anything to cuddle in our beds at night. In a family of soft-spoken and non-emotional people, she was the one speaking up (“I want to eat what y’all are eating!”) and expressing her unconditional love with kisses and cuddles.
When I came back home last November, she was already showing many symptoms of aging. My grieving process essentially started then, recognizing her time was near. She circled (sign of cognitive decline), lost most of her sight, and did not recognize her name or commands. We hand-fed her and were thankful she still could drink water on her own. My mom and I were basically caring for her full-time, 24 hours a day, for the past 8 months.
A couple of days leading up to the eve of my birthday, she stopped eating. She had episodes of low appetite before, so I was just hoping for her to eat again. On the eve of my birthday, I was out with a friend when my mom texted me that she is having tremors that were bordering on convulsions. I hurried back home to find her having convulsions. Her convulsions subsided after I got home, and my mom and dad went to bed. I camped out by her side and played her soft music.
Her bed was right outside of my bedroom, and when her breathing became more comfortable, I went to bed. An hour or so later, I was woken up by two soft sounds she made and found that she had moved from the position she was laying in before. I held her in my arm, and she was so skinny and light. Her breathing was more spaced apart, which I should have known was a sign that her end was that much closer. Hers being the first death I experienced in the family, I did not know. I put her in her bed, stroked her head, and went back to bed, expecting her to feel better in the morning. My naivete at this moment, the fact that I left her and went to bed, weighs on me as heavy guilt.
She passed sometime between 4am and 5:30am on my birthday, June 11th. Since then, I’ve been emotionally numb and disconnected throughout the day to function and crying myself to sleep at night. Reading about everyone’s experience has been very helpful for me to process her passing, so I wanted to share my experience too. Thank you to everyone for providing a safe space to share my experience.