As much as I'm still in shock about all of this, and as much as I don't even feel it's entirely appropriate to divulge such personal crap online at the moment... I really need to vent, and I'd feel awkward venting to a specific person... so livejournal, here we go.
My german shepherd, Venus, passed away yesterday at around 1pm. It was a week before her 13th birthday.
I know it's so cliché to say this, but there really are no words to describe how everyone feels at home right now. those who know me well enough know how much I loved my dog... she was seriously another member of the family, who ate with us, slept with us, went to the beach/ hiking with us... when she was younger, if we'd leave for an extended period of time and come back, she'd take my mom's hand in her mouth and run around the house, "saying" hi with her ears down and wagging her tail... and occasionally (if we were gone for a really long time) she'd pee everywhere out of happiness also, lmao.
i totally remember when we first got her... we went to a german shepherd breeder's home, who led us to a caged area with a few tiny little german shepherd puppies running up to us, jumping all over us... there was one puppy though, who was REALLY shy and just sat in the corner, looking at us... i remember her being the cutest out of all of them, so we went to her and she stayed sitting down, with her ears down, eyes fixed on ours, wagging her tail faster and faster as we got closer to her...
she was seriously my mom's ultra-spoiled third child too, haha... she was really the one who raised her, who cleaned her and fed her and cooked like, steaks for her on her birthday... lol... and i shit you not, venus took on SO many of my mom's characteristics, like her preference to stay at home... whenever we took venus on walks, she'd keep looking back towards the direction of the house, until we finally said "ok venus, HOME" and then she'd SPRINT back home ahhaha... or when she'd sleep on the couch upstairs (lol yes, she was THAT spoiled...), she'd start facing one direction... but then as the night went on, she'd turn around and put her head next to my mom's, like this:
especially in the last year or so, once my dog started to rapidly age and lose strength, venus kind of went back into baby mode, needing a lot of extra care. my mom would sleep with her downstairs so that she wouldn't be lonely (she usually slept in my parents' room upstairs, until she lost the strength to go up stairs).
we all knew this was going to happen soon - i even made a post about her declining health a couple of weeks ago, so it's not like it was a total surprise. since that last post, she had completely lost the ability to stand up (even with help), and we were basically keeping piddle pads and diapers under her, cleaning her/changing the sheets under her/replacing the pads each time. still though, she kept her typical venus appetite and was generally happy (although a lot more tired usually).
it was only yesterday, that i knew something was really wrong... after my mom had left to do errands, my dog started to breathe very strangely. my brother and i stood be her side, to make sure she was fine... she started to get really restless, trying to stand up... ryan and i helped her up, and she neither showed resistance nor made any noise, which was REALLY weird for her. she couldn't keep herself up, so we put her back down... after some more strange breathing, she put her head down, and her breathing started to slow. at this point, i knew she was going to die... i told my brother to call my mom and tell her to come back immediately, while i was hugging and petting venus, telling her everything was ok... her breathing became slower and slower, and eventually she closed her eyes, and her breathing stopped. her heart was still pulsing for a few moments, and that eventually stopped as well. it was a really smooth and peaceful death, after all. she passed away very quickly, in her favorite part of the house, in her favorite sleeping position.
my brother's a really stoic guy, so when she passed away we just kind of stayed in silence, i guess trying to be "men" about it haha, not crying or anything... but then my mom hurried back like five minutes after venus passed away, and i told her "she's gone". she was in absolute hysterics, running over to venus, hugging her still-warm body, screaming her name and sobbing at the same time. of course that was just absolutely heart-wrenching to watch, so eventually we all let go, and everyone was crying... of course i'm devastated that venus is gone, but it definitely hit my mom ten times harder, as venus was really HERS... she shifted between stages of grief and denial, begging venus to wake up, and giving my dog her dinner and her favorite treats "just in case"... it was really depressing to watch, especially when she'd wet her fingers in venus' water bowl and bring it to my dog's mouth, begging her to drink some water...
we were all definitely in shock, not because it wasn't expected, but because it was so quick... she was eating and drinking earlier in the day, and she REALLY looked like she was just taking a nap... the reality of what happened wasn't there yet. we covered her body (but not her head) with a blanket, lit some incense and some candles, and decided to have her cremated the next day.
today was pretty bad too... the cremation services guy came this morning, and it was time to finally have her body removed. that's when the reality of her death hit really hard, for all of us... when we moved her to the stretcher, my mom muttered through sobs, "venus, you're so cold..." she had rigor mortis, and a faint smell of death lingered. that's really when everything was confirmed, when there was no going back... we took her to the truck, where there were other dogs in plastic sheets (for sanitary purposes, of course). my mom couldn't handle it, and started crying uncontrollably in the street, "they put the dogs in plastic bags..." she kept petting venus, telling her that she loved her, as did my brother and i. my mom left with her a small bouquet of flowers from the garden along with a small paper bag with her favorite treats (my mom labeled the bag "Venus"), to be cremated with her.
we're going to receive her ashes on thursday, right after her birthday...
again, there's really no way to explain how i feel right now about all of this... grief comes and goes in waves, whenever the smallest thing in the house reminds me of her (and that's like, everything here). She was such a great dog, i loved her SO much. She was such an emotional anchor for me, and it's just so weird not to have that anymore... i always assume she'll be at her favorite spot, but instead there are only candles and flowers...
it's really hard, but i know i just have to try and think of the good times in her life instead of focusing on her death. she was fantastic, such a beautiful, kind, and smart dog... i will always love her. RIP, Venus <3
July 12th, 1993 ~ July 6th, 2006