Friday, May 27, 2005

It was a Thursday. Should have been like any Thursday, except my cat was dying. I had known since the day before that OJ didn’t have long. So it was earth day 2003 and I had to let my sweet girl go. The sun came out and she got to sit in the sun. She died in my lap, in the sun, with nothing but love surrounding her.

Then it was a Sunday, almost two years later. But five days before, the shock I felt when I came into my parents’ house and saw her lying in a huddled ball on the rug was beyond explanation. I reacted as a tech and immediately began administering fluids subcutaneously, then realized she needed more. I called my friend at emergency and off we went.

My parents didn’t understand the gravity of Spider’s condition. I felt horrible that I had let her stay with my parents. I know she was happier there, she didn’t want to live with all the animals here, but still, at that moment, and always, I knew that if she had been with me all along I would have noticed her sickness long before my parents did. I wish I had known.

I fought for her life for five days and then on Sunday she told me that she was done. I wished I could have realized it or heard her sooner -- she had lived a long and wonderful life – 19 years – but I was so caught up in feeling guilty that I didn’t want to see how sick she was and I felt compelled to try and get her back. She had been telling me, in her own way, that she was ready to go, but I couldn’t hear her over my own feelings of guilt and obligation. Finally, thankfully, I realized my girl didn’t want to come back, couldn’t come back, that she wanted to go, that she was ready. So I helped her go…she was Spider. She was one in a million. Spider Elliott.

Then another Thursday came. After years of worrying about various dogs with various conditions, suddenly Peanut was dying. It was something I was so unprepared for it was shocking. I knew she was sick. I had known that she had cancer since the end of January but she was doing so well I guess I was just hoping she’d live forever. She was 15 years old. She was my first dog and my best friend. My best little girl. She endured my bringing home many puppies, many kittens and many boyfriends and never failed to tell me what she thought about all of it…but she tolerated it nonetheless. What a good friend she was.

She died on Thursday May 5 just around noon. It was a cloudy day which I found very disturbing, because I think death is better suited for sunny days. But the sun came out just after she died, which Jerry pointed out. I noticed too.

So here I sit and sob and cry because I miss my Peanuttier so much. It’s such a hurt in my heart, a hole in my heart, not to have my Nutty here, not to ever hear her bark or see her face again. She is such a part of me I feel like something is missing now. I took her to be cremated and it was not so bad at the moment but looking back it was terrible. I had to leave her, the last time I would ever see my Peanut. The last time. Ever. I would ever see her. Ever. I just wish I could see her one more time.

I have her ashes back now, in a little cedar box. I can’t believe my Peanut is in that box, but I hope her spirit is surrounding me. Looking at the box that contains her ashes makes me very sad. Yet I look at it often.

Peanut marched into my life when I was 20 -- a fat little tan and white puppy with a black nose and a big attitude. Right around the time Intrepid, my horse, was born…his 15th birthday is tomorrow. It’s hard not to think about these landmarks after such a loss. Losing Peanut. Sounds silly because she had a silly name perhaps, but it fit her. She wasn’t silly, she was just The Nut. Nuttiest One. She was such a good dog.

The first name she had, that I knew of anyway, was Piggy, given to her by the college student in Chico who found her on the side of the road. He called her Piggy because, he said, she had barbecue sauce on her nose so she was a little piggy. I had been really wanting a dog and I found out about her needing a home so I went to pick her up. I hate to say this but I wanted a “big dog” and I wasn’t sure she was the dog for me. I even considered giving her up to the hearing dog program that was clamoring for her because they said terriers made such great hearing dogs. Quickly I fell in love with her and I learned from her that bigness comes from nowhere but the heart. She topped out at 35 pounds but was the biggest dog I ever have known.

The same college student who found her on the road 15 years ago called me the night after Peanut died. He had heard of her passing from his grandmother, who had heard from her daughter, his mother. He called to say how sorry he was. I was very touched by that.

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