Calyxa (Caly), my beloved 14-year old miniature Schnauzer, my first and only dog, died two weeks ago as of tomorrow, while I was out-of-town and my parents were watching her at my house. She had not been in good health for the past 9 months or so due to a heart condition, and she was showing her age, but death, when it came for her, was quick, and I hope, not painful.
She didn’t want to eat on the Wednesday morning before I went to work. In the afternoon when I got home, I got her to take her heart medicine (with effort), wrapped in the roast beef she normally loved. I had to go to the airport then, so rode out with my parents and her to Dulles. I kissed her goodbye on her head, and that was the last I ever saw her–I never expected that would be the final goodbye and am so upset I wasn’t there for her at the end. My mom said she still wasn’t eating much on Thursday, and if I had been home I would have taken her to the vet then. Early Friday morning (Friday the 13th), she was so weak, she couldn’t go back up the stairs after going out to pee one last time. My mom called me, and my parents were going to take her to my vet when they opened, but she passed away in their van before they got out of my driveway. They went anyways, just to make sure. My veterinarian examined her postmortem, and she had a large mass in her abdomen–possibly cancer. I had just had her in for an exam in late May, so it must have been quick growing and I never knew. My mom said her tongue was very pale just before she died, so my best guess is that she died of internal bleeding, possibly from a ruptured tumor such as a splenic hematoma. But I’ll never know. I am confident though that her heart medicine kept her alive the past seven months since she first started on it.
I had previous decided that my little girl would be buried in my yard if she died at home and would be cremated if she died anywhere else. So, my parents brought her back to my house and buried her in a little white box in my backyard, where she rests under the protection of Garth, my garden gargoyle, beneath a pine tree. I don’t know what I’ll do if I ever decide to move. The thought of leaving her behind, even in death, is painful.
My mom said that it rained that first evening after she was buried, and that her mom (my grandmother) had once said that it was a good portent when rain fell on a new grave. Some other people I have mentioned this to have said that they have heard the same thing, but no one I’ve talked to knows where this idea comes from, and I can’t find a reference on the Internet. I would really like to know the origin of this expression. I find it comforting, somehow.
Caly was the one constant in my life across multiple jobs, homes, and the coming and going of romantic partners and (human) friends. She was also an accomplished traveler, having visited 41 U.S. States and logging well over 100,000 car miles, as well as sleeping many dozens of nights in motels, hotels and campsites. Everyone that ever met her loved her. She was super sweet and super smart. My one friend said that she “was a wonderful dog, who never knew she was a dog, and was never treated like one. Her personality was as huge as her bark was loud .”
She was my rock and my best friend.