I went and saw Sheba yesterday, early in the morning. I took her some chicken and a hard boiled egg. She wouldn’t eat either. Below is probably the last picture anyone took of Sheba.
My wifes co-workers gave her flowers.
Around noon I got the call and found out Sheba’s blood test came back, still worse. The new medicine wasn’t doing any good. Her liver and kidneys were shutting down. The vets didn’t know why, except for probably it was the growth on her liver that they found with the ultrasound.
Finally, I had to agree there was nothing else that we could do. It was time to let her go to sleep forever. Talked to the wife, then made an appointment for 4 PM, but the vets office called back to change it to 4:30. Another dog was getting put to sleep at 4.
I left work at 3:30. The vet is about two minutes away from where I work.
I had to wait on the waiting room for a while. I saw a lady picking up her dog to go home. The lady and dog were both so happy. The dog was jumping and the girl was laughing. I saw another couple pick up their cat, who was wearing a cone around her neck. The cat, like a cat, seemed indifferent, but the couple was happy enough for everyone, all smiles, standing very close together, all three touching. I saw the couple who I thought was having their dog put to sleep at 4. They were quietly talking in the most remote seats in the waiting room. I didn’t talk to them.
Finally, I got to go in and see Sheba. She was out of her hospital cage, laying on a towel on the floor. Her IV drip was gone, but she was still wearing the cone, so she wouldn’t be able to bite when they put the injection in her catheter. (She still had plenty of Sheba spirit, despite her weakend condition.)
I was wearing a baseball cap. I laid on the floor on my side, put my arms around her and stuck the bill of my hat in her cone. Face to face, almost nose to nose, we were alone in her cone. I told her how much I loved her. I told her what a good girl she was. I called her all the endearing names I have for her, Sheba-dorable, Girly Girl, My Teeny Tiny Puppy. I told her I was sorry for every time I ever got mad at her., nothing she ever did warranted it.
I told her all the stories I had about her. About when she lived down the street and the neighbors gave her to us. About how she didn’t know how to walk up stairs when we brought her home the first time. How we called her Girly Girl because we didn’t know her name yet. About when she stole my shoe off our porch and I went and got it back from her. About how she always used to jump up on everyone and get them all muddy, and how mad I used to get at her for that. I reminded her how big and flippy floppy her ears and tongue were when she was a puppy, and how she grew but they didn’t till everything was perfect The first time we went to the beach and she got sick from drinking seawater, and she never drank seawater again. Somersaults over a tennis ball on the front porch. About the time she jumped out the window of my Landcruiser at a stopsign, instantly recognizing her mistake. When we’d tell her to “stay!” and she’d sneak across the floor, creeping like an inchworm. The time I used soymilk instead of regular milk in the scrambled eggs. I told her how I was going to miss sleeping with one leg out of the bed, my foot on her back, rubbing her. I told her all the stories I could of all the good memories. And they’re all good memories.
She looked at me the whole time, listening carefully, understanding every word.
I told her I loved her a million times. I told her she was very sick and I was sorry there was nothing we could do. I told her I wanted her to come back home more than anything. I cried with no tears and shed tears without crying. Veterinary people were opening the door and stepping over us, but we didn’t see any of them.
I told her in a few minutes she was going to see Ditto again, and I asked her to tell him we said hello. I told her we’d all be together again, in a few years.
My wife came to the vets office. Very emotional. She said her good-byes. She wanted the cone off Sheba, and the doctor gave Sheba a shot of sedative. Sheba fell asleep. We took the cone off from around her neck. My wife petted her and was crying, she said she couldn’t stay for the rest, and left the room.
I held Sheba’s head, keeping it off the floor, and put my arms agound her and my head on the side of her chest. I could hear her heart beating. The doctor asked if I was ready, I said yes.
He put a syringe of blue liquid in her catheter, he started pressing it in. Sheba made some noises deep inside, like her stomach growling, but not her stomach. Nobody could hear but me. The syringe was half empty when I heard her heart stop. I said “It stopped” out loud. The doctor pressed the syringe the rest of the way in. I felt a flash of annoyance. “Her heart already stopped, you don’t need to kill her any more than you have to!”, was my thought, but I didn’t say anything.
I kissed Sheba on the top of her head and nose and petted her and told her I loved her many more times. I case she could still hear me as she faded away.
My wife came back and petted her too, and asked for Sheba’s collar. I took it off and gave it to her. Crying, my wife said she’d meet me outside.
I put Sheba in a white body bag, a technician helped me, or vice versa. A nurse tried to stop me from cleaning up Sheba’s pee, but I said, probably too gruffly, “She’s still my dog!” and cleaned it up..
I insisted on carrying her to a freezer. I thought of Ditto when I gently put Sheba in there. I had put Ditto in a freezer too, a long time ago. I was very sad, the thought of Sheba’s warm body getting cold.
Sheba will be creamated and we’ll get her ashes back.
I went out the back door of the vets office.
My wife had her car, and I had my scooter. We talked in the parking lot a few minutes, her in her car, me sitting on the curb. We drove home separately, and I got home first. I had already let Lenny out when my wife got home. She was still teary faced when she got out of her car and let Lenny smell Sheba’s collar. He immediately sat down and looked from her to me, and back to her again. I know he knew, Sheba wasn’t coming home.
I hope I never forget that one-on-one half hour with Sheba on the floor in her cone. I hope I never forget how soft her fur was as I stroked her. The little dent on top where her nose met her snout. I hope I never forget her cute face, and her two front teeth on the bottom that leaned forward just a little further than the rest. (I used to tease her, saying she needed braces, because of those two tiny front teeth.) I know I never will forget, but at the same time, I also know I won’t remember it as well as I’d like to.
I hope I never forget anything about Sheba.
To close, I will sing the Sheba song, to the tune of Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer; I used to sing it to her. A lot.
Sheba the happy puppy,
all she wants to do is play!
And when she isn’t playing,
Sheba’s happy anyway!
July 27th, 2008, the day we adopted her, at about 9 months old, to May 9th, 2019. Sheba-Dorable, Girly Girl, Teeny Tiny Puppy, Sheba She-She! We will never forget you, we will always miss you and we will always love you.