One of my nephew's pet beagles lost her brave battle with lung cancer this week. On Monday, after the vet confirmed that there was no hope and the days ahead could only hold increasing suffering for her, the decision was made that it was time to let her go. She went to sleep quietly and peacefully, with her beloved owner talking to her and stroking her up to the very end.
We brought her home wrapped in a soft blanket and laid her in her final resting place, beside the grave of Buster, the cherished cat who preceded her in death earlier this fall.
We miss Buster, and we miss Cookie constantly. But we know that everything was done to support them while they could still enjoy their lives, and that having to say goodbye to them also means that the suffering of their last few days in this world has come to an end.
I like to remember Cookie as she was in Percy Warner Park on November 23, 2012, a sunny but chilly day, tracking the scents about her in the grass at the edge of the woods, near a little creek, and doing a beagle's job as her instincts conceived her job to be, sometimes giving tongue to back up her two beagle companions' announcements, whenever the situation warranted it. I was lucky to get the photo above, because she was continuously on the move.
So affectionate, friendly, and sweet. She had stopped for a moment to hear herself praised by a couple of other people who were enjoying a walk in the park. She accepted a caress or two from these total strangers, and then was all business again, and back to work in the midst of the shadows and sunshine.