Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Wagging Tale: Being Gypsy to the Last Moment

RIP Gypsy Rose Jingles January 10, 2007 to September 20, 2016

When Gypsy breathed her last, a stupor of shock swept over me.  She had been diagnosed only four months earlier and she was, plainly, too young.
Gypsy was more than incredibly intelligent. And she wanted more than to simply please us.  She anticipated our needs and made sure she was always right where we’d be. She knew what room we’d be heading toward to do laundry, to sleep, to pray. And she went ahead of us quickly and waited. She checked out repairmen with a few sniffs and then let them go about their maintenance. She loved to near us – playing, sleeping, keeping watch.
About a month before she died, she had stopped her favorite activities with us that involved a red Kong ball and Frisbee. And she stopped chewing dog bones that she had been nearly addicted to her entire life. I imagine the three massive tumors on her face and neck stole her joy. Though she didn’t run back and forth through the yard anymore as I clapped my hands and shouted, “Go, Gypsy, go!”  she continued to take walks, and follow me around the house.
On a Friday, we had to shorten our walk around the block because she slowed down that much. I knew that was our last walk. We decided then that we would know life was over when she stopped begging when I chopped vegetables in the kitchen and when she no longer let us know her ‘dinner’ time approached.
The next Tuesday when I came home from work she didn’t greet me, which had begun on and off over the last few months. But, highly unusual, she never came out to the living room at all. I found her under my desk, ears flat against her head, a sad look of guilt,  and her tail barely thumped at my entrance to the office. I called her out from under the desk and, to my horror, discovered that the three tumors had grown enormously since morning and were all bleeding.  I guess the guilty look was because she knew she was making a mess wherever she walked. She kept licking her little arms that were covered with blood, taking care of her mess. I hugged her, told her I loved her, and cleaned her up.
Two hours later than her meal time, I offered her ‘dinner.’  She walked away without finishing. I chopped vegetables for own dinner and she didn’t appear by my side. Instead, she laid in a corner of the house that she never had before.
I knew the message from her actions and sad countenance, “I’m sorry, Mom. I’ve been trying real hard to be here for you through all this mess in my body, but I just can’t do it anymore.”
A few hours later we wept goodbye to my dearest and most devoted four-legged friend.

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