Penny is or was the “Love of My Life.”  When she stopped eating on March 13th, my late mother’s birthday, I thought no problem she will eat tomorrow by the middle of the week I knew something was wrong.  She spent 5 days in the hospital and then she came home; when I realized she was still not doing well,  she went back to the hospital for 8 more days.  When she came back home the doctor and I were cautiously optimistic.

Since I was dismissed from my job due to COVID-19, I had the privilege of taking care of her, spending time with her that I would not have been able to do if I had been working (I call this Collateral Beauty).  Holy Week is a big deal for me as I celebrate my Faith.  It was on Maundy Thursday that I had to say Goodbye to Penny.  She saved my life.

Now if you have never experienced the bond that comes from having a pet I might sound crazy to you. If you know what I am talking about then you can sympathize with where I am right now emotionally and spiritually.   Penny came into my life a year after losing my mother.  She came into my life while I struggled with the residual effects of a public divorce, she came during a time when I could not find a job even though a hold a doctorate degree, She was with me while I was experiencing discrimination where I had been employed, and Penny was with me while I had 6 surgeries in 1 1/2 years.  She loved me unconditionally even when I questioned myself.  She was loyal and protective.  She was my Fur-baby since I have no children.  She was indeed the love of my life.

On Thursday morning, it was time to let her go.  The extra precautions taken due to The Virus allowed only one person into the facility from a side door in order to euthanize their pet.  I entered a peaceful room. They bought Penny into the space.  She was in pain and could not focus on me as she usually did.  I recorded some of my last words to her.  Stopped filming. I joined her on the blanket and went about the privilege of saying Goodbye.

Penny would sing with me every day and her favorite song was, You Light Up My Life.  As I started to sing it to her she attempted to join me but could not.  I finished it and then the doctor entered the room.  She was my protector until the end as she mustered up the energy to growl as she would do to warn anyone getting to close to me.  When I told her it was ok, she seemed relieved; she simply did not have the energy.  She gazed into my eyes and I into hers; We did not break this gaze.  I kissed her snout over and over as I told her what wonderful dog she was and how much I loved her.  I thanked her for sharing her life and love with me.  She took three very loud breaths.  The doctor announced that she was gone.  I shut her eyes.  Kissed Penny one more time.  I left.

Tears. Tears. Tears.  My heart hurts.  I am grateful that I had the opportunity to love this dog.  My dog.  This Holy Season I find myself in a place of sorrow with gratitude weaved throughout.  I find myself with a peace that fills me with the belief that I have been blessed to experience a glimpse of heaven.  After all, Dog is God spelled backward.

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