When Dogs Die, so Does A Piece of Their Humans (RIP Smiley)
Smiley was 13 years old.
I remember well the day I met her. Hubby had moved to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, several weeks before me. One night he told me about this Potcake stray who was showing up at our house every night.
"The first night I thought she was going to bite me. All I saw were these teeth! But then, I noticed that her tail was wagging. She wasn't getting ready to attack - she was smiling!"
Then I came, and she did the same thing.
"Don't you give that dog any smoked turkey breast! You know that will make it keep coming back!"
He didn't listen.
The dog kept coming back.
And one evening she rolled on her back in front of our three cats. That's right, that alpha dog rolled on her back in front of our cats. Isabel, our smallest and oldest cat, was the alpha (see Smiley waiting for Isabel to finish drinking at Smiley's bowl below - the cats had their own, which you can see).
We socialized her, boarded her, and groomed her at Donna Doran's Pampered Paws dog spa. And ultimately Donna organized Smiley's travel to the US, where the lovely folks at The Wagging Tail welcomed her.
From a stray on Providenciales, to play dates with celebrity dogs on Parrot Cay, to life in a NYC skyscraper, Smiley loved life throughout. She knew nothing but love and how to give and receive love. Just sweetness.
When we moved to New York and started getting the then 8 year old Smiley some top notch medical care (thanks to Healthy Paws pet insurance and Seaport Animal Hospital), we discovered some things about her health. She had Cushing's disease caused by a tumor on her pituitary gland, protein-losing kidney disease, high blood pressure, a heart murmor, chronic hepatitis, and an "undefined mass" in her abdomen. She was on $1000/month worth of medication (thanks again, Healthy Paws!).
Then the tumor in her paw started growing aggressively, at the same time as the pituitary tumor. She experienced balance issues, dementia, and was in a lot of pain (Ultram and Neurontin for pain).
We brought her roast chicken, cooked her omelets, and I bought her that McDonald's burger and fries she had been trying for years to eat on the street. Look at her tail!
We walked her to the vet. We laid on the floor with her. Dr. Klafin came in to administer the medications. Hubby was able to feel when her heart stopped beating.