I put Honeygirl to sleep, at home, on January 2. Over the New Year weekend I noticed that she was having difficulty eating; there was a scritching noise when she took bites of food & then she would shake her head wildly, spattering food around her dish, & bat at her own face with her paw. I found that her gums were covered with turgid whitish ulcers, which is apparently one of the things that happens when toxins in the blood build up due to renal failure.
I knew I didn’t want this to go further. I called & left a message for Dr. Brenda Smith at Cherished Pet, which is, as far as I know, the only home euthanasia service for pets. I wasn’t by my phone when she called back, but she left me a message. As luck would have it, Dr. Smith was subbing at a nearby clinic that day & would be able to stop by that very evening.
It was at that point that I began to freak out.
I couldn’t call Dr. Smith back for about an hour. I tried to, but the weight of the decision would confound me & I would be unable to find my resolve. I would sit there with the phone in my hand & just feel confused, as if there was one more thing I needed to think through before I could finally call, even though I knew there wasn’t. I ended up messaging a girlfriend who talked me through my anxiety & steadied me with logic.
When Dr. Smith arrived, there were some forms to fill out & I paid her the $200 fee. I then carried Honeygirl out to the living room & sat her on my lap. She wasn’t thrilled to meet a stranger, but Dr. Smith was very gentle & soothing, so she didn’t get overly distressed. She received a shot between the shoulder blades to sedate her, & it took about a minute for her to go limp in my arms. We then laid her down next to me & Dr. Smith administered the barbiturate shot in Honeygirl’s leg vein & within seconds her heart had stopped.
Dr. Smith could have taken Honeygirl with her for cremation for an additional charge (a little over $200, if I recall correctly), but I said I would manage the corpse myself. I put Honeygirl in her bed in the bathroom & she stayed there, looking like she was sleeping, all night. I had the bed in a box covered with a rubbish bag in case of any body fluid leakage.
All night it was as if she was still there, & I confess that I did pet her several times. The dogs came by & sniffed her from time to time. I’m not sure what they thought, but no one got alarmed. The next morning I took Honeygirl to our vet, who would arrange cremation with Oahu Pet Crematory, then call me when I could pick up the ashes.
Honeygirl’s ashes came in a pretty tin, the dark green that was my favorite color for her. It was just a coincidence, but it was nice.
It’s been almost 2 months & since the hour I spent freaking out on January 2nd, as I tell you guys the story of her passing, this is the first time I’ve been able to feel sad.
She’d been with me for 19 years. I don’t even remember who I was 19 years ago, but I remember her. The first time she saw me take a shower, she jumped in to save me, then jumped back out because it was wet, then jumped back in because I was still stuck in there. It took her awhile to figure out that I was going to survive. For 19 years, Honeygirl patiently waited outside on the bath mat for me through every shower I ever took. Even to her last day.
I’ll miss her.