Tribute to a departed pet

6:51 PM

June has so far been a busy month, and took a sour turn last week when our beloved Jasmine left us. We were spending the week in Lucknow when the vet in charge of the Kennel we left her at called us to announce that she most likely went away in her sleep.

Jasmine has been our first family dog, we got her in 2006, shortly after we got married, and she had been our first kid. She was born in August 2006 and just died a week ago, this means she was 2 months shy of celebrating her 13th birthday.
13 years of age is honourable for a Labrador, and frankly, we knew it was coming. She was old, and for the past year, walking became more and more difficult for her. Last December, it reached a point at which I got her a hip harness to help her walk because that is when she started falling and slipping.

Then, she started loosing her mind, in the past few months, she would bark the instant she could not find us in the room (even if we were there), her eyesight had gone down drastically. But, she was still her same old foodie happy go lucky, enjoying the smallest pleasure like going on the balcony, climbing in her spot on the sofa, begging for bread and coconut. She was old, but definitely not in agony.

A week before we left for Lucknow, she suddenly decided she no longer wanted to eat her food with water mixed in, and no longer wanted to drink water unless mixed with milk either. That is when I suspected the end of the line was near. That dog has never been picky about food in her entire lifetime. Heck! She didn't seem to even discriminate much as long as it was remotely edible. We still remember the days w struggled to keep her from eating Ishita's diaper content, and later in life how she seemed to think Mitten's litter box was a wonderful treat treasure trunk of grossness.

The hardest part for me, is that I never really got to say goodbye to her, we were in a last minute rush packing on a Saturday morning when the vet came to pick her up to take her to the kennel and in the middle of managing the luggage, Ishita, and emptying the fridge of leftovers, I didn't even really register that hubby was taking her downstairs. And to be fair, even if I was realistically prepared for her time to come soon, I was simply not expecting it to be while we were away.

But it seems pets do sense these things, I have a couple of friends who told me that if a cat or a dog can have it that way, they will pass away without their humans around.
The day we got the sad new, I cried, and cried some more, my MIL hugged me, and told me that Jasmine dying while we weren't there was probably for the best because we would all have been a lot more traumatised if we actually saw her dead in our own home and had to see her leave the flat completely lifeless on a stretcher. She has a point, a really good one, but I also don't feel I had the necessary closure.
The vet told us she ate the night before and that after that no one heard anything wrong in the kennel, so he assume she passed away in her sleep, and he is probably right. But, for my part, there is still that ugly voice saying "what if she panicked, couldn't find us and died in pain?" Was she really at peace?
There is no doubt she is in a much better place right now, a place free of mobility issues, hip pain, near blindness, a place in which I'd like to imagine her soul running and jumping around like she was a puppy again.

For the rest of us, it's a period of grief and coming to term with the reality of a world without Jasmine in it.
It's hard seeing our flat without seeing Jasmine in her favourite spots, without seeing more hair pile up on the sofa or her wagging her tail the moment we called her name. Us humans are affected, but so is my cat, she hasn't been herself for the past few days and has refused to come in the bedroom with us at night. She meowed oddly all of our first night home, and very often stopes what she is doing to look in the direction of one of Jasmine's "spots".

This past Sunday, I took Jasmine's bowl, and painted her name on it. While it was being used as a pet bowl, it was plain, utilitarian and I never thought of decorating it because it was being washed and scrubbed way too frequently for it to be practical.
Her bowl and her hip harness is all we have left of her, the vet's staff buried her on his property and they forgot to remove her collar when they did.
So, we are going to turn this bowl into a planter at one point. I placed it on her favourite balcony in this flat and it is one of the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up.

Mittens hasn't taken to the new decoration too well though. This morning she finally ventured in our room and on the balcony, but the instant she saw it, she stopped in her track, froze and looked at it like it would attack her. She has seen that bowl her whole life, but she won't want to go anywhere near it for now. Don't tell me pets can't feel grief and sadness people!

We are getting back into a routine this week, a routine that for the first time in near 13 years doesn't involve Jasmine. It feels odd and very uncomfortable. 

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  1. My deepest condolences, I share your sorrow. Pets are indeed part of one's family. Unlike humans their love is pure. What you feel was exactly what I felt at the passing of my mother. One moment she was talking with me, the next moment... I always wish maybe I could have tried something to save her. What if? is really a cruel question. No goodbyes, just like that. I pray that Jasmine's soul rest in peace.

    1. Thank you,
      yes pets love unconditionally, it doesn't matter if we are having a good day, bad day or are just plain old mad at everything, they just will continue showing love and affection.
      It really doesn't help that pets have shorter lives than humans, we are pretty much condemned to see them come and go all through our lives and loosing one never gets easier.


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