The Trumpeter in the Woods
Chapter Ten – Saying Goodbye (Part Three)

A neighbor helped me get Caper out of the car and into my living room. I placed her on an old white fringed bedspread. She opened her eyes, panted rapidly and pee’d on the bedspread without moving, and she did this several times throughout the night. I was now unable to even get her up on her feet.

I gave Caper the IV every 3-4 hours, praying that I wasn’t hurting her too much as I tentatively stuck the needle into her skin between her shoulders. Caper never stirred.

After a fitful night of sleeping once again on the floor beside her, I awoke and tried to rouse Caper. She opened her eyes, still pulsating, and never tried to get up. She had pee’d herself again. I tried for almost an hour to get her to stand up. I coaxed her with a spoonful of ice cream. She lapped it up while barely holding up her head. I placed the spoon out in front of her so she would have to reach for it. She couldn’t. I sat down on the floor beside her, tears running down my face and admitted to myself that I had to let her go.

“Caper, I love you so much but I don’t want to see you suffer any more.”

I called the vet and she was kind enough to come to my house so that I didn’t have to put Caper through getting her into the car and to the vet’s office. I dragged Caper on her bedspread out to the large deck off of our living room. It was a sunny day with the temperature in the 60’s and I sat with her on the deck that she loved so much. I remembered the day that she first looked out the hole in the wall that was to be the sliding glass door to this deck. It seemed like only yesterday that I bought this house for her, and now she was leaving me alone in it.

The vet and her assistant arrived at 1:00pm. I stroked Caper as the vet gave her a sedative then the lethal dose that stopped her heart. Caper’s tongue hung out and she didn’t look dead. The vet checked her vital signs and told me that she really was gone. They left me alone with her for my last goodbyes. Walking away from her was one of the hardest things I have ever done. When I was ready, the vet and her assistant asked me to leave the area while they packed up Caper’s body and placed it in their car. They hugged me and I watched them drive away with my girl. I walked across the street to the path through the woods that Caper and I had gleefully taken every day for the past seven years. I felt I could see her running happily ahead of me. Her spirit was freed from her sick, old body. Now she was on the other side and soon ready to help me in a different way.

Sadly, a couple of years later, I learned that Caper might have had a condition called vestibular syndrome, an imbalance in the inner ear that is quite common in old dogs. I often think about this with regret but I can only believe that it was Caper’s time to go. After all, she did have advanced cancer and had been though a lot.

Content and title copyright Christine Palm Shaughness. No reproduction allowed.