Eloise had a sweet peaceful death with all of us holding her and telling her how much we loved her. We sat our on the porch and the vet sat with us for a little while. Everyone cried and petted and hugged her one last time.
The whole day was lovely actually. She and I sat out in the yard for a couple of hours yesterday morning and watched a robin couple fly back and forth from the meadow to their next in our front yard feeding their little babies. A hummingbird came by and so did a Baltimore Oriel couple. The lambs were baaing and the sun was shining in her honor. We talked about the robins and I sang a few songs and tried not to sob and worry her. She had scrambled eggs for breakfast and fettuccine carbonara for lunch with ice cream for dessert. Her jaw had been compromised and hard dog food was no longer an option for her.
The decision seems clearer in retrospect. Her life had been reduced to a couple of trips outside that took forever to accomplish and an occasional room change during the day. She was ready even if we weren’t.
She elegantly gave the vet her paw for the shot and I held her in my arms as she died. Our vet had brought an assistant and the two of them wrapped her in a lovely old quilt. We kissed her one more time and they carried her solemnly like the best most gentle pallbearers to the back seat of their car. We will have her ashes in a few days.
Eloise was a big part of this family. She sat vigil with every one of us at one time or another though some flu or illness. She was calm and steady no matter what. If one of the kids yelled or wrestled too hard with another she would correct them with one bark and a gentle restraining Berner bump. She insisted on good manners. Her quiet elegance was a model for this loud rambunctious unruly group of ours. She was like having a sweet maiden auntie from another era around to remind us all to behave.
And she celebrated with us. Every holiday was more joyous because of her. She loved the festivity of the holidays, and Christmas, with all those cheese rinds and big fat bones, was her favorite. A walk in the snow after unwrapping a bunch of presents was her idea of heaven. Then she would settle down for a long chew and maybe a nap before the next round of partying began.
She had the biggest vocabulary of any dog I have ever known. She was brainy and beautiful, and everyone who met her was always smitten. She exuded a soulful gentle love that calmed and gentled colicky babies and grumpy adults alike.
We all loved her deeply and will miss her enormously but we are ever grateful to have had the time.
Eloise Rushing Stimson
December 10 1998-May 12 2009